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Apple says iPhone 4 calculates bars wrong, software fix forthcoming - Page 2

post #41 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Indeed. It also seems that people are missing the part of the letter where it states that this "mistake" in reporting the bars as stronger than they are, has been going on since the first iPhone came out. In other words the iPhone has always reported it's bars this way, and only with the new physical hardware design has it turned out to be a problem. This is tantamount to confirmation from Apple that the iPhone 4 actually has a hardware/design problem.

Or a stupid counter to AT&T problems ... Noooo I can't believe they'd do that!
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post #42 of 434
So I can't help but wonder what the calibration for the 3GS was? Did they change the formula for the iPhone 4? If so, why? But if they were using the same calibration, then this software "fix" seems more of a coverup.

I'm in a wait-and-see mode before making any decision. Apple is correctly explaining the effect of attenuation when something (ie, your hand) blocks part of the signal. But that is a different effect than coming in direct contact with the antenna itself. Apple's explanations have so far completely ignored that issue.

We'll see...I'm in no hurry to run out and make a purchase. I'll let the rest of you be guinea pigs.
post #43 of 434
A software fix to only change the display behavior is a fail.

It does not fix the REAL PROBLEM of DROPPED SIGNAL!

I can reproduce the issue 100% of the time with my phone and it is truly insulting for Apple to refuse to accept this fact even after multiple independent studies.
post #44 of 434
My 3GS never dropped calls in my office or house. My 4G does ALL the time unless I hold it in some freakishly unnatural way. Anandtech already demonstrated that the 4G loses 10DB more signal than the 3GS when held tightly. It's true all phones loose signal when gripped tighly, the 4G just looses much MORE signal. Sorry Apple, but making a heavy object out of glass encourages people to hold it tightly.
post #45 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

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."

You may be correct! But, now, Apple can do this as a positive gesture: to help improve the UX; rather than a defensive (negative) gesture to avoid losing signal strength.

I could almost write the announcment myself:


Dear Apple iPhone 4 owner-- The iPhone 4 has proven to have one of the best cell phone antennas in the industry... blah, blah, blah.

All cell phone antennas lose signal strength when... blah, blah, blah.

We have found that a simple bumper case will minimize this effect... blah, blah, blah.

Because we want every iPhone 4 user to get best possible... blah, blah, blah.

---bumper case, at no charge.

Thank you fur buying the Apple iPhone 4.

.
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post #46 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Sorry, but you have your logic totally backward. It will not tell you the signal is worse that it really is, it will be accurate. The initial software reported a signal where there was no signal hence the frustration. Once it is accurate you will know where to get a call through ... like it has always been with mobile phones since they first came out ...

That makes sense, but I disagree in some instances. What about the people who drop all the way down to no service? Are you saying that this fix will give them service when it can't latch onto a signal? You are right, it will be more accurate. Instead of 5 bars, I may now show 3. For people who understand how reception works, they'll be fine because they understand the bars really lie anyways. But when most of the buyers out there aren't really technical (soccer mom), if they see 2 or 3 bars instead of the 5 they may see now, they will think something is wrong. It's the perception that's key to many people. That's too bad because I am sure this fix will alleviate the frustration for some.
post #47 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Maybe the iPhone 4 now has yet another advantage, we all know now how to add that extra drop of reception

Well that's a fresh bit [spin] of optimism! Haha
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post #48 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

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. [ View this article at AppleInsider.com ][/c]

"Stunned"....really?

I find it difficult to believe that a thirty year old computer company responsible for several revolutions in personal computing capable of engineering a state-of-the art network-integrated web browsing, media playing device somehow neglected to check the accuracy of the signal strength formula.

Come on...this doesn't even make sense. This is an egregious error in the most basic functionality of a device that comes from a company so perfectionistic that people were debunking the first authentic pictures of the device because of asthetically unpleasing, millimeter-wide breaks in the side of the case.

AT&T and Apple have been barraged with reception/call quality/signal dropout issues since the release of the first iPhone. I think that one of the first areas to be assessed, and one that would be given _extra_ attention prior to the release of the iPhone 4, would have been whether or not the phone reports signal accurately.

