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Apple says that it was merely drawing the signal bars wrong and that its phone has no issues.  (Source: Engadget)
"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." -- Apple

The iPhone 4's launch went well for Apple in terms of sales -- moving 1.7 million units -- but not so well in terms of publicity.  Just before the official launch, news of Apple's scheme to track users' whereabouts and use it to target ads at them was aired.  And then the launch itself was marred by some ugly reception issues.

Apple has at last formally responded to those issues, curiously claiming, in essence, that there is no issue at all.  It writes in a press release:

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.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same— the iPhone 4's wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

So in essence the long awaited firmware "fix" from Apple is apparently to change the way bars are represented on the phone to reassure disgruntled customers.  

Apple and its U.S. carrier AT&T are already facing a class action lawsuit over the signal issues.  Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs further fanned the flames when he told his critics, "Just avoid holding it that way."

He later revised his statement to be, "There are no reception issues. Stay Tuned." 

Apple's claims that it was merely drawing the wrong number of bars are somewhat strange considering all the complaints of dropped calls that have been reported.  Many users who previously had AT&T and/or iPhones have commented that the problems appear to be largely with the handset itself, rather than the network -- despite the A&T network having more than its share of voice issues.

Customers can get somewhat of a solution for dropped calls if they purchase one of Apple's Bumper cases that seems to nullify some of the signal issues.  The interesting thing is that Apple never before sold first-party cases for the iPhone.  That has led some to accuse Apple of manufacturing the cases either to cover up its signal shortcomings or as a scheme to rake in more of its customers money.

Another curious thing about the incident is that the iPhone appeared to be almost in complete form way back in April -- thanks to Gizmodo's "acquisition" of a lost iPhone.  That raises the question of how such issues went unnoticed when there were months that could have been allocated to usage testing on the completed handsets.  



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Anandtech
By Spivonious on 7/2/2010 10:03:31 AM , Rating: 5
I wonder if Anandtech's article on Wednesday caused this.




RE: Anandtech
By LordSojar on 7/2/2010 10:06:21 AM , Rating: 4
Directly caused it? Doubtful. Played a small hand in it? Likely. The decibel ranges on each par prior to this update were rather silly. Though, that doesn't excuse Apple's ignorant behavior and treatment of their customers. Then again, this is Steve Jobs we are talking about, a man who fancies himself your new god.


RE: Anandtech
By therealnickdanger on 7/2/2010 10:30:16 AM , Rating: 4
Every person with an opinion on the iPhone 4 reception "problem" should read this before opening his mouth:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-re...

Just sayin'.


RE: Anandtech
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2010 11:50:32 AM , Rating: 5
Apple should just recall them. Then sell them at twice the price as the new iPod Touch.

Really can you call any of them phones?


RE: Anandtech
By darkblade33 on 7/2/2010 11:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah like the part where ANAND says
"From my day of testing, I've determined that the iPhone 4 performs much better than the 3GS in situations where signal is very low, at -113 dBm (1 bar). Previously, dropping this low all but guaranteed that calls would drop, fail to be placed, and data would no longer be transacted at all. I can honestly say that I've never held onto so many calls and data simultaneously on 1 bar at -113 dBm as I have with the iPhone 4, so it's readily apparent that the new baseband hardware is much more sensitive compared to what was in the 3GS. The difference is that reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in actual use.
With my bumper case on, I made it further into dead zones than ever before, and into marginal areas that would always drop calls without any problems at all. It's amazing really to experience the difference in sensitivity the iPhone 4 brings compared to the 3GS, and issues from holding the phone aside, reception is absolutely definitely improved. I felt like I was going places no iPhone had ever gone before. There's no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS.


RE: Anandtech
By Howard on 7/4/2010 7:41:37 PM , Rating: 3
I like the part where you forgot to note that the above paragraph was describing the phone's performance with a case on.


RE: Anandtech
By Proxes on 7/2/2010 1:13:11 PM , Rating: 5
Apple's display of the bars is no different than how woman's clothing companies work.

Company XYZ puts size 4 on the labels of their size 6 pants.
Company ABC puts size 6 on the labels of their size 6 pants.

Women buy from XYZ because saying they wear size 4 pants makes them feel better about themselves.

Apple incorrectly displayed the signal strength on the iPhone so people would think they have better reception than other phones/cell companies.

Apple gets outed and two days later announces a fix.


