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Apple blames iPhone 4 reception issue on 'totally wrong' software

All you southpaw iPhone 4 users can relax: Apple says it's figured out why its new smartphone seems to lose reception when held left-handed, and it's not a hardware problem.

A note titled "Letter from Apple Regarding iPhone 4" explains that Apple's engineers realized their software didn't correctly display the actual signal strength:

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.

(I couldn't help being amused by the momentary outbreak of Valley Girl-speak: The software wasn't just wrong, but, like, totally wrong! But maybe that's just me showing my age.)

Apple's letter goes on to explain that this bug had left users with a false sense of confidence in their coverage--note how gracefully the Cupertino, Calif., company throws AT&T under the bus here--and that it would correct the iPhone's software to report signal strength more accurately.

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.

This software update should ship "within a few weeks" for the iPhone and the earlier iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G, since this bug apparently affects them too.

But... will it actually fix the problem? One Post colleague noted that even after his iPhone's displayed signal dropped to only one bar when he gripped the phone left-handed, he could still listen to a Pandora Web-radio stream--suggesting that Apple's theory was correct. But another lefty co-worker, who says he's had calls drop and downloads slow because of this problem, called Friday's explanation "absurd."

Reactions elsewhere--based in part on independent tests of iPhone 4 reception--have also been a tad skeptical, if not irate.

I'd like to hear from those of you with iPhone 4s and a habit of left-handed smartphone use: When you've noticed the reported signal strength drop, have you still been able to make calls and go online using AT&T? Or has a drop to one or zero bars of displayed signal been followed by dropped calls or stalled browsing?

(Sick of reading about the iPhone already? I wouldn't mind writing about other topics myself. So I promise you, this is the last post I'll write about the danged thing... well, for this week. You can also try take the conversation in a different direction during my Web chat, from noon to 1 or so today.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  July 2, 2010; 10:18 AM ET
Categories:  Mobile , Telecom  
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Comments

Not only under the bus, Rob. An oncoming train, perhaps. Thank you for saying enough already.

Posted by: docchari | July 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Not only under the bus, Rob. An oncoming train, perhaps. Thank you for saying enough already.

Posted by: docchari | July 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

There have been numerous reports and youtube videos showing that it's not just bars dropping, but calls actually drop. This youtube video from IGM is a perfect example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03PQyWp0mWE

I'm not an Apple hater, but man does this look bad. I guess the proof will be in the software update in a few weeks...

Posted by: jntowers | July 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

What are the chances AT&T requested that Apple use a bar-strength meter that was biased to show 5 bars more than it should?

Posted by: ah___ | July 2, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

There have been tests that show the iPhone 4's speed online being improved by 10 fold when left flat rather than held by it's sides. Apple's statements prove nothing in their case, other than they'd designed their phones to lie about signal strength.

Posted by: moderndayhippie | July 2, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This post incorrectly suggests that the iPhone4 software glitch that exaggerates signal strength is CAUSING calls to dropout.

A careful reading of Apple's statement shows that they are not claiming this error caused the antenna problems.

The misrepresentation of signal strength is a separate problem that is only tangentially related to the antenna issues. Miscalculating the strength of signal only affects the user's perception of the signal strength and is unrelated to the actual signal quality.

What this really means is that Apple & ATT have been lying, intentionally or not, about the quality of the iPhone reception. But everyone who actually uses an iPhone already knows the reception is touchy, because no matter how many bars there are, a dropped call is a dropped call.

Posted by: GatorTime | July 2, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

All my complaints are directed to AT&T- the service, to put it simply, SUCKS!!! I'm getting fed up with dropped calls and lack of coverage. I have an iPhone and a BlackBerry and they both drop calls... "Call Failed" is the text most often displayed on the screen!!!

Posted by: EGGArgost | July 2, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

the unaddressed problem with the formula is that the it uses AT&T's service which means that the formula is still wrong.

Posted by: anti-elitist | July 2, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse


Why do WaPo hacks continue to shill for every Apple product? Some sort of payola going on here?

Posted by: screwjob16 | July 2, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

LOL only Apple could come out with an explanation like this.

And it will truly test the loyalty of Apple fans...but some will swallow it whole. Happily.

It's not that the phone doesn't work when you use it left-handed, it's that the signal is not really as strong as previously-indicated!

