updated 09:15 am EDT, Fri July 2, 2010
Apple issues PR letter in light of wide criticism
The broadly reported reception issues with the iPhone 4 can all be traced back to the way iOS reports signal, Apple now claims. "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," part of a new PR statement reads. "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," a spokesperson continues.
As a remedy, Apple says it planning to release a software update "within a few weeks" that will adopt a recent AT&T formula for calculating 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 company says.
Because the problem has allegedly been around since the original iPhone, updates are planned not just for the iPhone 4 but the 3G and 3GS. The first-generation iPhone is not getting an upgrade.
The company continues to insist that the cellular performance of the iPhone 4 is the best it has ever produced, and that "the vast majority" of owners have not had any trouble. Many people have been able to reproduce the glitch, however, and several lawsuits are now targeting the company with claims of fraud or deception. Until today, the company sometimes advised people to simply hold a phone differently.