Skip to comments.Apple's iPhone Mea Culpa: We're 'Totally Wrong'
Posted on 07/02/2010 11:54:40 AM PDT by for-q-clinton
For two weeks, Apple dismissed rumors of a faulty antenna in the new iPhone 4 as nothing more than scuttlebutt. Any phone has these problems, Apple officials said. Buy a case to fix it.
Friday, Apple came clean: The antenna works just fine. But the software that displays signal strenth doesn't. The company has been using a faulty formula to determine signal strength in its phones for years.
"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," Apple said in a letter from two executives posted on its website Friday morning.
The letter went on to explain that there are no problems with the iPhone's antenna -- the only problem is with software that calculates how many bars should be showing. And the software hasn't worked properly since the original iPhone was released three years ago.
(Excerpt) Read more at nbcbayarea.com ...
Tech ping please.
Looks like a new spin on the antenna issues.
Good news for ‘em, though. FAR easier to issue a software update than a firmware re-design.
I’m just amazed at the issues software can cause though. I will be very interested to know how this is a software issue.
I can see software causing dropped calls which the iPhone is notorious for. Which it appears Apple’s buggy software is giving ATT a bad name. Which many people with iPhones will attest that their iPhone drops way more calls then other cell phones. But most just blame ATT because it couldn’t possibly be ATT’s fault.
Josh Kleinbaum is a HATER!!!
PugetSoundSoldier has a pretty good response to this
It appears that what they’re admitting to is having accidentally created an erroneous perception that there is a problem.
In all cell phones, the bars you see are calculated approximations of signal strength over time. The iPhone 4 added quite a bit more complexity to the antenna system in order to get better reception, so probably the bar calculator routine wasn't modified accordingly.
HTC had a "problem" like this a while back. People complained about low bars, but the signal was still good. HTC changed the way the bars were calculated, and customers were happy even though they had the same exact signal they had before.
No, AT&T still sucks, I have a blackberry with AT&T and I get plenty of dropped calls.
I think what has happened is:
a) the iPhone 4 has a more erratic antenna design- better in some situations, worse in others, especially when being held, and
b) this did indeed expose the - always known - bogus signal strength display.
Whomever designed or approved an antenna that could be held or put in a configuration where two antennas could be bridged - OR NOT (i.e. the end antenna situation is highly variable) - should have their engineering degree taken away....
I guess the old “hoping that enough fans and sycophants at tech blogs to cover for us” strategy didn’t quite pan out this time?
Turn it around: AT&T is giving Apple a bad name. AT&T is the reason I have an HTC. I was NOT going to switch to AT&T even to get an iPhone. My whole family is quite happy on Verizon, where the coverage is great, the prices are decent, and I rarely get dropped calls.
I don't like anything about AT&T. You could try to credit them with the wisdom to take a chance and partner with Apple on a groundbreaking way to make a smart phone, one that led to far better smart phones across the board, but even that was Cingular before the AT&T purchase.
I remember that CD-ROM drive. I clipped the fan wires the day I got it.
I had very few drop calls with my iPhone going back to the first month the iPhone was released. this week however, I am dropping probably 80% of my calls, maybe even more than that. I cannot see any other possibility than the new G4 phones are bringing their network to it’s knees.
Do you remember the PowerBook G3? That laptop had an issue where the battery would disconnect itself from the laptop from time to time.
Apple’s fix was to ship the affected customers a foam strip & a tongue depressor to install the foam strip within the battery compartment. The foam would force the battery to stay in position & keep physical contact with the PowerBook G3’s motherboard.
Change how you display the bars all you want, you will not fix the much higher absorption you get when you hold an iPhone 4.
Additionally, this runs counter to the recommendation to hold it differently or use a case, both of which would point strictly at a hardware - not software - problem.
I had Verizon for the last 6 years and always had dropped calls.
I bought the iPhone 4 on opening day and moved to AT&T. I’m expecting dropped calls sometime although haven’t gotten them yet. I figured both companies have dropped calls.
But the phone is awesome. I’m sorry I waited so long to get one. I love everything about it.
Makes you wonder how much else is totally wrong doesn't it? I have to admit I thought the apple letter was a sick joke until I looked at my browser's address bar and it showed apple.com. Can anyone imagine the howls from the media if Microsoft issued a letter like this?
Only someone young enough to believe in Santa Claus would buy this apple tripe, which I've paraphrased here:
1. This happens to all mobile phones when held in the hand, even ours!
2. But we get letters from lots and lots and lots of people that say it doesn't happen to OUR phone.
3.We just discovered the bars have always been wrong for all of our phones all the time (we somehow missed that for years), and we're issuing a software patch that will show lots of bars all the time, no matter what. That will fix the no-bars problem.
Sounds like a lawyer trying out one lame argument after another until some gullible judge bites on one.
I have an iPhone 4. I suspect that Apple has a second problem with how their firmware selects the most appropriate AT&T tower & frequency band to place a call. I’ve had several cases where my iPhone is selecting the weakest AT&T site near my home to place a call. When this happens, the calls drop constantly. Simply restarting the iPhone will force another AT&T site to be used & the calls start working.
BTW, this is happening with the iPhone’s cell antenna facing 4 open windows while sitting on a piece of furniture.
I have the older 3GS and a blackberry (considering the droid x), both exhibit the dropped call syndrome on a regular basis.
However, it also depends on where you live as well, I live in the Chicago area and I expect connectivity to be more stable
I heard on the radio that the problem arose from the requirement that congress made, that the antennae be placed as far away from the face as possible and that many of the other newer phones have the same problem, including NOKIA. Then, yesterday, I read that congress is considering requirement that warning labels be placed on phones, that they might cause cancer.
Then the simple solution is just not to hold the phone while using it....