RE: Anandtech
By TSS on 7/2/2010 3:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
Calling this a fix is less true then calling an apple product a "fix".

All they did was change the bars from showing a more-then-positive number due to the highly advertised antenna to less-then-positive to try and hide the failing antenna.

Apple has been found out of consumer manipulation and the thing they do to fix said act, is consumer manipulation.

A few years back on Steve's birthday i called him a visionairy and one of the most creative minds on the planet. The fact that he can do the above and the apple fans will eat it up like chocolate cake makes me realise how absurdly right i was, though not in the way i approached it at the time.

I predict the last we'll hear of steve is his manically laughter as he rides his personal helicopter made out of money into the sunset throwing kittens at his persuers, only to settle down and live the rest of his life on some private island in the bermuda triangle, surrounded by his most faithfull apple-ites.


RE: Anandtech
By Proxes on 7/2/2010 3:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well maybe I should have put the word fix in quotes like you did. I was by no means saying that Apple actually "fixed" anything.


RE: Anandtech
By torpor on 7/2/2010 5:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
And once Apple got caught selling size 6 as size 4, they just changed the label to make the 4 look just like a 6, unless you look really, really close.

We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

I bet for a given signal strength, this "taller" bar will give an equivalent on-screen height to the falsified display.

Apple truly is all about packaging.


RE: Anandtech
By dsuse on 7/2/2010 6:32:30 PM , Rating: 3
Apple does seem to have problems with bars.
They did lose one of their iPhone 4 prototypes in one.

Come to think of it, that one DID have a "top-secret" plastic bumper case attached to it for field testing. So perhaps Steve Jobs penchant for secrecy led to them not cluing into the problems with the exposed antenna until it was too late in the QA testing process to correct it (of course, this still does not explain the other problems with the prox. sensor, the screen issues, the defective performance with photos/movies...).

They should take away Steve's secret decoder ring for this.


RE: Anandtech
By KrayLoN on 7/2/2010 10:16:57 AM , Rating: 4
I was thinking the same thing. Conspiracy theory: Someone at apple came up with a bad design for the antenna. Correcting the design would have meant a major set back for a production date/deadline which could have meant someone's job. So someone convieniently made a mistake in the forumla to make it look like the antena had no issues. During QA testing the antena issue was discovered and the RIM JOB was created to mask the problem. Steve Jobs is innocent and a victim of very deceiving employees. :-P


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By nvalhalla on 7/2/2010 10:35:05 AM , Rating: 5
No, bad design like NOT INSULATING THE FREAKING ANTENNA!! Putting it on the edge of the phone was a good idea, it was just not executed right.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By nafhan on 7/2/2010 11:29:02 AM , Rating: 3
What are you trying to defend? Yes, the phone works even when you're "holding it wrong." We get OK reception instead of great reception because of a design flaw that could have been easily fixed, and that's OK? On top of that, Apple is essentially denying this problem exists, which is silly to say the least.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By weskurtz0081 on 7/2/2010 11:49:35 AM , Rating: 2
Anand also said that the antenna should be coated, which would prevent the massive attenuation problem that the iPhone 4 is having. So, while the antenna could have been great, it's incomplete because they left off a coating that could prevent the power loss when it comes in contact with human flesh or other conductive materials.

The design is good, but the screwed up by not putting a coating on it, and therefore, the design is flawed without it. So, if you are in a bad area with low dB, and then you touch the antenna in that area, you can expect to have 0dB. So, use a bumper, and everything will be fine (other than being forced to buy a bumper).


RE: Anandtech
By Motoman on 7/2/2010 11:51:34 AM , Rating: 5
Anand also said:

quote:
The main downside to the iPhone 4 is the obvious lapse in Apple's engineering judgment. The fact that Apple didn't have the foresight to coat the stainless steel antenna band with even a fraction of an ounce worth of non-conductive material either tells us that Apple doesn't care or that it simply doesn't test thoroughly enough.


And:

quote:
At the bare minimum Apple should give away its bumper case with every iPhone 4 sold. The best scenario is for Apple to coat the antenna and replace all existing phones with a revised model.


Funny how you seem to miss those parts. Then again, you are retarded...so I guess it's amazing you can read at all.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2010 12:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
You need to spend more time on this site.
http://www.rif.org/


RE: Anandtech
By Helbore on 7/2/2010 4:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
Why coat the antenna when your customers will defend your poor engineering decisions?

