While unveiling the iPhone 4 last year, Steve Jobs marveled at the "gorgeous" stainless steel casing that surrounds the device and also serves as the phone's antennas. In addition to helping make the phone ultra-thin, the external antenna was supposed to improve the phone's signal strength over previous iPhone models.

Jobs was right: Tests show that the iPhone 4's network connectivity has been significantly enhanced -- just as long as you don't hold the phone in your left hand.

Bridging the gap between the two antennas (which appeared on the bottom left side of the phone) with an electrically conductive material -- like, say, your skin -- had the effect of reducing the phone's signal strength dramatically.

Apple first insisted the problem was a software glitch, but as evidence mounted that the iPhone 4 had a hardware problem, the company eventually gave in. In a testy press conference, Jobs announced that Apple would give a free case to everyone who purchased an iPhone 4.

Last updated November 03 2011: 2:32 PM ET
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