Left-handed people just notice this more because they are more likely to use the phone in areas where the signal is weak ;)

Posted by: dubya1938 | July 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

If it's a signal meter issue, why would the kluges which involve taping over the crack in the metal band yield any results? It sure sounds as if the problem is the metal band is being used as a loop antenna and holding it so that your hand crosses the crack shorts the antenna to ground.

Posted by: hackett1 | July 2, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Only Apple could have pulled this off....

Posted by: askgees | July 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I can attest that I had an iphone 4 that not only lost bars when held in that manner, but also lose signal and drop calls. Avery absurd explanation indeed.

Posted by: austin_erik | July 2, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I traveled to the SF area at the beginning of this week and had no problem with dropped calls or reception. But perhaps I was just doing my calling on east coast time and so was using the network when it wasn't congested?

I haven't seen any tests, but my perception is that data downloads faster when I leave the iphone flat, which definitely agrees with what moderndayhippie is claiming. I don't know if it is 10 times as fast, but it is noticable.

Posted by: prokaryote | July 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm an American, I buy stuff that is just out of production and complain about how it does not work. BLah.

Posted by: BMACattack | July 2, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"But another lefty co-worker, who says he's had calls drop and downloads slow because of this problem, called Friday's explanation 'absurd.'"

- - - - -

Isn't everyone at the Washington Post a "lefty"?

Posted by: Swat02 | July 2, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The software MUST be taking some kind of inputs from the hardware for someone's TOUCH to impact the signal meter.

So,reading between the lines, how you touch the phone DOES degrade performance but the software "glitch" makes the degradation look more severe than it actually is (or so they say).

Serendipitously, it's alot cheaper to "fix" the software than to redesign the phone, so they'll play with what "5 bars" really means since the consumer has no objective way to measure their reception themselves.

Posted by: AJohn1 | July 2, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't have anything to do with the way I hold the phone, it's in a case, but I seem to drop calls more often with this one. It's annoying, and all this fix will do is more accurately tell me when I may lose a call. It doesn't solve the underlying problem, which, from what I've read, is the externalized wrap-around antenna.

Posted by: irasciblecurmudgeon | July 2, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I have had the iPhone from day one, and got the I4 and all that, but honestly, how could you tell if it is dropping more calls now than usual? I find the ATT drops out all the time in my apartment, just the way their signal/service is -- have not noticed any additional impact due to the "lefty/antenna" issue at all.

Someone needs to stand up for safe-celling here, lol....I always use the headphones and am "hands free" so don't have the antenna issue actually at all...it's the ATT service that sucks sometimes!!

Posted by: jeffcoud2 | July 2, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I've heard that a lawsuit has been filed (east coast somewhere) against Apple about this issue. It will be interesting if during discovery that it is found that AT&T requested Apple to use the "incorrect" formula to give the impression that their network was better than it really is; far more interesting than the actual signal problem that has revealed the "incorrect" formula.

Mr. Jobs. Enough already. Make nice with Verizon so we can have a decent network--please. Yeah Apple isn't going to make as much money with a Verizon deal; because Verizon is actually spending a ton on making their network very good. Get it?

Posted by: sesingh | July 2, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

How about hearing from iPhone 3GS owners?....have multiple phones in family using AT&T service...iPhone drops calls and has lousey voice quality when other phones do not.....you have failed to adequately cover problems in existing iPhones....you and the Apple Baig Boy from USAToday....

Posted by: josephfranklyn | July 2, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

How about hearing from iPhone 3GS owners?....have multiple phones in family using AT&T service...iPhone drops calls and has lousey voice quality when other phones do not.....you have failed to adequately cover problems in existing iPhones....you and the Apple Baig Boy from USAToday....

Posted by: josephfranklyn | July 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if any reader/commenter here has an iPhone 3G AND a 4G, but it'd be interesting to put the two devices side-by side on a table (heaven forbid that you'd actually need to HOLD the devices in your hand!) and see if the signal bars show the same reception strength.

Then (seriously) hold the two devices in your hand and see what happens to the signal bars that way. Any signal differences under just these two, informal settings would be interesting, not to say worthy, of analysis...

Also, I tend to agree with some of the other commenters above, regarding the (suspect) objectivity of Pegoraro, Pogue, and even Mossberg, and their articles on Apple products. They tend to come across as fawning, gee-whiz pieces rather than arm's length reports that take Apple to task.