You've got to look at this from an Apple manager's position. If you can avoid doing something properly and save a few pennies, why bother spending those pennies?

It's the nutty attitude we see here that keeps Apple from fixing such design flaws. Why bother when people lie Pirks tell everyone they're doing a good job by cutting corners.

And they ARE cutting corners.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By Quadrillity on 7/2/2010 12:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then again, you are retarded...so I guess it's amazing you can read at all.

That made me lol for a good two minutes.


RE: Anandtech
By brshoemak on 7/2/2010 12:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We get OK reception instead of great reception Is this OK reception better than in 3GS? Anand says yes. Why should I trust you instead of Anand?


Hey guess what, it's on AT&T's network - so less than anticipated signal strength apparently does make a difference. It doesn't matter if it's marginally (feel free to argue about the word 'marginally') better than the 3GS but you need all the signal strength you can get for AT&T's network in some areas.

You can also argue about the strength of the phone itself, which I won't disagree with, but using it on AT&T's network in some places is like putting a Lamborghini on ice - looks nice but you aren't going anywhere.


RE: Anandtech
By rocky12345 on 7/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Anandtech
By hughlle on 7/2/2010 1:29:33 PM , Rating: 1
so you are not denyinbg the fact that the phone is crap :P just that it's not quite as crap as the 3GS?


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
RE: Anandtech
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/2/2010 10:53:45 AM , Rating: 3
Umm, from the same article:

quote:
The drop in signal from holding the phone with your left hand arguably remains a problem. Changing the bars visualization may indeed help mask it, and to be fair the phone works fine all the way down to -113 dBm, but it will persist - software updates can change physics as much as they can change hardware design. At the end of the day, Apple should add an insulative coating to the stainless steel band, or subsidize bumper cases. It's that simple.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/2/2010 11:24:31 AM , Rating: 2
Reception when holding the iPhone 4 in my hand is NOT better than a 3GS (in my experience).

I can hold my iPhone 4 in my hand and watch it drop from 5 bars to 1, then watch the internet speeds drop to nearly nothing (using Speedtest.net) and not be able to receive or make calls.

I hold my wife's 3GS in my hand in the same area and I might loose one bar (if any) and the internet speeds drop maybe by about 10%.

If I hold my iPhone 4 in my hand long enough, it will drop to no signal.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By weskurtz0081 on 7/2/2010 11:55:50 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't contradict what Anand said, did you read the entire article?

quote:
The drop in signal from holding the phone with your left hand arguably remains a problem. Changing the bars visualization may indeed help mask it, and to be fair the phone works fine all the way down to -113 dBm, but it will persist - software updates can change physics as much as they can change hardware design. At the end of the day, Apple should add an insulative coating to the stainless steel band, or subsidize bumper cases. It's that simple.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By croc on 7/3/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Anandtech
By Dark Legion on 7/2/2010 12:15:52 PM , Rating: 3
No, he picked the 1 paragraph that supports his beliefs and ignored the rest, as usual...Why do people still answer him?


RE: Anandtech
By Motoman on 7/2/2010 1:04:42 PM , Rating: 3
Pirks makes us all feel better about ourselves. Because no matter what we might do to make us feel stupid, whether inadvertently or on purpose, Pirks will always be stupider than you are.

It's the same kind of thing that holds true for seeing a moderately hot chick in a bar, with her fat and disgusting friend. Sure, the former may be more or less average, but compared to the other one...she's a 10.


RE: Anandtech
By Pirks on 7/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By ClownPuncher on 7/2/2010 1:47:21 PM , Rating: 3
Who wants a body massage?


RE: Anandtech
By omnicronx on 7/4/2010 6:27:59 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Pirks will always be stupider than you are
*shakes head*


RE: Anandtech
By VahnTitrio on 7/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Anandtech
By hyvonen on 7/3/2010 2:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
-20dB actually means 100x lower signal
-3dB : half-power
-10dB : 0.1x power
etc.


RE: Anandtech
By Alexstarfire on 7/2/2010 7:20:13 PM , Rating: 1
I suppose you thought Pintos were of excellent design too. Too bad they weren't so great in accidents.

I don't think anyone is doubting how effective it can be when it works, but you also can't deny there is a flaw. A flaw = a bad design, even if it's still an improvement. The design would be far better if they didn't have this issue.


