We know that prototype iPhone 4 units were disguised to look like older generation units using some clever cases. Now the NYT is speculating that this clever iPhone 4 testing disguise may have actually prevented Apple from noticing the odd antenna performance when the phone is held directly.

The theory sounds reasonable enough because cases like the one used prevent individuals from actually coming into direct contact with the iPhone 4 antenna points and in turn would prevent some of the recently reported reception issues. [NYT]