In fact, as many disappointed, if not disillusioned, Apple customers know, Apple cares only about selling products (I wonder now, about the numbers they claim). In contrast, Apple cares not one whit about customer service or satisfaction, as witness their churlish, mendacious, cheap, and offensive treatment of folks who've had the impertinence to actually complain about the 4G.

When will one of these reviewers call out Apple for what it is, purveyors shiny, unreliable baubles that's willing to throw not just AT&T under the bus, but its customers as well?

Posted by: Tambopaxi | July 2, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if any reader/commenter here has an iPhone 3G AND a 4G, but it'd be interesting to put the two devices side-by side on a table (heaven forbid that you'd actually need to HOLD the devices in your hand!) and see if the signal bars show the same reception strength.

Then (seriously) hold the two devices in your hand and see what happens to the signal bars that way. Any signal differences under just these two, informal settings would be interesting, not to say worthy, of analysis...

Also, I tend to agree with some of the other commenters above, regarding the (suspect) objectivity of Pegoraro, Pogue, and even Mossberg, and their articles on Apple products. They tend to come across as fawning, gee-whiz pieces rather than arm's length reports that take Apple to task.

In fact, as many disappointed, if not disillusioned, Apple customers know, Apple cares only about selling products (I wonder now, about the numbers they claim). In contrast, Apple cares not one whit about customer service or satisfaction, as witness their churlish, mendacious, cheap, and offensive treatment of folks who've had the impertinence to actually complain about the 4G.

When will one of these reviewers call out Apple for what it is, purveyors shiny, unreliable baubles that's willing to throw not just AT&T under the bus, but its customers as well?

Posted by: Tambopaxi | July 2, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Minor point...don't Lefties hold phones with their right hand?

Posted by: mytheta | July 2, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

There are several groups that have already torn the iPhone4 apart. They should be able to tell if the two metal bands are being used as the antenna or not. Any answers, guys?

Posted by: Ex-Fed | July 2, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with many here that Apple's explanation is rather silly and amusing. As a 3G owner, the bottom line is that AT&T has done nothing over the two years I've been their customer to improve the quality and reach of their service in my city of 1 million people. iPhone cannot long remained chained exclusively to this inferior provider.

Posted by: abqcleve | July 2, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Shhhhh! Rob, be quiet or the Apple cult will get you! Phone calls on a phone? How ... how ... retro of you, grandpa.

Posted by: MagicDog1 | July 2, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm an iPhone fan, but the tech media have given Apple way too much benefit of the doubt. Like the whole "AT&T Network is terrible" thing -- is it possible that AT&T's network is actually okay and the fault lies with iPhone? The iPhone falsely reports bars, so people blame AT&T for dropped calls? Or the iPhone does a poor job of maintaining connection? One of the key advantages of the AT&T exclusivity has been that Apple could blame all the phone's problems on their partner -- and AT&T is making too much money to object.

Posted by: tboyer33 | July 2, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Customers pay for the two top bars.
Non-customers get squat.

Relax, it's not a phone, it's The Senate.

Posted by: gannon_dick | July 2, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The IOS4 update seems to have broken WiFi reception and/or capabilities for the iPod Touch 2G.

It seemed to work fine at home, but when I went to the library, my iPod Touch 2G running iOS4 would see the library WiFi network but be unable to connect to it. This is the same network that my iPod Touch 2G connected to flawlessly with the previous firmware version.

There's a thread on the Apple support site that discusses this. The idea from one of the posts that resetting the network setting didn't do a thing to resolve the issue -- it just lost all of my WiFi setting.

http://discussions.info.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2473600&tstart=30&start=15

Thankfully, this is only an issue at the library and not at home, but I hope that they fix it soon.

Posted by: Annorax | July 2, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm an iPhone fan, but the tech media have given Apple way too much benefit of the doubt. Like the whole "AT&T Network is terrible" thing -- is it possible that AT&T's network is actually okay and the fault lies with iPhone? The iPhone falsely reports bars, so people blame AT&T for dropped calls? Or the iPhone does a poor job of maintaining connection? One of the key advantages of the AT&T exclusivity has been that Apple could blame all the phone's problems on their partner -- and AT&T is making too much money to object.

Posted by: tboyer33 | July 2, 2010 2:49 PM
***********************

Fair enough. Here's what I can fault AT&T for that is squarely in their court.