RE: Anandtech
By TheDoc9 on 7/2/2010 10:57:02 AM , Rating: 2
More Obviously, the software was likely originally written purposely to display the bars in such a way as to prove just how much better the reception is with the new phone.

Then the rest of the story applies: They discover the signal problem too late in the release process to correct it without heavy financial loss, so they turn their problem into a money maker by releasing the phone bumper.

Anyone who didn't buy a bumper will be saved with the software release that re-associates the bars - not really fixing anything. Giving peace of mind and re-affirming the illusion for the owners (followers?).


RE: Anandtech
By TheDoc9 on 7/2/2010 10:59:17 AM , Rating: 2
As an aside: I'd be curious to know what the signal bar mappings are for the original iphone and 3gs, before they're 'updated'.


RE: Anandtech
By iFX on 7/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Anandtech
By sleepeeg3 on 7/3/2010 9:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
Kudos to whoever called, in the earlier article, that Apple would just issue a software patch without fixing the issue. Surprising they are so blatantly honest about what they are doing.

"We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see." LOL! Surely not to deceive users or anything, not at all! Jobs must have "How to Lie with Statistics" committed to heart.

Along those lines, this goes out to all the iBots who will mindlessly defend the iPhone, even if it can't make calls!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg&feature...


Come on guys..
By Daniel8uk on 7/2/2010 10:11:31 AM , Rating: 3
See, this is why people buy Apple because you know you will be looked after, they said it was a software bug and they fixed it for free. MS and Google wouldn't do that, they'd either charge you or install some shitty advertising malware.

Apple have proven time and time again they are the best company in the world, there phones have 3G and the wifi's and bigger GB's and the App store is awesome because you can download applications.

Apple for ever <3




RE: Come on guys..
By gibb3h on 7/2/2010 10:17:56 AM , Rating: 5
I really really want this to be a troll...


RE: Come on guys..
By batjohn on 7/2/2010 10:29:42 AM , Rating: 1
I can't tell whether this is supposed to be a joke or if he's really serious.


RE: Come on guys..
By fifolo on 7/2/2010 10:33:53 AM , Rating: 1
If it's not a troll, it's a case study for Apple's target audience.

Oh, Lord, let it be a troll.


RE: Come on guys..
By EasyC on 7/2/2010 10:40:57 AM , Rating: 1
He's referring to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg

LOL, so no, it's not serious.


RE: Come on guys..
By rzrshrp on 7/2/2010 11:31:09 AM , Rating: 2
Umm, if the last sentence didn't tip you off, your sarcasm meter is surely broken.


RE: Come on guys..
By fifolo on 7/2/2010 7:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
I have come across so many Apple apologists, I disconnect my meter for its own protection when the subject comes up. Really, did you know that not having a USB port on the iPad is a Good Thing? Multitasking is a Bad Thing. Pixel density makes smaller screens easier to see than larger screens.

Yup... keep that meter's fuse from blowing.


RE: Come on guys..
By Ard on 7/2/2010 11:45:25 AM , Rating: 3
Vote that man up. He's referring to a very, very funny YouTube video.


this is a perfect example of why I hate Apple
By muhahaaha on 7/2/2010 6:11:20 PM , Rating: 1
This is a perfect example of why I hate Apple. They know there is a problem with their new phone, and they first deny it or tell you some garbage like "you're holding it wrong".

Then, definitive proof comes out that the problem is real, and they make up some BS excuse like "OMG the algorithm that displays the number of bars is wrong!!!"

Own up, you asshats!




By darkblade33 on 7/2/2010 11:54:08 PM , Rating: 1
Quoted from ANANDTECH.COM :
From my day of testing, I've determined that the iPhone 4 performs much better than the 3GS in situations where signal is very low, at -113 dBm (1 bar). Previously, dropping this low all but guaranteed that calls would drop, fail to be placed, and data would no longer be transacted at all. I can honestly say that I've never held onto so many calls and data simultaneously on 1 bar at -113 dBm as I have with the iPhone 4, so it's readily apparent that the new baseband hardware is much more sensitive compared to what was in the 3GS. The difference is that reception is massively better on the iPhone 4 in actual use.

With my bumper case on, I made it further into dead zones than ever before, and into marginal areas that would always drop calls without any problems at all. It's amazing really to experience the difference in sensitivity the iPhone 4 brings compared to the 3GS, and issues from holding the phone aside, reception is absolutely definitely improved. I felt like I was going places no iPhone had ever gone before. There's no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS.


