Apple has officially replied to complaints about reception problems, widely reported in the pres as happening when you hold the iPhone in a certain way (or what many would see a a natural way!).
They have posted a letter (excerpt below) on their site yesterday, which basically says that its all a matter of perception (rather than reception). They claim that they have been using the wrong formula for calculating how many bars they should display for a given signal strength. Here’s what they say and the reasons they give as to why this means there isn’t really a problem after all:
“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.”
So there you have it… the iPhone 4 has the best signal reception ever and a free software update will restore normal service soon!