"I've called Apple's antenna design 'bold' and 'risky,' but they won't change it [for a CDMA-based phone]", Webb says. "The antenna design is architecturally fixed in the design, and it would take them a while to make whatever the next design is."
Interestingly Webb also notes that applying a non-conductive coating is not a viable solution since it can't be thick enough.
"There's no coating that's thick enough to make a difference," he said. "It's all about getting the lossy conductor, the human, away from the iPhone." It's less about the material that separates skin from the steel band than it is about the thickness of that material. Scotch tape, for instance, is worthless, as is electrical tape unless several layers are applied.
This contradicts a post-doctoral biochemistry fellow at a leading American university who says that an electrically insulating organic hydrophobic layer atop the bare metal would solve reception issues.
However, Webb does believe they will address the issues somehow. "You can bet your bippy that they're going to be addressing this issue somehow," said Webb. "They want to be the smartest guys on the planet, which is what comes from adversity like this."