Although the iPhone 4 reception problem is getting most of the attention, Apple still has that pesky proximity sensor issue to get around, equally important because it also can cause your phone calls to disappear.
The proximity sensor issue is at least as annoying at that little gap in the iPhone antenna that causes some users to lose reception. That is because a faulty proximity sensor reading can result in lost phone calls. The proximity sensor is a tiny device inside the phone that lets it figure out how far away your face is from the surface of the phone, according to a ZDNet story. That is important because it allows the phone to turn off the touch screen in time to keep contact between your face and the phone from hanging up on the person that you are talking to, or taking some other unintended action.
When your face touches a live iPhone screen during a call, it can cause a number of things to happen, several of which are not good. It can make the phone terminate the call if the facial touch comes in one particular place on the phone surface. It can put the call on hold if it touches another. Still another spot will activate the speaker phone. None of those things would normally be construed as good if done by accident. Some of them could be considered to be disastrous depending upon timing and exactly who it is that you’re talking to. One does not normally want to do any of those negative things to, say, a boss or a significant other.
It is said to be a fairly easy fix by people who ought to know, and probably also by people who don’t, like me. There is every chance that it is a software calibration situation, much like the signal bar issue in that particular way. One must assume that both software fixes will be rolled into a single update to iOS4, coming soon to an instance of iTunes near you. It may be taking a while to get that update rolled out because this time Apple may actually be doing some testing to see if their new handset works.