While Australians are still waiting to learn when they’ll be blessed with the next iPhone, international users are left scratching their heads over why their latest gadget purchase is more problematic than ever.

First up on the list of problems seems to be mobile reception.

In a departure from previous iPhone designs, the metal band encircling the device acts as the antenna for the phone. This design aspect is now causing problems because of the way people hold the phone.

If you grip the phone with the edges against your thumb and palm, with your pinky finger holding the bottom corner (like the way most of us hold our phones) in your left hand, your phone reception is apparently reduced.

iPhone 4 antenna problem
Holding your phone like this? With an iPhone 4, you can say goodbye to those bars of reception.

One customer has already written to Apple head man, Steve Jobs, about the problem. And his reply? “Just avoid holding it that way.”

Apple’s official answer is slightly more creative. Slightly.

“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.”

Meanwhile, some users are dealing with a problem that affects how their phone looks.

Yellow spots and streaks are being found on various iPhone 4 units, a problem certain Apple support people are claiming is a residue from the manufacturing process.

Either way, it’s not good news for a phone that early reviews are labelling as the best phone out at the moment. We’ll have more on this as we get closer to an Australian release.