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
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.
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
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.
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.
quote: The drop in signal from holding the phone with your left hand arguably remains a problem
quote: Where to now, pirks for the defence?
quote: Pirks will always be stupider than you are