By muhahaaha on 7/3/2010 6:25:48 AM , Rating: 1
yeah, when it's laying on the table and not being touched.

STFU apptard, it is an obvious design flaw and Anand's article states that clearly.


By muhahaaha on 7/3/2010 6:30:10 AM , Rating: 1
By the way, I work in the telecommunication industry, so I'm not an ignorant fool.


By muhahaaha on 7/3/2010 6:33:27 AM , Rating: 1
Where us Motoman when you need him? This dork needs to be pwned.


By darkblade33 on 7/3/2010 1:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
The first paragraph is without the bumper case.. he still says he is getting better reception despite a lower signal ..

The second paragraph he states the bumper case is now on..

For the majority of people in big cities like me ( columbus Ohio ) where the signal is strong, the drop in signal doesnt matter. If you read how much the signal drops ( when you're not squeezing the living sh$t out of it to make a point ) when you're holding it normally.. its not enough to matter anyways.

Fact is most of the people who are "bitching" about this don't even own a iphone 3gs or iP4 ... they are just making noise on these forums..

for the record, I have an Evo, but my wife has a 3gs, my cousin got a iP4 with no issues in reception


By hyvonen on 7/3/2010 2:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
Let me explain it so you'll understand.

IF measured signal strength is -113dBm, 4 is better than 3GS.
IF using the bumper case (for which you have to pay $30 or so), 4 is (probably) better than 3GS in every case.

IF NOT using a bumper case, AND "holding the phone wrong", 4 is worse than 3GS because the better receiver hardware can't compensate enough for the massive signal loss due to the shorted antennas. This is why people in relatively low-signal areas lose reception altogether with 4 even though 3GS works fine.

Now, Apple could reduce the attenuation by coating the antenna at extra cost to them (plus the embarrassment of having a - GASP! - design flaw in an iPhone).

OR, Apple could make you buy a bumper case at extra cost to YOU (and more revenue to them), and say that nothing is wrong.

Of course, we all know which path was chosen.


Give out the covers\bumpers for free.
By PAPutzback on 7/2/2010 10:06:34 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, what do they cost to make, about 20 cents? Nintendo gave the gels cases out for free. But I'll never be an Apple fan and will never understand why there is such a large group of people that like getting screwed on each release.




By ElementZero on 7/2/2010 10:22:53 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with giving out free bumpers is that there are still a lot of people who will complain about how they "don't want a bumper because it makes the phone look all bulgy and I just want my phone looking slick by itself."

That being said, I suggest Apple by the entire stock of these

http://awrapforthat.com/

instruct their employees how to apply them, and then have you come into the Apple store and they will apply it for you. Done - 100% reduction in complaints because the phone looks the exact same, it's just that the reception issues are gone.

It really is shocking that Apple still denies this when it's so incredibly easy to reproduce the problem (even if Jobs is an egotistical maniac that wouldn't admit they made a mistake if the phone didn't even include the ability to call). But with the class action lawsuit mounting - I guess if nothing else they will get it when a dude stands in the court room and demonstrates the problem first hand to a jury.


By Cobra Commander on 7/2/2010 10:30:35 AM , Rating: 2
Children aren't swinging their iPhones (that they don't have) trebuchet-style into their siblings skulls. It IS a bit different.

Nobody is asking you to be an Apple fan. But be aware there's an enormous difference between the Apple fans that are part of the mobile computing revolution crowd and the old-school Mac heads. I'm a PC but I love my iPhone. I don't have signal bar issues, I don't have 3G issues and I'm certainly not 'screwed with every release'.

Keep in mind that to believe even HALF of what rumor mills claim about these "technological atrocities" out there you're being duped and/or you don't try the tech out for yourself.


By Strunf on 7/2/2010 11:39:59 AM , Rating: 2
People should be happy this update is for free coming from Apple one could even imagine it would be a paying update!


I'm a tad confused
By Homerboy on 7/2/2010 10:06:44 AM , Rating: 2
1st they suggest buying the bumpers ($30) to help increase bars and therefore increase the reception strength and therefore reduce number of drops.

Now they are saying "Oh... its just the bars are displaying wrong" therefore implying that the signal strength itself really isn't affected... just how it was being displayed to you graphically was askew.

So which is it? Was the strength REALLY affected. As their first suggested fix. Or is it the latter, where it’s just perceived strength of signal?