There's a larger issue behind this...
post #49 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by phasornc View Post

My 3GS never dropped calls in my office or house. My 4G does ALL the time unless I hold it in some freakishly unnatural way. Anandtech already demonstrated that the 4G loses 10DB more signal than the 3GS when held tightly. It's true all phones loose signal when gripped tighly, the 4G just looses much MORE signal. Sorry Apple, but making a heavy object out of glass encourages people to hold it tightly.

You can't discount the possibility that you have a lemon. There must be some problem sets out there and the assumption they all have an issue is now more than likely wrong thus meaning yours might be a bad one.
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post #50 of 434
... wasn't this very same issue an 'issue' once before? I swear a patch was released to fix this (or a similar) bug immediately after purchasing my 3G.
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post #51 of 434
So AT&T's new formula is to take whatever you're currently reporting as signal strength, then subtract 2 bars from it? Sounds about right.
post #52 of 434
Maybe this change simply reverses the signal strength display "improvement" they made back in OS 2.1:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...one-os-2-1.ars

I clearly remember the display began to show more bars after installing this update.
post #53 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

That makes sense, but I disagree in some instances. What about the people who drop all the way down to no service? Are you saying that this fix will give them service when it can't latch onto a signal? You are right, it will be more accurate. Instead of 5 bars, I may now show 3. For people who understand how reception works, they'll be fine because they understand the bars really lie anyways. But when most of the buyers out there aren't really technical (soccer mom), if they see 2 or 3 bars instead of the 5 they may see now, they will think something is wrong. It's the perception that's key to many people. That's too bad because I am sure this fix will alleviate the frustration for some.

Well the simple answer to the question you ask is you walk around till you get a signal. Of course a lowering of bars doesn't allow you to latch on to anything, it is no more than a visual aid like the number of red bars on the side of a volume control on a hifi. If a few lights went out due to LED failure the volume doesn't change does it?
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post #54 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by drk_one View Post

... wasn't this very same issue an 'issue' once before? I swear a patch was released to fix this (or a similar) bug immediately after purchasing my 3G.

Yes you are correct. They changed the signal meter in that model. I think that was because of the way the phone interpreted 3G signals compared to EDGE.
post #55 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by amature geek View Post

That doesn't explain this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq4dfeSiOWw

You see, you should have had only 0 bars before holding the antenna, and then with holding the antenna you get -5 bars, which means stopping transmission.

Doesn't that make sense???
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post #56 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

So basically they are saying that they're going to update your phone to tell you that your reception is worse than it really is, bar wise. This doesn't fix anything. This isn't going to fix the people who live in lower reception areas from losing service completely or drop low enough to drop calls, where their previous iPhones or whatever they used works fine.

This is just smoke and mirrors. They also need to address the proximity sensor, although I think they are going to sneak it in. It's a real simple fix, just give it more tolerance.

Emphasis mine!

No, they are going to more-accurately report your true reception!

The truth hurts... fact of life!

.
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post #57 of 434
Posting in this forum has been a complete joke. So many members just want to make out that people with problems are mad (hysterical) or unnaturally forcing their phones to get reception issues, it's pathetic. Truly the posters here who are spouting that crap have really brought this forum down and are a disgrace. I don't care if you own an iPhone 4 and haven't had problems either, your crap still stinks.
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post #58 of 434
I like Apple, and I actually adore the Iphone, but I seriously hope they get crucified over this.
While there is often some amount of confusion and tiny deceptions permeating the computer industry, this is actually close to full out deception and fraud.

Their response to this issue has actually caused me to rethink future Apple purchases.

The actual problem is not really that bad. You just have to use the new iphone in a case or suffer dropped calls and data in weak signal locations. If Apple had admitted it, sent out a few free Itunes credits or some bumpers, we would have just all moved on.

I bet the next round of Apple job reqs will be PR people.
post #59 of 434
post #60 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by phasornc View Post

My 3GS never dropped calls in my office or house. My 4G does ALL the time unless I hold it in some freakishly unnatural way. Anandtech already demonstrated that the 4G loses 10DB more signal than the 3GS when held tightly. It's true all phones loose signal when gripped tighly, the 4G just looses much MORE signal. Sorry Apple, but making a heavy object out of glass encourages people to hold it tightly.

