Could this be the reason Apple is selling those rubber bumpers? Check out the video above and watch the iPhone 4's reception bars visibly drop. A magic trick? No, apparently skin and antennas are not BFF's. In fact, reception drops once your hands cover the metal bits of the iPhone 4. Metal bits which happen to be the antennas.
In fact, this reception conniption was predicted on Fox's Gadgets and Games two weeks ago: "Having been in the cellular business most of my career, I think it's really odd that you'd want an antenna grounded by a moist hand." Check out the video; it's about 24 minutes in when MAKE magazine's Dave Mathews calls it. [The guy in the rightmost chair, with Andy Ihnatko's Skype-ified head floating above him? Our own Mike Rose. –Ed.]
Plus, Gizmodo's ever-evolving crowdsourced review indicates the same issue with reception once your fleshy palms come in contact with the thing -- they've also got additional videos and testimonials about the issue in a separate post. Not great news for me and my Southern pals, since we're living in a soupy summer already. I'll test the reception in a few places around town tomorrow, hands and hands-free, to see what we discover.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in, especially Wes for the video.