Here's Apple's response to the now officially-acknowledged iPhone 4 antenna reception problems.
They told Engadget, and our own reader Jason:
Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.
In essence, don't hold it that way. Or, use a case. Both pretty horrible solutions to what is evidently a hardware problem. Meaning they probably can't fix this with a software update, or else Apple's statement would have included an item about their engineers working on the issue, and saying there will be a fix soon. Are they going to give out free cases so users can hold their phone in the way that feels natural? Like every other phone? Probably not.
This is a change in their attitude from just yesterday, where Steve Jobs personally responded to Reader Lucas saying that "it's not a big issue." I don't see how an issue that was reproduced by just about all our staff, and many (not all, but many) people on the internet, is not a big issue. But apparently Apple agreed, which is why they changed their public line to what they've just issued.
He also emailed Reader Matt back earlier today with this response:
You are in a marginal cell area. It has nothing to do with the phone.
Reader Aram also submits this screenshot of his alleged conversation with Steve Jobs from a bit later in the day (today). If the email is legit, it shows the change in attitude from "it's not a big issue" to "it is an issue, but just don't hold it like that."
Reader Deed shows us this photo of Jobs with the Russian President yesterday, possibly showing off the "correct" way of holding the phone?
Update: Reader Adam reminds us of this FaceTime video made by Apple. When people in that video are holding their phones vertically, they're holding it in the wrong way. You know, the way that kills reception. But when they're holding it vertically, they're strangely holding it with the left hand on the top of the phone and not the bottom. So that it's more likely their hand will get in the way of the camera. Weird that they're holding it that way.