You see, before this software update, you displayed 5 bars, but truly you were at -2 bars. After the software update, it will properly show your true signal when held in the hand.
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post #61 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Emphasis mine!

No, they are going to more-accurately report your true reception!

The truth hurts... fact of life!

.

That's fine, but it doesn't solve this issue at all.
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post #62 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain J View Post

So basically, Apple is saying there is no problem with the antena, the only issue is you thought you were getting better reception thatn you were?

Even more BS that they say they've always calculated things this way. This means people should not be seeing any worse problems with the 4 than the earlier 3. Evidence does not bear this out.

This makes no sense. People's calls are dropping and data speed is much slower when portions of the antenna and touched and/or bridged. Apple's solution is to show you that you have less signal all the time?

I know all phones lose some signal when the antenna is covered, but APPLE'S IS THE ONLY EXTERNAL ANTENNA TOTALLY EXPOSED TO SKIN ETC.

If this indeed Apple's solution, ie. screw you, then I suspect they'll get a lot of phones back. When mine comes, if I have this issue I will take the opportunity to return it and go Android (not what I want to do). Apple is still in denial there there is a problem.

I'm with you. I don't see how this, in any way, addresses the issues. I don't own an iPhone 4 (I'm waiting for the problems to be fixed). But I went to an AT&T store yesterday and could reliably reproduce the problem without "tightly gripping" it. I only needed to bridge the two antennae with one finger. That was enough to drop to no signal after a few seconds. I could make it happen faster if I cupped it in my hand.

The only thing I can think of is that there is actually a fix in this release, but that Apple can't state so publicly because if they did that would be admitting guilt and wouldn't be good for the pending litigation. But mostly this is a just a BS response that doesn't do anything to fix the issue.
post #63 of 434
This is very sad. How embarrassing for those insisting that Apple would fix it.

This fixes nothing, can't folks read?
This doesn't address, not even admit the problem.
Changing the pretty picture of the number of bars has nothing to do with reception.

Lowering the number of bars will make even Apple lovers decide that the iPhone doesn't have such great reception after all.
post #64 of 434
Hey digitalclips, read this and try to understand it: when I hold my iPhone 4 in my left hand, after ten seconds the signal display drops from 5 bars to "No Service" AND I completely lose signal. No voice, no data, nada. When I hold my iPhone 3G or my wife's original iPhone in the same manner, I drop at most 1 bar, and I can continue to use either phone normally. I've done this test a number of times now, in different locations. So can you please stop with the "all phones do that" lie. It's verifiably not true! Repeating it ad nauseum is not going to make it any truer.
post #65 of 434
Hopefully this will put an end to the poor reception story so the iPhone naysayers can move on to other complaints. Of course I am assuming the Apple letter is real and not another fake. I will keep an open mind until I see something official at Apple.com.

There must be a lot of sad lawyers this morning. Whoosh...hey, there's another ambulance,,,let's go!
post #66 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hands Sandon View Post

I've noticed that the bars sometimes seem to be showing more bars than I would expect however the simple fact still remains that I can download 3G radio streams with no issues and then lightly hold the phone in my left hand and drop out of 3G to to the slower network and then get no service all within 10 seconds or so. And Apple thinks that normal!

Are you saying that lightly holding your iPhone in my left hand you can bypass the General Settings and automatically switch from 3G to EDGE no matter how good the wireless service is? I wouldn't think that Apple or anybody else would.

But what I do know for sure, is that Apple thinks it is normal that,
Quote:
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.


post #67 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodWorks View Post

Hey digitalclips, read this and try to understand it: when I hold my iPhone 4 in my left hand, after ten seconds the signal display drops from 5 bars to "No Service" AND I completely lose signal. No voice, no data, nada. When I hold my iPhone 3G or my wife's original iPhone in the same manner, I drop at most 1 bar, and I can continue to use either phone normally. I've done this test a number of times now, in different locations. So can you please stop with the "all phones do that" lie. It's verifiably not true! Repeating it ad nauseum is not going to make it any truer.

As I said to someone else, maybe your iPhone 4 is a lemon and should be changed out. The problem with the hysteria is genuine problem phones are being drowned out by the fuss about good ones being used in poor signal areas that think they are in a good area due to the false bars. I am not doubting you at all.
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post #68 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post

"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."


