Apple has announced that in the first three days of its availability, the new iPhone 4 has sold more than 1.7 million units in the five countries in which it is currently being sold. Even though both the iPhone 3G and 3GS both sold more than one million units in their first three days, the iPhone 4 has quickly darted past its predecessors to become what Steve Jobs is calling the “most successful product launch in Apple’s history”.

Since its launch in 2007, the iPhone has sold in excess of fifty-one million units across the globe. Despite making this announcement in celebration of setting their new company record, Jobs apologized to those customers who left their local Apple Store disappointed without a shiny new iPhone 4 as the company struggled to keep up with the huge initial demand. Although Jobs describes the figures of the launch successful, it is a matter of debate as to whether or not the product really has gotten off to a flying start.

Just days after its release, iPhone 4 users flooded the internet with complaints and problems which affected their signal strength and reception quality. It has become evident that the way in which the device user holds the phone affects the quality of the network connection. To see just how true the claims were, I went to my local Apple Store today to try out a new iPhone 4, and have a chat with our friends in blue. Somebody didn’t decide to ask me if I was OK until I’d moved onto the iPads, so I quickly drew the focus of the conversation to the reception issues to see just what I could find out.

As soon as I had gripped my hands around the phone, not too hard but firmly enough to keep it in its place, the signal strength did start to tumble. I can honestly say I did not try to alter the natural way of how I held the device – I held it exactly as I would as if I was making a phone call, and the way that the device fell into my hands comfortably. On asking her about the reception issues, the worker was very quick to tell me that I must have been holding onto the device with too much force. It’s clear she had been reading Steve’s recent e-mail to a questioning customer as she instantly wanted to point out how other phones often do the same thing, especially when holding them by or pressing down on the top. If I’m truthful, I’ve never experienced such problems with other phones, even the previous iPhones, and especially not to the point where the call is simply dropped. Perhaps the signal strength is affected when pushing down on the top of other phones, , but when I’m making a phone call the natural position of my hand is blocking the antenna of the iPhone 4, while holding other phones like that isn’t an issue because the antenna aren’t in a position where they’re likely to be blocked in a way that I can comfortably hold the device.

After being re-directed to a conversation to the iPad, the alarms started buzzing in terror and shock and she made a speedy exit to go and turn off the alarms. Even though I was eager to ask whether or not she thought it was fair that Apple are going to sell a cover to protect the antenna and therefore solve the reception problem even though the world was crying out that it was clearly a design flaw, she didn’t return to continue our chat. If you ask me that question, a company should surely not have what is quite clearly in my eyes a design flaw in their products, and then ask people to pay for a solution.

If it’s any consolation, I was amazed by the crystal-clear display and responsiveness. But, sorry Apple, I don’t think testing has been as vigorous as it could have being.

What do you think? Do you have a new iPhone 4? Are you suffering from reception issues? What do you think of the new device? Will you be upgrading? Have the reported issues turned you off the idea of the new iPhone? Are you surprised by these figures? Is this really a design flaw, or as in the words of Steve Jobs himself, should we just hold it differently? Let us know what you think, leave a comment.