Did a BFF and Secrecy Hide the iPhone 4's Antenna Problems?

Did Apple really not know about the problems with the iPhone 4's antenna system which, particularly when the device is held with skin touching the bottom left of the steel antenna surrounding its case, can cause signal degradation and even dropped calls? It's possible, and it's possible that its own paranoia, as well as its BFF, AT&T, are at fault.

First, Apple's BFF: AT&T. A recent study of mobile broadband speeds nationwide showed an interesting fact. The fastest AT&T connection in the nation is on Apple's campus. That's because there's an AT&T tower mounted at Apple's headquarters at One Infinite Loop, in Cupertino, CA. It figures, right?

It also makes one wonder if Apple will get a Verizon tower mounted when the Verizon iPhone emerges from hiding. In fact, keep an eye on their campus. If you see a Verizon tower erected, you've got your clue.

At any rate, the fact that service is sooooo good at Apple HQ means that testing of the iPhone 4 there might have hidden the problems end users are seeing. Ah, but what about off-campus testing? Surely Apple did plenty of that?

Of course they did. There, however, you have further clues as to why Apple may not have found the problem: the company's paranoia, or said less acerbically, its secrecy, around its products. The lost iPhone 4 was famously left in a bar, but inside an iPhone 3GS case. If Apple was sending its devices out disguised like this, it might have disguised the problem, and hidden it from testers.

While we used the word "paranoia" as a slight jab at America's most secretive tech company, realistically, any manufacturer sending out pre-release devices will either hide them in faux smartphone "shells" or in cases designed to hide the device, and cases that obscure much more than Apple's bumpers, which reportedly fix the issue.

So, did Apple really miss this issue during testing? Or is that the real reason we've got $30 bumpers to buy now?
Tags:  Apple, iPhone, Steve Jobs, ATT