So there you go. Shut up or take it back.

Yeah, a full refund IF you bought your phone from Apple. Buy it from an AT&T store, Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc. and you're stuck with restocking fees. And unless you return it in 3 days you also get stuck with ETF's from AT&T unless you get a different phone for the 2 year contract you signed with them.
post #69 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Are you saying that lightly holding your iPhone in my left hand you can bypass the General Settings and automatically switch from 3G to EDGE no matter how good the wireless service is? I wouldn't think that Apple or anybody else would.

I really don't know what your talking about. The phone everywhere I've been so far will drop out of 3G just by holding it normally in my left hand then go to the slower network and often drop out of that network too. That's fact, and it happens all the time. I will buy a case which I know will help so the problems, fortunately aren't going to be so bad, but that's what happens without one.
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post #70 of 434
This is a sad day for Apple.

26 years ago, Apple threw the hammer at Big Brother.

Now, Apple is Big Brother.

2 + 2 = 5

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post #71 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

They are not admitting the underlying problem. They are attempting to cover it up. This will put them right back on CNN.

How about we wait and see what happens until after the update has been released.
post #72 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Indeed. It also seems that people are missing the part of the letter where it states that this "mistake" in reporting the bars as stronger than they are, has been going on since the first iPhone came out. In other words the iPhone has always reported it's bars this way, and only with the new physical hardware design has it turned out to be a problem. This is tantamount to confirmation from Apple that the iPhone 4 actually has a hardware/design problem.

Agreed. I think the exposed antennas result in a more pronounced drop in signal than on earlier versions. This is enough to get the the bars display algorithm to drop to the next level (or two or more, as the lower bars have smaller range). So, while the 3G/3GS may have used the same algorithm, the drop is signal was less and so reflected less of a loss. Of course, the antenna on the 4 is also much better, so it might have enough signal to show 5 bars, where the 3G/3GS might show 3 or 4. Again, with the exposed antennas resulting in an actually greater signal drop on the 4, it creates the perception of less signal. But, with the better antenna, even if the signal is less than on the 3G/3GS, the call quality is reported to be better.

I give credit to Apple for admitting the fault in their algorithm. But it seems like admitting to the lesser of two problems in order to distract from the larger issue.

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post #73 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

This is very sad. How embarrassing for those insisting that Apple would fix it.

This fixes nothing, can't folks read?
This doesn't address, not even admit the problem.
Changing the pretty picture of the number of bars has nothing to do with reception.

Lowering the number of bars will make even Apple lovers decide that the iPhone doesn't have such great reception after all.

Try thinking of an analogy ... if your car was telling you you had 100 more miles to go on a tank before you needed gas and you kept running out would you feel the car had a problem or the reading? When the manufacturer fixed it showing you now get 100 miles less from a tank full would you feel you had a bad car now?
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post #74 of 434
So, Apple has also admitted that every iPhone (Original, 3G, 3GS, 4) has displayed exagerrated signal strengths. I wonder if this was intentional to cover the inadequate antenna strength in these "thinnist of all cell phones".
post #75 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by LikesToRead View Post

I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will complain about this too!

Of course. There is a fairly large contingent who complains about EVERYTHING Apple does. If Apple said that they'd replace your iPHone with a diamond encrusted platinum model with 10 times the reception if you simply send a check for $9.95 to cover shipping and handling, the trolls would be complaining that Apple is discriminating against people without checking accounts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homie View Post

Lighten up Francis.

It is ok to love a phone and still be dissatisfied with a portion of it's performance. It is fair to complain.

But that's the problem. There IS no performance problem. It's a perception problem. Apple's tests (confirmed by Anand) indicate that the iPhone's receptions is excellent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

It's good to have confirmation from Apple, but it isn't like this isn't exactly what Anand reported. The algorithm for the bars display is weighed to show a better signal than actually existed. The first problem of holding it resulting in the dropping of the number of bars being displayed is mainly a visualization problem..while there is a signal drop, it is not as pronounced as the display indicates.

But as Anand also stated, it doesn't change the fact that the actual amount of signal loss is still a problem.:
"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."

