Take a look at this email sent to Steve Jobs and a couple other Apple employees. The biochemist suggests that when engineers washed their hands before touching devices they stripped off their natural hand electrolytes and therefore didn't experience the reception issues now widely reported.
Apparently Apple can fix these issues at minimal cost by placing an electrically insulating organic hydrophobic layer atop the bare metal. This could even be performed at the Apple Store or via a simple self application kit sent to customers.
Subject: HowToFix for minimal cost hydrophobic organic thin film layer
In truth, Apples explanation for iPhone 4 signal reception problem is inaccurate at best and disingenuous at worst. iPhone users are in some of the hottest and most humid parts of the country this summer and have salty, damp hands especially at events such as baseball games, barbecues, or other outdoor activities. having bare metal antennae purposely handled will absolutely short the signal. This problem will be difficult to reproduce in Apples labs because the engineers are required to wash their hands before touching devices, which also strips off the natural hand electrolytes that are ever-present in the field on a hot day.
Anyway, the solution is not a redesign of the phone, but rather an electrically insulating organic hydrophobic layer atop the bare metal. a variety of plastics will work, such as polyethers, polystyrenes, or nylons. you could even use the plastic labels ever-present on aluminum soda cans, which likewise have an electrically insulating effect when holding said cans. these plastic coatings can be very very thin films which do not ruin the aesthetics of the device, and would require a minimal change of your production line. More importantly, this coating in no way affects the ability to recycle the aluminum the organic thin film layer will burn away cleanly during the aluminum remelt process. Phones that have already shipped could easily be coated with this new layer at any Apple retail store or with a simple kit you could send to your customers.
In summary, this is a problem of electrochemistry, and certainly NOT a problem of software design, nor one that can possibly be solved by a software update.
Apple needs to hire some chemists.