* Service area: Most of my city--the tech hub of Albuquerque--has adequate 3G coverage; but get anywhere near the city limits and you're on Edge. Travel up to the state capital, Santa Fe, a city of 70,000, but one of the wealthiest cities in the US, and the whole city is still Edge. Every other service provider has upgraded Santa Fe to 3G except AT&T.

* Increased frequency of dropped calls during obviously busy times, like commute hours.

Posted by: abqcleve | July 2, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The iPhone is a nice prototype, but I'm going to wait for a real handset maker to get it right. Apple is a slick package with nothing inside.

Posted by: MagicDog1 | July 2, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

This is bull. Has nothing to do with how the software displays the bars or false sense of security. I have had all the IPhones from day 1 and I have never had as many dropped calls or inability to make or receive call since I bought the IPhone 4.

Posted by: leonardosfo | July 2, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

This is wild! I believe that in the old X files show they called this obfuscation, sort of like what a magician does when tricking you into looking at the right hand when the deception is going on with the left hand. I cannot for the life of me imagine how this announcement has anything whatever to do with the antenna problem. If I understand it correctly Apple is now admitting that all those test reports and reviews that showed that the Iphone 4 got more bars in more places were simply wrong, but what does this have to do with lost connections when holding the phone in the left hand? The antenna problem is completely unrelated to the software glitch that caused the phone to display an overy optimistic signal strength, as far as I can tell.

So what we now know is that Apple still won't take responsibility for the antenna problem, but they are willing to admit that all the reports of better reception with the Iphone 4 were incorrect, and simply a function of a signal strength display that lied about the reception. Well I guess that makes me feel a whole lot better about the Iphone 4.

Posted by: bjuhasz | July 2, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Its times like these that I love my android. Good job acting like noobs apple. Your fanboys are scrambling to make excuses now.

Posted by: tattoosrock657 | July 2, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Figures don't lie, but liars figure. Guess this is one way to deal with the problem. So lets see now, to get full bars you need to stand 2 feet in front of the cell tower antenna? Is that right?

Posted by: COFLZephyr | July 2, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Somehow this doesn't explain why my iPhone 4 gets no bars and no service when my other iPhone has 3 bars in the same location.

It doesn't matter if I hold it in my right or left hand... as long as I complete a connection between the bluetooth and cell antenna sides I get the disruption.

Gee... learned that about antennas when I figured out I could touch my radio antenna and the metal frame on my bed to pick up better AM radio signals... I was 8.

Posted by: TotalCreation | July 2, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

what a load of horse****.

So what I'm hearing is that a software fix is supposed to prevent the iPhone from losing ALL 5 bars when held improperly? (yes, I've tested it and within 20-30 seconds, can make the entire signal drop completely to no bars).

No signal is no signal folks. It's this tiny little thing called physics, laws of nature, etc. This is yet more arrogant "we make no mistakes" crap from Apple. But you know what, I shouldn't be surprised...afterall....it's Apple...

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Apple hater. I own a mac-mini, powerbook pro, 2x 24"Cinema Displays, and an iPhone 3GS...however, I am not a slave nor blind to any company outright taking advantage of the consumer market and treating them like they are complete idiots.

Posted by: holografique | July 2, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone besides me think to wait for the 2nd version of iphone4 to hit the streets before buying one? I never buy a first-run product. they always come with glitches. They'll eventually get around to fixing it and make the necessary excuses, nothing to get your panties in a bunch about. :D

Posted by: guillone | July 2, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

mytheta asks if lefties don't hold the phone in the right hand. I would have thought so. I'm an old fossil. I've been using phones for a long, long time and although I'm definitely right-handed, it never occurred to me to hold the phone with anything except the left hand. It may be a generational thing. Nearly all the younger folk I see these days hold the phone in the right hand and probably 90% of them are right-handed. They also seem, for some reason that makes no sense to me, to wear a watch (if they have one at all) on the right wrist. Both practices seem backwards to me but it must seem natural to them.

Posted by: mcrouse1934 | July 2, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

mytheta asks if lefties don't hold the phone in the right hand. I would have thought so. I'm an old fossil. I've been using phones for a long, long time and although I'm definitely right-handed, it never occurred to me to hold the phone with anything except the left hand. It may be a generational thing. Nearly all the younger folk I see these days hold the phone in the right hand and probably 90% of them are right-handed. They also seem, for some reason that makes no sense to me, to wear a watch (if they have one at all) on the right wrist. Both practices seem backwards to me but it must seem natural to them.

