Apple iPhone 4 signal excuse 'cringe making'

Opinion: iPhone signal excuse is worse than the reality.

T3's Duncan Bell: iPhone good, excuses terrible...

So the truth about the iPhone 4 is that signal does not diminish any more than is normal when you handle the iPhone 4. In fact, handling the casing in the bottom left hand corner, far from being “incorrect”, is actually a revealer of truth. It shows you that the signal bar you thought stood tall, proud and true is actually a misshapen dwarf. A sorry little piss-pot of a signal. A Rooney.

All that is needed now, Cupertino said in a 'letter from Apple regarding iPhone 4', is a software update to show the true state of things at all times, rather than just when the Left Hand Corner of Truth is held. Oh, and “making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.”

Well cheers, that’s great. I have a few questions, though.

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Firstly, why does gripping the Left Hand Corner of Truth have this effect?

Secondly, why is the internet littered with people saying they have run speed tests on the iPhone 4 that show the problem goes beyond how signal strength is represented graphically? They say that when they remove their hands from the case, everything bombs along at a most pleasing rate. And yet when they grasp the Left Hand Corner of Truth, speed falls off drastically.

Are all those people lying or mistaken? I couldn’t rule it out; people talk nonsense on the internet all day every day. Perhaps the test apps are, like the signal bars, wrongly configured and require application of the Left Hand Corner of Truth to give a true indication of mobile broadband speeds. I can’t test it myself as I cannot get enough of a signal to download a speed tester from the Apps Store.

Thirdly, and this admittedly is not entirely linked to the Left Hand Corner of Truth, why is it that I can get a strong 3G signal on my Nokia X6 – a phone I really don’t like, as regular listeners to the T3 Podcast will be all too horribly aware – in areas that I can’t get much of a signal at all on the iPhone 4? Both are on O2, before you ask.

Oh and finally, something that’s been bugging me all week. It may well be the case, as Apple says, that gripping the aerial of any phone will lead to signal loss. But could that be why the aerial is usually at the top where you don’t damn well hold it?

To be honest, I was pretty happy with my iPhone 4 before Apple issued this press release. I’d just stopped touching it in a bad way and got used to the idea that 3G reception is perhaps not its strongest point. It’s got N Wi-Fi, and that absolutely flies.

I just don’t understand why Apple’s decided not to address the speed test question, instead choosing to concentrate on telling us about all the “hundreds of emails” they’re getting from punters who are “delighted” with their iPhones.

All Apple really needed to do today was to offer a refund to anyone who’s unhappy with their phone. And guess what? That’s exactly what its done. But that key message runs the risk of being lost in the din of recrimination because the rest of its open letter is so cringe-inducing.

There’s always been a culty element to Apple – a shining-eyed happy-clappiness with a slightly authoritarian undercurrent. This letter is a classic example of that. It seems to me to not really address the concerns of the many people who feel they’ve suffered signal loss as a result of clutching their treasured new possessions “wrongly”.

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