At the end of the day, Anand confirmed what Apple said - that the iPhone's reception was better than other phones. Yes, you might be able to improve it a little more by adding a case if you wish, but even without the case, it's well above industry standards. So what's the complaint?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Wow. A software fix for a situation that half the community here said didn't even exist. And I thought you guys knew everything!

Absolutely wrong. Almost all of the people defending Apple said that the dropping bars problem existed but that it didn't affect phone calls. That's exactly what Apple just reported - and which Anand confirmed.

Please stop making things up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmsolem View Post

Nice to have Apple admit an error and a fix, and even a letter!

Now how about;
- The proximity sensor problem on the iPhone. I get this all of the time. My ear dials while I try to talk.
- The repeated wifi password prompting on the iPad.

Proximity sensor is apparently an isolated problem. If enough people have problems, they'll address it.

Password prompting is a router problem. Fix your router.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

They are not admitting the underlying problem. They are attempting to cover it up. This will put them right back on CNN.

They're reporting that their tests indicate that there IS no underlying problem - and the inability of anyone to demonstrate an increased number of dropped calls confirms that.
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post #76 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

This is a sad day for Apple.

26 years ago, Apple threw the hammer at Big Brother.

Now, Apple is Big Brother.

2 + 2 = 5


I really like my new big brother
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post #77 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

But as Anand also stated, it doesn't change the fact that the actual amount of signal loss is still a problem. ..."

Nop, the measurement was calibrated with the bars shown on the iPhone4. The problem is that according to Apple (and I'am sure they are sure) the bars shown where wrong. And there goes your calibration.
Maybe someone should sue Anand for such 'ignorant' measurements and presenting results that are wrong. They should have used the actual signal strength shown in db's on the iPhone but that wasn't possible in the short time frame.

Excellent work of Apple to find the cause of the problem this fast, between a bombardment of confusing and conflicting information. This is really difficult to do.

J.
post #78 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

So, Apple has also admitted that every iPhone (Original, 3G, 3GS, 4) has displayed exagerrated signal strengths. I wonder if this was intentional to cover the inadequate antenna strength in these "thinnist of all cell phones".

What inadequate signal strength are you referring to? Anand's tests (and Apple's tests, although you'll probably ignore those) show that the iPHone 4 has GREATER sensitivity than other phones, not less.
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post #79 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glockman View Post

A software fix to only change the display behavior is a fail.

It does not fix the REAL PROBLEM of DROPPED SIGNAL!

I can reproduce the issue 100% of the time with my phone and it is truly insulting for Apple to refuse to accept this fact even after multiple independent studies.

Even though this isn't the answer that some were hoping for, it is a good first step, and here's why:

After Apple issues this software fix to make the phone accurately report bars or whatever, then either one of two things will happen...

1. This solves all current reception related issues and everyone is happy except trolls and haters.

or

2. It only fixes the cosmetic reporting of signal strength, which makes it more accurate, but does not resolve the actual dropped call issues.

If #2 above is the outcome, then at that point if dropped calls and other actual reception issues are still happening, then they won't be able to blame anything on the software incorrectly reporting the signal strength. They will then have to address it from the point of view of dropped calls and go from there. I know this isn't anyone's first choice, and it's not a speedy solution, but if there is more going on here, then it will force the issue.
post #80 of 434
Quote:
Originally Posted by parksgm View Post

"Stunned"....really?

I find it difficult to believe that a thirty year old computer company responsible for several revolutions in personal computing capable of engineering a state-of-the art network-integrated web browsing, media playing device somehow neglected to check the accuracy of the signal strength formula.

Come on...this doesn't even make sense. This is an egregious error in the most basic functionality of a device that comes from a company so perfectionistic that people were debunking the first authentic pictures of the device because of asthetically unpleasing, millimeter-wide breaks in the side of the case.

AT&T and Apple have been barraged with reception/call quality/signal dropout issues since the release of the first iPhone. I think that one of the first areas to be assessed, and one that would be given _extra_ attention prior to the release of the iPhone 4, would have been whether or not the phone reports signal accurately.

There's a larger issue behind this...


+1
I also thought the letter read strangely and immediately though "stunned" was a poor/uncharacteristic choice coming from Apple.
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