iPhone 4 signal: Apple blames software fault for drop off

Cupertino denies reception issues are hardware-related

Apple admits it was wrong over iPhone 4, but not how you'd think...

Apple has issued an open letter to iPhone 4 owners promising an easy software fix to the iPhone 4's signal loss problem, but has again denied that the fault has anything to with its new hardware.

The letter reiterates the somewhat ridiculous and infuriatingly arrogant claim that "almost any mobile phone" loses signal when you grip it in "a certain way", citing Nokia, Droid and RIM smartphones as examples. That's news to us.

Here's us thinking the problems were a result of lefties covering a strangely placed antenna with the inside of their thumb.

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However, in a shocking turn of events, Apple has admitted it was "totally wrong" and apologised for iPhone owners for any anxiety this may have caused.

No, it's not totally wrong about the hardware, you understand, but simply wrong about the formula for how all iPhones calculate how many signal bars your handset displays. Right, ok. Apparently, the graphic displays up to 2 more bars than it should and always has. The fault will be addressed with an update "within weeks."

The letter reads: "Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.


"For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars.


"Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place. To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength.


"The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see."

The letter claims that the vast majority of users have been unaffected by issue and that it has received dozens of emails saying that the 3GS reception is better than the 3GS.

Call us crazy, but you have to wonder whether that signal formula "fault" was deliberate, to make us think we had more signal than we've ever had, and that's impossible to actually get full bars of signal on an iPhone?

You can read the full open letter to iPhone 4 users here and T3's own Duncan Bell's feelings on the matter here.

Link: Apple