RE: I'm a tad confused
By amanojaku on 7/2/2010 10:21:08 AM , Rating: 3
All of the above. The signal strength indicator was wrong as it reported better reception than was true. The youtube "tests" showed people loosing data and phone connections when held the wrong way. In other words, the iPhone (hardware and software) is NOT built to the same standards as other phones. It's a great appliance for Apple-sanctioned apps, but it's a crap-ass phone.


RE: I'm a tad confused
By The0ne on 7/2/2010 10:44:02 AM , Rating: 2
I honestly can't stop laughing yet. This news is just astounding. It has more to do with appeasing the iPhone user than fixing the problem itself.

I was reading up on the EVO last night and my coworker came in, saw me doing it and immediately told me to stop and just get an iphone. This is right after I sent him the info about the iphone issues. After I commented that I didn't want to be using a product that is essentially working in a "close" environment he utter get an iphone. Funny because although he is my best friend here he sounded exactly like what is happening in this video,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg

I just didn't even bother trying to explain or anything and let the subject die. Speaking only increases the stupidity in the conversation.


I call Bull$#!t
By HighWing on 7/2/2010 12:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.


AT&T's big ad campaign for the past year has been "More Bars, in More Places" Does no one notice a connection here? Both AT&T and the iPhone have been plagued with reports of not so great service, yet they continue to use the same ad campaign that is quite laughable at best.

In my opinion I think Apple knew about it and deliberately coded it that way to make the iPhone "appear" to have better service than it really did in hopes to quite the complaints of the actual bad service. ie If the customer is always looking at the phone and seeing more bars, they feel confidant that they have service, when in reality they might not. I wouldn't be too surprised if AT&T had a hand in this as well.

After all, like the article already pointed out, they had months of usage testing before release. And I find it rather interesting that they "discovered" this rather quickly after news of it, and a pending lawsuit broke.




RE: I call Bull$#!t
By radializer on 7/2/2010 6:05:54 PM , Rating: 3
This exactly

In fact, if you look at the old iOS updates ... the step from v2.0.2 to v2.1 reported a feature implemented that Apple called "Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display"

In layman speak this was just saying "what was 2 bars then, is 5 bars now” .. and the links below show that both Ars and Gizmodo experienced exactly this, as did many of their readers.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2008/09/cell-b...
http://gizmodo.com/5048905/iphone-21-update-availa...

Now this was late 2008 - maybe this was when they (Apple + AT&T) were taking flak for coverage (not sure). This seems like an obvious attempt to report optimistic signal strengths in the form of "more bars in more places".

Now, the problem statement is quite different and the 24dBm drop op top of this "improved accuracy" indicator ends up reporting a loss of 4-5 bars of signal in certain circumstances.

Sure enough, and very amusingly, I might add, Apple's is "stunned to find that they were calculating the bars of cell signal strength wrong" on iPhone4 with iOS v4

“Stunned, I say!” :-)


RE: I call Bull$#!t
By mpjesse on 7/2/2010 7:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
THANK YOU for reminding everyone of that 2 year old update. Quite frankly I'm amazed that all these geniuses on here forgot about the reception issues with the original 3G and what apple did to fix it. At the time they alleged the 3G was "under reporting signal strength" and now the iPhone 4 is over reporting it? LOL. And they're "stunned!". The fact is this: apple has been using the same fu*cked up formula since the 3G "fix" back in 2008. All the conspiracy theories about apple using a different formula to try and hide the iPhone 4's antenna issues are baseless. If apple had a unique formula for the iPhone 4 then why are they issuing updates for the 3G/S?


Bars Never Accurate
By Seedillume on 7/2/2010 10:31:03 AM , Rating: 4
For many years, there have been bars indicating some measurement on cell phones. During this time, I have never seen ANY accurate bars. I have seen battery indicator bars that show 2/3 capacity, but indicating 52% when looked at the actual percentage. I have seen cell phones with no bars making and retaining phones calls. I have always thought it was hilarious when people seem take the bars as gospel.

The ultimate test of reception is usage. If a call is dropped or the device starts searching for a connection, it's safe to say there is a problem with reception. Incorporate this with the repeatability of this problem when held a certain way, it is painfully obvious that a conductive connection between the two antennas results in a significant loss of attenuation.

