Apple hadn’t officially talked about the iPhone antenna issue until today. Steve Jobs had had a few email exchanges with angry customer, but the company’s position on the matter hadn’t been made official, until this open letter was published on Apple’s website this morning.
While I read this open letter for the first time, I couldn’t help thinking an intern had written it. It’s indeed poorly written and gives an explanation of the issue that is barely believable:
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.
Dude, the formula was “totally wrong”! That sure sounds like some surf bro from the North Shore typed this is. Besides, Apple seemed to have the formula totally right in the past, so why this sudden change?
The rest of the open letter reads:
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.
So let me decipher this for you. Apple is going to release a software update that will display the accurate number of bars on your iPhone. You might have never had any issue with the old iPhones (3GS, 3G amd 2G), but now, you will have even less problems.
When you do performance tests after the update, results will be the same, but at least your iPhone will display the correct amount of bars.
Like I foresaw last week, Apple will not fix the antenna issue, it will just hide it with a software update.