iPhone 4 Signal Problems Wont be Fixed by Official Update

Last week, Apple [AAPL] responded to the iPhone 4 signal/antenna problems. Their response kind of skirted around the real issue in that a problem was identified, but not the problem we were thinking of.

Apple basically said that the 5 signal bars that represent signal strength were being shown incorrectly. When signal was low the meter was still showing a good signal or maybe 3 or 4 bars when in fact, it should be just 1 bar showing. This error in calculation was due to the formula being used where the signal strength had smaller gaps on the higher bars (ie, a slight drop in signal could lose all bars).

What the fix will do is correctly represent the actual signal in bars with linear spacing between each bar. If your signal is low it will show 1 bar rather than the 3 or 4 bars you see now in low signal areas.

So what this means is that your iPhone 4 will work exactly the same as it has done. If you lose signal now by gripping it in the lower left corner, then you’ll still lose signal after the update. You’ll be just better informed of actual signal strength in your area and will be able to better predict when your signal will die.

This means that the only way to prevent this happening is to get a bumper case or some sort of other case that prevents you from bridging the two antennae together.

When our iPhone 4 review goes live we’ll include some test results for antennae in various locations around town where I know signal is top notch and where signal is borderline dead. Also I’ll run some comparisons with other smartphones and mobile phones to see if any others are effected by a “death grip”.

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