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Apple’s response to bad Reception? It’s an equation gone wrong

Posted on | July 4, 2010 | 6 Comments

So you might have heard that Apple have released their most successful product ever, the iPhone 4 (They sold over 1.7 Million units in just three days)….

Being a bit of a tech geek, I was interested in queuing up to get this new toy (I LOVE my Nexus One though so always thought if the iPhone4 was rubbish I could sell on eBay) but work commitments and having a weekend in Ibiza meant that I could not find time to check it out at launch time.. Boy oh Boy am I glad that I didn’t rush in head first..

The talk around APPLE town is that the iPhone4′s reception is not good, and this one piece of negative press has swamped all of the other great strides that Apple have tried to release with this new phone.. With that in mind, what do Apple end up releasing in their OFFICIAL statement? It’s all down to the equation they use to calculate reception bars on your phone??

WHAT.. They say they’ve had this problem across all iPhones? They don’t admit to having a bad design that means by simply holding the phone it drops signal, it’s simple maths and we the public and Apple fans are wrong!!

When they were testing reception out and about, did the old iphone design/cover they were hiding the new phone in have an effect? Why are they pushing away their huge following of Brand Advocates and not handeling the problem properly? Way too many unanswered questions here so I’m waiting until I make a move to the iPhone4r (that’s r for reception peps) and staying happy as Larry with my Nexus One.

Check out the YouTube video here that shows how the iPhone4 drops reception like a brick…

Offical iPhone Press Release

iPhone 4 Users,

The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it 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.

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.

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

We hope you love the iPhone 4 as much as we do.

Thank you for your patience and support.



6 Responses to “Apple’s response to bad Reception? It’s an equation gone wrong”

  1. Tom French
    July 9th, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    I’d buy the iPhone 4 even with bad reception but I can frickin find it but after reading your post maybe I should just check out the latest Driod (if I could get my hands in it).. Damnnnn.

  2. Eddie Heart
    July 9th, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

    found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  3. Jim Hollis
    July 11th, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    Just don’t hold your phone like a vice ;-) They should produce an iPhone app to show you how to hold the phone properly..

  4. Michael Jahn
    July 13th, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    Maybe some of us iPhone lovers have so much Macintosh rubbed off on our fingers from typing and moving the mouse that our hand somehow help reception, as I have not experienced this issue. I would like to share that I work with somone named Alvaro, who is 6’5 and wears 17 shoes, and has HUGE hands that completely engulf his iPhone 4 and has no issues even while walking around in and out of building using FaceTime. Maybe it is because he is nearly as tall as the cell phone towers ? Who knows. All I can say is everything is fine here.
    .-= Michael Jahn´s last blog ..With Star Proof 6 spot color matching is a breeze =-.

  5. Paul Lewis
    July 13th, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

    Hey Michael,

    Agree to a point but if the latest Apple iPhone 4 doesn’t get sign off from Consumer Reports surely this is a real problem?

  6. Jean Daily
    July 15th, 2010 @ 4:47 am

    nice post. thanks.

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