Whether 4 or 2 bars disappear, it's nice to see Apple actually admit that there is a loss in attenuation when the iPhone 4's two antennas are "shorted."

More troubling is this: If Apple states that they have been measuring the signal strength via bar status incorrectly for the past three generations of the iPhone, it makes me wonder if they were trying to hide lower than desired reception with AT&T's network.

In the end, AT&T iPhone customers will have the short end of the stick with poorer reception and higher than average dropped calls. I feel for them for they are the true victims.




RE: Bars Never Accurate
By W00dmann on 7/2/2010 4:01:51 PM , Rating: 1
On the one hand, I believe this issue is being a wee bit over-hyped by the press. I'm sure the iPhone 4 is still a fine device, and under most circumstances the phone will have improved reception over previous models. On the other hand, this is pure bullshit on Apple's part. I'm sure they knew their "bar rating scheme" was overly optimistic right from day one, and are instigating a "fix" because their sometimes-faulty antenna design requires that they do something.

Let's say for example that you are in a weak-signal area that warrants 2 bars. The iPhone cheerfully reports 5 bars, given its overly-optimistic bar rating scheme. It's pretty dramatic to then cup the phone and see 5 bars drop to 2 or 1, so what to do? Implement a more aggressive bar-rating system where it actually shows a realistic 2 bars and then, when you cup the phone, you only see it drop by 1 bar. Going from 2 bars to 1 is much less severe than 5 bars to 1 so the signal drop doesn't seem so bad to the user, does it?

Pretty lame. As I said, I'm sure it's a fine device, but they really should have done something about the antenna design. Either that or give the bumper cases away for free.


Apple + Jobs = Incredible
By amanojaku on 7/2/2010 10:06:59 AM , Rating: 2
Poor design, inaccurate information, lack of features, high price tag... And in spite of it all their worshipers are legion. Is a pretty case all that's needed to make people loose their minds? Even men get sick of hot women who are stupid, selfish and a drain on the wallet. What makes a phone so special???




There will be a quite upgrade
By Jonh68 on 7/2/2010 11:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
I bet there will be a minor, unannounced tweak to the reception problem in which Apple will go ahead and put a thin coat over the antennae on future production. This way they don't have to acknowledge there was a problem to begin with.

Apple does need to find a way to fix this without bumpers. Jobs touted the phone as a thing of engineering marvel and design. Adding cases and bumpers, as a necessity and not an accessory, negates any design aesthetics. Most of us use cases as protection, but they shouldn't be a necessity in regards to actual performance of the phone.




Apple
By rs1 on 7/2/2010 12:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
Leave it to Apple to tell people that it can fix a hardware attenuation problem that is caused by shorting the cellular antenna with the wifi antenna by "changing how they draw the bars". And to expect people to be stupid enough to believe it.




knew this would happen...
By zodiacfml on 7/2/2010 12:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
few days ago, there's a quote from Steve Jobs to "stay tune" regarding the issue. before even that, I've read that holding the phone such would still allow calls and data.

anyways, Apple knew of the "feature" and expected quite obsessive users to just buy the bumpers. unfortunately, did not turn out as such, as people were expecting more from the device.




All this is just...
By 67STANG on 7/2/2010 1:24:22 PM , Rating: 2
Apple shifting the blame of their engineering mistake, to AT&T's network. Not really hard to see that they are going to undercut the bars so that people blame AT&T's coverage for their horrible call reliability that is completely or partially the problem with the engineering of the product itself.

It's quite obvious with Apple's statements about they way to hold it, denials about the problem, etc.-- then retracting their statements and cooking up this "update" that is simply a script to display less bars than are there in reality.

Hat-tip to you Apple. Your marketing monster has gone from twisting the truth to get sales, to outright lies to save face.




The bars are correct!
By fic2 on 7/2/2010 1:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
The bars are correct it's just iPhone users reading them wrong.




Fix
By btc909 on 7/2/2010 3:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
I already previously post a lame fix to the antenna issue was to put a cover on your iPhone 4 since your hand isn't able to make physical contact with the phone. What needs to happen is to recall ALL of the iPhone 4 phones & put a clear coating (not a sticker) over the stainless steel band which prevents you from physically touching the phone.

Next, so Apple got caught, ok lets fake the signal strength to make it look like our new antenna design will solve the drop call issues especially in high concentration areas. Plus this will support our decision to stick with AT&T only. Problem though, if your customers calls still drop this isn't going to work. You can't make up for a medicore cell network. Either upgrade the network AND/OR offer the iPhone to other carriers.




