And the plot thickens… After hearing hundreds of customers complain about the iPhone 4’s reception issues (when held) and even a video that demonstrates how the network is fine when the phone is kept on a table but vanishes as soon as it is picked up, Apple claims that there is nothing wrong with the hardware. A “Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4“, issued a few hours ago, states that Apple was “surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them.” And… found nothing wrong with the phone’s hardware!
Instead, Apple insists that every phone ranging from Nokias to Droids to BlackBerries, demonstrate the same characteristics and lose signal when the phone is held! This is the worst BS I have ever heard from anyone. Instead of agreeing that their ‘might’ be design issues, this is what Apple wants to tell us:
“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.”
So let me get this straight, when the iPhone 4 is kept on a table, it shows full signal bars, but when it is picked up all the bars disappear. Even if it was showing more bars than it ought to, the phone moved from a ‘decent’ reception area on the table to an area with no reception as soon as it was picked up? Something surely does not add up over here.
Nevertheless, Apple says that it is now working with AT&T’s prescribed formula for calculating signal bars and there should be a software update pretty soon that will fix the issue. Mind you, we are talking about fixing the number of bars that are displayed and not the real bone of contention – the grip of death.
There is one thing that we’d really like to know from Apple: How come we never witnessed any changes in the signal bar when we held the iPhone, the iPhone 3G or the iPhone 3GS? The network is the same, the algorithm to display signal bars hasn’t changed (yet) and the only change that we can see is in the design of the new iPhone.
Hmm… Now we know why Powell Gray (the guy who ‘lost’ his iPhone 4 prototype in a bar) was using a case on his iPhone 4 – it wasn’t just a security measure, but that was also the only way he could make calls without dropping them every minute.
Jokes apart, if Apple can really solve the reception issue with this software update, I’d be tempted to pick up a factory unlocked version.