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  1. #1
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    Default Open letter from Apple regarding iPhone 4 antenna / reception problem


    Dear 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.
    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ixIHyEPO5g[/youtube]
    <a href="http://dailyiphoneblog.com/2010/07/02/open-letter-from-apple-regarding-iphone-4-antenna-reception-problem/">

    [Read the original blog post]
    </a>
    testing

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Open letter from Apple regarding iPhone 4 antenna / reception problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Phat^Trance
    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.
    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.
    wait wait wait... You got better signal with iphone 4, when the signal it was showing was unreal?

    And you blame it on the user - "you're in an area with very weak signal strength". I wouldn't be surprised when Apple would tell the users to buy their own signal mast to their yard or something like that

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Open letter from Apple regarding iPhone 4 antenna / reception problem

    An in-depth analysis by Anandtech contributors Brian Klug & Anand Lal Shimpi suggests a very clear explanation of the iPhone 4 reception issue. Though iPhone 4's reception PROCESSING capabilities were observed to be an improvement over its predecessors, the authors propose that its antenna system is more susceptible to interference, specifically the 2G/3G portion. This analysis was able to use the iPhone's Field Test software...which the authors explain in more detail because it had to be ingeniously reproduced using some known tricks with iTunes and updates. I did find it most interesting that Apple chose to remove the Field Test software with the IOS 4 update, given timing juxtaposed to the launch of iPhone 4. This software provides useful information such as numerical signal strengths and signal to noise ratios. In essence, the Field Test program makes the graphical bar program error, mentioned in Apple's open letter, a moot point.

    I do agree with Anandtech's interim conclusion...the only way to really prevent the specific interference, caused by conductively bringing the gap within the iPhone 4's external antenna system, is to insulate near the gap with:
    a) a suitable coating
    b) a rubber/silicone/plastic bumper and or case

    IMO.


 

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