Biggest piece of BS I have heard in a long time.
Apple is still as full of crap as ever.
Exactly what I think. Sure Apple can mask the antenna issue all they want through software manipulation, but the physical reception of the antenna will remain the same.
And what of all the poor suckers who truly believe this is all merely a problem with the algorythm used to display signal strength bars??
But they said it was always a problem and not a new issue.
“Very interesting. So holding the antenna exposes a bug in the software to show the true signal strength. That is a very odd software bug indeed. I wonder if someone can explain how holding the antenna in a certain way would reveal the true signal strength.”
I think these hidden features are called Easter Eggs... :-)
My HTC Tilt 2 and before that my ATT Fuze NEVER drops calls. I used to drop calls when ATT bought out SUNCOM in my area, but they have long since fixed those issues.
That is actually not correct, but it’s a common “excuse” for Apple. The FCC does not mandate any physical orientation or placement of antennas in cell phones. However, they do have SAR requirements (a measure of radiation output) for the phone at different angles.
Note that ALL OTHER new phones pass without this problem, and many (such as the HTC EVO) have antennas right at the top of the phone. The difference is that these phones also have INTERNAL antennas, not external, so the user cannot touch them and mess up the reception.
So, there aren’t any laws or regulations requiring antenna position at all, and every other manufacturer knows how to pass SAR without using external antennas. This is just Apple trying to get any and all excuses out in the public, to protect their rapidly deteriorating image.
After all, according to Steve Jobs, you just have to hold it differently...;)
Reception is absolutely definitely improved, AnandTech wrote. I felt like I was going places no iPhone had ever gone before. Theres no doubt in my mind this iPhone gets the best cellular reception yet, even though measured signal is lower than the 3GS."The question is reception. Is it good? Your own source says far better than the 3GS despite the chart of relative attenuation. Do you leave that out on purpose?
I can’t answer your question. I still use the first cell phone I bought 11 years ago. However, I DO know that if I hold my mouth a certain way, I can really catch a lot of fish.
Not according to this article. It is actually the iPhone's BUGGY software that is giving ATT a bad name where people are dropping calls with full bars...but in reality they barely even had a bar.
But then again I believe that's wrong because I can change the radio on my phone and go from 2 bars to full bars without moving my phone. The iPhone radio has issues that are giving ATT a bad name.
I love ATT service and I'm in an area dominated by verizon. In fact, it's to the poing now where I joke on my friends and co-workers because they have more areas we go in common and lose signal with Verizon than I do with ATT. They hate it too because they swore verizon is the best in our area.
I suspect you’re right.
I live a hilly area, Hollywood, and call signals and dropped calls are bad with both companies.
Could be that it’s summer. In my area in the past in the summer I always dropped calls (it’s a tourist area) and they didn’t have the tower capacity to handle the summer load.
I'm sure their algorithm was always off, but I bet it got exacerbated by the new antenna design. That it flips around so much looking for the best reception (even if not best signal) has got to be hard to account for in calculating bars. Apple probably doesn't even have the flipping down perfectly either.
"...but in reality they barely even had a bar"
Apple is battling the perception issue, AT&T is battling the capacity issue. If the reality is that there really is only one bar, then AT&T apparently can't deliver the connectivity, is that Apple's fault?
In some cases, the iPhone 4 can have better reception; however, it's proven to drop reception when 3GS phones would not. That's all over the Internet, Youtube videos, etc.
Just try to explain this:
Phone on desk, phone held, phone held in case. Cannot upload when holding the phone. Oops.
Apple - even Steve Jobs - tells you to hold it differently. Oops.
Apple recommends a case to help reception quality. Oops.
Apologists for Apple just won't accept any potential for any problems ever for any Apple product, though. Right fanboi? ;)
I wonder how he knows his reception is better when the software bug on both phones prevent the true signal from being read?
That’s a pretty revealing graphic. The results confirm reception issues. I wonder how the iPhone 3G performs in similar testing. I’ll have to give it a try when I get time.
It’s apple’s fault for not revealing the true nature of the issue. ATT was responsive in my area when I reported areas of dead zones. Within a few months they had a tower up to take care of it. I’m sure others complained as well, but still it takes knowing you’re in a dead zone to report it.
I suspect they are telling ATT I’ve got 4 bars and am dropping calls...so clearly your system is kicking me off. ATT is like WTF our tower isn’t even at capacity so they can’t fix the problem that is being reported.
Wow can’t upload when holding the phone. That means the antenna can’t send a signal to the tower!
I hope Apple doesn’t fix this by just upping the output power. Imagine what that would do to batter life not to mention the unneccesary radiation going into your body.
His post, quoting from his authoritative source. Let him answer that.
You still haven't apologized for saying I refuse to admit when Apple screws-up, and I gave you the post where I had already said this was a "screw-up." You were so ready to accept my apology when you thought I couldn't produce the post (to you no less) to back that up. Now that you have the proof, it's time to man-up.
Putting a smiley doesn't make it any less offensive, just shows you to be even more rude and trollish.
I think what they are saying is that some people are losing signal when they cup the phone, but they have 4 bars and don’t understand why they’d lose signal.
But in fact, with the phone cupped, the bars should be reading 0, because they aren’t getting signal.
I guess if the signal strength indicated that you had killed your signal, you’d use it to figure out how to hold the phone.
But they obviously can’t fix the antenna, and so they are stuck with “training” people to hold the phone “properly”.
Either that, or they are saying that in cases where it drops out because you hold the phone wrong, it’s because your signal was already low to begin with, but you didn’t know that because they were lying to you about how strong your signal was.
In any case, they screwed up the design of the phone, and can’t fix it now.
“But they’re dancin’ fools, so things even out.”
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