By darkblade33 on 7/2/2010 11:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
I have an Evo, my wife a iPhone3Gs...but considering an iPhone 4 ..

I read the Anandtech iPhone 4 review over pretty good.. and his conclusion pretty much backs up what my cousin said to me "that overall reception was better then the 3gs" .. despite the signal drop.. the iPhone4 seems more able to keep the connection in low signal areas better then the 3gs..

In all fairness, Iam not a fanboy.. I had a PS2 and was a big Sony fan.. but I didnt get a Ps3.. this time around the 360 ( despite one RROD breakdown in the first two yrs - had it for nearly 5 yrs now ! ) felt the 360 was a better gaming unit... I didnt care about movies..

I like technology and it seems people read and see what they want. I think Apple could do better and fix the problem, but how bad is the problem when even after proving there is a signal drop ( as there is even with any phone actually ) when holding it.. that drop calls overall were less and Anand was able to make calls in areas he couldnt with the 3Gs?




Then why need a cover?
By Dewey115 on 7/3/2010 1:14:30 AM , Rating: 2
I am not going to say I am the most informed of this, and I did not read all comments, but if the previous solution to the issue was to use a cover then how does changing the number of bars shown have ANYTHING to do with the problem? Am I missing something or wont the issue just change from "I am dropping tons of calls with 4 bars" to "I am dropping tons of calls with 2 bars"? Isn't the issue the mass of dropped calls?




By drycrust3 on 7/4/2010 4:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"There are no reception issues. Stay Tuned."


Excuse me for suggesting this, especially as I have almost no knowledge on the inner workings of a cell phone, but maybe Mr Jobs was hinting that it wasn't actually a problem with the placement of the aerial that is causing the call drop outs ("There are no reception issues"), but maybe the method used to calculate the correct channel frequency and time slot is incorrect ("Stay tuned"). We know that the signal strength indicator has been "optimistic" and that this was caused by "the wrong formula", so why would "fixing the formula" fix the problem? Because maybe the "formula" used relates to the channel tuning (or less likely the time slot selection).
If the channel frequency was being incorrectly calculated, then the signal won't be received at it's maximum strength, but will be attenuated, and worse, if there was also a bandwidth error it may actually have other channel signals get through which corrupt the channel signal of interest.
If we follow the scenario of a bandwidth error (because the signal strength is indicating stronger than it really is), it could mean RF from adjacent channels is getting through at a higher strength than expected. If so, why does a the phone work ok when a strong signal is received and not a weak signal? My guess is that maybe either there is some sort weak channel signal + strong adjacent signal situation that arises (e.g. when working off a distant tower while close to another one), or the inherent noise in the receiver electronics becomes more significant as the signal weakens, which when combined with the slightly attenuated signals from higher or lower channels, is sufficient to create enough bit errors that the iPhone drops the call.




Unnoticed reception issue
By soloman02 on 7/5/2010 3:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another curious thing about the incident is that the iPhone appeared to be almost in complete form way back in April -- thanks to Gizmodo's "acquisition" of a lost iPhone. That raises the question of how such issues went unnoticed when there were months that could have been allocated to usage testing on the completed handsets.


I'm not sure Apple engineers would have noticed it when testing in the wild. Because of Apples super secrecy, they created a cover to make the phone look like a 3GS (the one Gizmondo "acquired" looked like a 3GS with the case on). As a result that cover, while complete disguising the phone from prying eyes also disguised the antenna issue.

Apple probably discovered it too far into their manufacturing phase to change the design to resolve the antenna issues. That is why Apple is offering the bumper as that was the quickest way to solve the antenna issue without redesigning the phone.

The fact that Apple offers the bumper proves that they knew of the issue before launch (how long before the launch is the real and unanswered question). Instead of offering the bumper to customers for free and charging $30 for it just proves that Apple doesn't really care for its customers when the phone it sells has a design flaw.

It shouldn't cost customers $30 extra to fix a manufacturers design flaw.




Lies cant repair hardware
By spathotan on 7/2/2010 11:40:23 AM , Rating: 1
Im sure the Apple fanbois will eat this shit up and succumb to the Apple mindgames. The issue isnt fixed by this, but they will think it is and forget all about it. I guess if Apple told these people the Holocaust never happened they would believe that too.




"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home














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