Did Jobs Know of iPhone 4 Antenna Issues in 2009?

Some have criticized Apple CEO Steve Jobs as having a "God complex." Could that have led to the purported antenna "death grip" design flaw? According to an unnamed source speaking to Bloomberg, Jobs was warned about a possible issue during the early stages of the iPhone 4's design. 

In fact, according to an anonymous source speaking to Bloomberg, Apple's senior antenna expert, Ruben Caballero, voiced concern to Jobs during the early design phase of the iPhone 4 last year that the external antenna design could lead to dropped calls.

Additionally, another anonymous source told Bloomberg that a carrier partner reportedly voiced concerns to Apple as well. It's unclear which carrier; while AT&T is Apple's most prominent carrier partner, it's obviously not the only one.

The iPhone 4's antenna issues have been labeled the "death grip." If the gap between antennas on the lower left-hand side of the device is bridged with skin, many have seen signal strength, or even calls, drop.

Because the iPhone 4 has multiple antennas, the metal bezel could not be constructed in one piece. It would have to be separated into sections, and therein was the issue that Caballero raised, and which is being seen. Caballero said that if a user covered one of the seams between the sections, their finger would act as a conductive material, interfering with the signal.

While it is true that other smartphones exhibit the same behavior when gripped, their signals do not attenuate to the point of a call drop, because the iPhone 4 is unique in its antenna design. While a nice industrial design, it may be a poor technical design.

In response, however, Apple contacted the Wall Street Journal and said, "We challenge Bloomberg BusinessWeek to produce anything beyond rumors to back this up. It's simply not true."  Of course, rumors are not the same as an anonymous source, Apple PR forgets. Bloomberg stands by its story.

Apple has scheduled a press conference for Friday morning to discuss the iPhone 4. While not specific in its invitation, the conference will undoubtedly cover the issues with the iPhone 4 antenna design.
Tags:  Apple, iPhone, Steve Jobs, ATT