Apple’s first response regarding iPhone 4’s signal issue (now known as the Death Grip) was hasty and dismissive – and it hacked off a lot of people. After a few days at the PR drawing board, the company’s second response, issued this morning, shows more polish: it’s cool, collected… and calculating.
According to Apple, the cause of the iPhone 4 signal problem isn’t its antenna design at all. But there is a problem. And the cause, by golly, 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.”
According to the statement, this error isn’t even new; it’s been with us since the original iPhone.
The letter goes on to promise a free software update for all 3G-capable iPhones “within a few weeks” that will include a “corrected formula,” getting rid of the fake bars we’ve been seeing for three years and solving the whole damn mess.
Except… wait? Isn’t my iPhone 4 dropping from five bars to no signal when I hold it in my left hand? If Apple is right and this is all a big mathematical misunderstanding, when I see five bars on my iPhone, I’m really getting a signal which would correctly show me three or four with the new formula. So, my phone isn’t going from five bars to no signal when it’s in my hand – it’s going from only three or four bars to no signal!
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