Apple Inc appears to be deliberately distorting the issues surrounding the iPhone 4's antenna design by asserting that Research In Motion's BlackBerry has similar reception problems, RIM said.

"Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle is unacceptable," RIM co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie said in a statement. "Apple's claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public's understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple's difficult situation."

Since the June 24 launch of the iPhone 4, some users have reported drastically reduced signal strength when they held the touch-screen phone a certain way, leading to dropped calls.

In response to the complaints Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said Friday (July 16) the entire smartphone industry shared such reception problems, naming specifically Research in Motion, Samsung Electronics and HTC Corp.

At a rare, 90-minute press conference, Jobs maintained there were no problems with the iPhone 4's wraparound antenna design and accused the media of trying to "tear down" a company that had grown so successful.

"This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect. Most every smartphone we tested behaved like this," Jobs said.

In response of Jobs' comments, RIM's co-chief executives issued a statement defending the BlackBerry's design and criticizing Apple's approach to dealing with the iPhone 4's antenna issue.

"RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage," they said.

"One thing is for certain, RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity," the statement said.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, was referring to Jobs' offer to provide iPhone 4 users with free phone cases to address the reception complaints.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, could not be reached immediately to comment.