Apple released a letter this morning explaining its infamous iPhone 4 reception issues. I encourage you to read it and then come back. The letter is so bizarre to me I thought at first it was joke or a hoax like Steve Jobs' "Relax, It's a Only a Phone email." I clicked the Home page to make sure, I was actually on the Apple web site. As far as I can tell, this is really their explanation. In the words of Seth and Amy on SNL news: Really Apple?! This is a serious "Really!?!" moment because if this is the best they can come up with, it's a joke.
Don't Squeeze that Phone
First of all, Apple tells us that when you squeeze any phone too tightly, you lose reception. Really Apple?! I honestly hadn't noticed that, ever, and I'm guessing you are going to have a really hard time convincing the phone buying public that phone squeezing is really a universal problem.
It's The Formula, Doncha Know
So there's the squeezing issue of course because we are all acutely aware of the famous phone squeezing-signal issue. (Isn't there a Wikipedia entry about it?) But there's more. Oh, yes. It gets better. An explanation that Apple calls "both simple and surprising." I guess that's one of looking at it.
It seems that Apple has been using the wrong "formula" to calculate the number of bars we are seeing on the iPhone, so if you're seeing 4, you might only have 2. I think it's best at this point to leave it to Apple to explain this convoluted idea. They write (they really wrote this; I'm not kidding):
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.
Oh, so the bars were never there - and you were stunned to find it was wrong. I get it. You're totally off the hook then.
Is That Supposed to Make us Feel Better?
If the bars were never there, isn't that in itself a HUGE problem? We are being told by Apple and AT&T that we have a good signal, only we don't. That's supposed to make us feel better? Really Apple?! Really?! So to fix the issue, they will be issuing a "software update" in a few weeks with the "correct formula."
This could be one of the lamest public pronouncements I've ever seen. That it came from Apple, rather than Microsoft is really shocking. They are going to have to do a heck of a lot better than this if they want smooth things over because this explanation needs work. Really.