Antennagate could be coming to a Verizon Wireless location near you. Turns out when Apple said any changes to the Verizon iPhone 4 antenna were simply to accommodate the CDMA network, they meant it. Some were hopeful that visible changes in the external antenna design would improve reception problems when the phone is gripped in specific ways.
Now that the Verizon iPhone has made its way into the hands of consumers there are reports of the same reception issues that AT&T customers experienced. Holding the iPhone in specific ways that cover the sides of the device cause a drop in signal strength due to the external design of the antenna.
Of course, this also happens with other smartphones, but the attenuation that occurs isn't as dramatic thanks to the internal placement of the antenna. This is why the iPhone 4 antenna problems can be corrected easily with the addition of a case. Apple acknowledged as much when they offered iPhone 4 users free cases for months to deal with the public relations side of the issue. The company also launched an iPhone antenna website to educate consumers on wireless technology and the iPhone 4 design.
This weakness of the iPhone 4 antenna is also its strength, as the external antenna design is more sensitive to distant cellular signals that other phones might not pick up at all. Initially, AT&T and Apple resisted dealing with the antenna issue and refused to offer free cases to iPhone owners. Later, as the problems persisted and a media frenzy ensued, Apple held a special press conference and began distributing free cases to iPhone 4 buyers for a limited time.Time will tell if the antenna issues have as much of an impact on the public this time around. It's not clear if Verizon Wireless or Apple will acknowledge the issue with the CDMA iPhone 4. We do know that a complete redesign of the iPhone 5 is in the works, so the days of external smartphone antennas may already be numbered.