Apple has released the promised iOS update designed to improve the way the Judas Phone displays signal strength bars – and fool fanbois into thinking there's no problem with the company's antenna design.
iOS 4.0.1 offers the new formula not only on the Judas Phone, but also on the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 3. According to a letter Apple released last week, the company had been "totally wrong" in the way it displays signal bars.
"Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength," the letter read. "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."
Since the launch of the iPhone 4 in late June, countless buyers have complained of reception problems when the hold the handset's lower left-hand corner, and Apple's letter attempted to lay the blame on its signal bar formula. "We were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them," the letter said.
"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...
"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."
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Apple's senior antenna guru warned Steve Jobs that the Judas Phone antenna design might cause reception problems. According to examinations of the reception issues by third-parties such as Anandtech and Consumer Reports, the problems occur when fanbois grip the device in a way that bridges the gap between the Bluetooth/WiFi/GPS and UMTS/GSM antennas.
"What we're seeing is a combination of your hand bridging the WiFi and UMTS antennas as well as interference caused by your hand covering the most sensitive part of the cellular antenna in the lower left corner of the phone," Anand Shimpi of Anandtech tells us.
Yesterday, Apple released a beta version of iOS 4.1 to developers and this includes new signal bar code as well.
To get the iOS 4.0.1 update, connect your Judas Phone to your Mac or PC and click "Check for Updates" on iTunes' device summary screen. ®