There has been a lot of discussions and reports surrounding the signal reception problem in iPhone 4.
Apple addressed the issue through a press conference from Steve Jobs himself to demonstrate that it was not an iPhone specific issue, signal attenuation is an issue in most smart phones and that smart phones are not perfect and there are issues that the industry has to solve.
Clearly Apple spent a lot of time investigating the issue and communicating to the consumer in a way the normal non-tech consumer could understand.
Apple has a dedicated page to explain the issue and also for the first time showed off some of the lab and investment it made to test the radio performance on its devices. http://www.apple.com/antenna/
The immediate solution – surprisingly is very low tech – hold the phone differently , or get a case, to make everyone happy Apple will give a free case.
As the smart phones gets more and more capabilities and its primary function changes from being a phone (to make calls) there will be more technical challenges facing the industry and will require new ways to communicate to users to change the way we are used to interacting with these smart devices.
As an example I cannot hold my smartphone for long close to my ear, in addition to attenuation issues the heat from the phone is easily felt on the hand as well as the ear.
The solution – I prefer to use a good Bluetooth headset, its more convenient, it keeps my hands free while I am driving or attending a conference call while in front of my computer and the phone can be left along or kept in a position for best signal reception. I also feel more safe not holding a high power antenna close to my head when on calls for several hours.
So the real solution seems to be more technology and more gadgets that will enable users to interact with smart devices around in more natural ways.
Several categories of these devices are evolving that will be intelligent to communicate wirelessly among them selves to provide a more natural and intelligent computing experience to the users.