Cupertino, Calif. – Apple (NASD:  AAPL) said on Thursday in an open letter
to iPhone 4 users that it was "stunned" to discover that in fact a
flaw in its formula used to calculate the number of "bars" used to
display the quality of mobile phone reception is the root cause of user reports
of antenna issues with the device. Previously, the company acknowledged that
holding the iPhone 4 in a user’s left hand could also cover up a key spot on
the antenna and affect reception — but said the solution was for users not to hold
the phone that way, or else buy a $30 rubber bumper.

"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," the company writes in the letter.

"Our formula, in many instances,
mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.

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."

said it will be adopting AT&T’s (NYSE:  T) recently recommended formula for
calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength.

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," Apple added.

The company plans to release a
software fix "within a few weeks" that includes the corrected
formula, which will also fix the same issue on iPhone 3GS and 3G models.


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