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Apple denies iPhone 4 antenna glitch, blames inaccurate signal bars

Bad sums not bad thumbs

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Apple has denied that its recently released iPhone 4 has any problems with the antenna, as reported by many disgruntled customers of the company’s latest device.

Instead the Jobisan outfit has coughed to a glitch with the way the bars are displayed on the phone.

Apple said it would spin out a software fix in the next few weeks.

“We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it’s both simple and surprising,” explained Apple in a “letter” on its website.

The Cupertino-based company goes on to admit it was gobsmacked by the discovery:

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.

Apple said it would release a software update - incorporating the corrected formula - in the next few weeks. It said the technical cock-up was also present in the firm’s previous iPhone incarnations (3GS and 3G), and so a fix will also be provided for those devices too. ®

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