Apple – it’s the bars fault not the phone

Oh dear, more bar problems for Apple, first they lose a phone in a bar now they screw up the way they calculate the bars.

Apple have posted an explanatory note regarding the iPhone reception problem, and apparently it’s a problem in the way they calculate the signal strength, and it’s really all right really, and there’s a “fix” on the way. Unfortunately this is going to cause hell for the network providers, as users who thought they had adequate coverage, will know be  shown to have little or none, and they’re not going to be happy.

The letter addressed to “Dear iPhone 4 Users”, starts with the obligatory “our phone is the best phone on the market” guff that you’d expect from Apple, but then quickly gets into a whodunnit mystery, followed by a stern telling off to anyone who doubted that iPhones were any worse than the rest of the bunch when it comes to reception.

“we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.”

Then there’s some more self congratulatory guff followed by the really interesting bit ie Why this is happening despite their initial denials;

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

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.

Really, Apple you were surprised, gosh. You couldn’t make this up if you tried. The good news is that there’s a solution

“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.”

Apple will be  issuing a free software update “within a few weeks” that incorporates the corrected formula, and as the mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

Apple finally says that if you’re still not happy, especially now you’re in a poor area where before you were in a moderate to good area than you can  return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. I wonder of O2 will do the same.[ad name=”Google Text half banner advert “]

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