Apple Adamant That iPhone 4 Reception is a Software Issue

I know that Apple is all about manipulating the reality distortion field, but I don’t understand this press release that insists that the iPhone 4 reception issues are software related. Here’s part of the official explanation:

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.

I’ve seen too many tests that show that bandwidth drops with the so-called iPhone 4 death grip. It seems pretty clear that it’s a design problem that decreases reception for some, but certainly not all, users.

Am I missing something? I don’t understand what Apple is trying to do here. Am I interpreting the issue incorrectly? What’s the frequency Kenneth?

Author: RPadTV

14 thoughts on “Apple Adamant That iPhone 4 Reception is a Software Issue”

  1. Why do I just hear Shaggy singing in the background when I read this article?? Haha.

  2. @Ray

    If this is what the real issues is/was then it might be The End Of The World As We Know It

  3. Wow you just can;t trust those "more bars" ads then if you can just change them to what ever you want

  4. No Slicky, there will be more bars…"We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see." See lol.

  5. I think this is accurate by Apple. I have strong ATT in almost every area I frequent during the week. I don't notice any signal degradation unless I am in a weak area.

    The frequency fix they are talking about is something like 5 bars = 56-91mhz. So if you are in a good area, the natural attenuation issues that happen once touched won't matter since it will drop you by 20mhz. If you are in a 4 bar area though, that number might be 55-47mhz and the 20mhz drop off would be significant.

    I think a lot of people are getting false positives based on the graphic of signal strength.

  6. @smartguy It's a real issue. I'm surprised you're buying the explanation. AnandTech did a great study on it that shows — pretty clearly — that it's not a software issue. A lot of the problems are in highly populated areas with more users per tower. From our past discussions, it sounds like AT&T has NOLA wired pretty well and the population isn't dense, so I'm not surprised you're signal is fine.

  7. @Ray

    I'm just not seeing my signal or performance drop unless I am in a very marginal area like my grandfather's house. There is no 3G there anyway, only EDGE.

    We are using the same info. I genuinely feel that most of the issues are software related. I'm not going to deny that the laws of physics are in play when bridging the two antennae, but my drop off hasn't occurred except in a poor area. I'm getting an average of 2 meg down and 1meg up in most of my areas. This is significantly more improved over my 3G model. I would struggle to get to 500k down and more than 70k up on good days.

    So far so good for me with the new device. I'm not trying to be biased, I'm just going by what I have noticed with my own handsets.

  8. @smartguy You're mixing two issue. Nobody is denying that the antenna is better than the 3G's or 3GS'. It also has a design flaw. There are countless examples using stopwatch tests and speed tests that show bandwidth hits depending on how the device is held. In some cases, the degradation is pretty severe — a web page going from loading to stopped, for example.

  9. @Ray

    That sucks for those people then. I am not having these issues though. My area seems to be hooked up well enough I suppose in comparison to others.

  10. Apple is trying to cover up the mistake. Changing the signal ratings to broaden the lower bars is a clear sign that it is taking a hit. They aren't fixing anything and just making it harder for the bars to drop. The signal is still taking a hit.


    Maybe now Google can release a software update that will let TMobile phones work on ATT 3g lol

  11. @Sandrock
    That is hardware related.

    I just can't believe Apple had such piss poor QC for this not to be a software issue. Much like the N1 was a software issue.

  12. @smartguy One of the theories floating around is that Apple required all internal iPhone 4 testers to use a case that made it looks like a 3GS. The kid that "lost" the iPhone prototype had such a case. If this is true, then that's one way they could have missed the problem. *shrug*

  13. @Smartguy

    That was the point of the joke. It is a hardware fault they are trying to cover up by increasing the range of the lower bars. None of what they are saying makes any since. Even if there was a software issue, touching the HARDWARE can not alter the software and speed test aren't governed by that software in the first place. Like I said before, the degradation in signal by touching it seems to be small enough to go unnoticed when the signal is already good, but at lower ranges the degradation is enough to cause some users serious problems. This may be why it slipped Apple QC. Who would think to test a smartphone with low connectivity available?

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