Posted by: mcrouse1934 | July 2, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Your colleague cannot rely on Pandora streaming web-radio app to determine reception quality or signal strength. Pandora just as other music streaming app downloads as much music data into buffer enough to play without having to rely on a constant reception signal. That's why you can continue to still listen to Pandora music for a good duration with any smartphone even though you've been driving inside a tunnel under conditions with no reception.

Apple admits to rigging the signal display bars on the iPhone 4 while AandDtech's true signal analysis proves that iPhone 3Gs is almost 10 times better than the iPhone 4 while holding it with your bare hand normally. iPhone's reception woes have now become a software AND hardware issue.


Posted by: washinfo | July 2, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's a news flash......left handed people hold their phones in their right hands. I am left handed and I hold my phone with my right hand and use my left hand to punch in the numbers, scroll, type and all the other things that would be difficult with my right hand. Since I'm holding the phone in my right hand and punching the numbers with my left it just makes sense to put the phone to my ear with my right hand. I would be stupid to hold the phone in my right hand, punch the numbers with my left hand and then switch the phone to my left hand to put it to my ear. Much the same way a lefty wears their watch on their right wrist and a righty wears their watch on their left wrist.

Posted by: ToxicKitty | July 2, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

So someone with diminished hearing in their right ear caused by repeatedly firing a rifle in the service of their country would be forced to use the new iPhone held to the left ear - presumably held in their left hand. The same goes for every partially deaf person with a right ear problem.

That's a seriously large demographic Apple.

Are you really telling us all to go Droid?

Posted by: Cataplasm | July 2, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed by Apple's response. I just took my 4 back to AT and T. Good riddance. Dropped more than three fourths of all calls. Found myself saying "Can you hear me?" or "are you still there?" for every call. Went back to my 3g and ironically, have not dropped one call. You only have 30 days to take your phones back...if they don't come up with a real fix before that time- I would have been stuck with an expensive paperweight. Did not want to take a chance that Apple continues to come up with excuses that do not make sense to anyone who has a 4.

Posted by: christine15 | July 2, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I am so happy!

Speaking as a devoted Android Fanboi, I hope a million prospective iPhone 4 buyers listen to all the Apple hater hype, and hold off purchasing their next smart phone until Motorola, or one of the other fine Google partners, have had time to study the new iPhone, copy as many of its new outstanding features as they can, and bring a new phone to market that will surely be better than the new iPhone 4. (Come on guys, it's about time!)

I know I speak for all freedom loving people when I say the fact they sold two million iPhone 4's in the first two weeks of its release gave me the willies!

Not even the reality that they won't allow porn apps on the iPhone had slowed them down until now!

Posted by: TimMcCoy | July 2, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Less than 10% of the world's population is left-handed. And, most left- handed iPhone 4 owners are not reporting a problem. Clearly, exaggeration is occurring.

Posted by: query0 | July 2, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I purchased an unlocked Nokia E63 smartphone when I switched to AT&T prepaid and used the sim from previous Nokia phone. I rarely ever had problems with dropped calls with either phone until I was in New York city this May and tried to call a friend who has an iPhone 3G. I couldn't talk more than 30 seconds until I was dropped. Other than that, no problems with AT&T except for where they haven't built cell towers. I suspect the phone plays a major part in your quality of service in addition to your cell carrier.

When I was with Verizon, I didn't have a good signal at the office. When I dumped Verizon and tried Sprint, barely had service in my house although their website stated a cell tower was just over the hill. AT&T - have good reception at both so it works for me. And I don't use data since there are wifi spots everywhere.

Posted by: Al_G | July 2, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

If you want a phone that works well by a Nokia.

Posted by: kiparramax | July 2, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I sort of go along with GatorTime. I think your example of your colleague is backwards, maybe -- if his phone is now reading two bars high, when he has one bar, he should really be having zero bars, and in every phone I have had it stops working.

But, GatorTime nails the core issue. This is separate from the antenna problem. It is kind of a BS move, and a lot of tech publications are eating this up as the solution to the antenna problem -- it is UNRELATED.

I do think the antenna problem will be fixed with a modification of an insulating tape across that gap -- no problemo.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | July 2, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Apple's explanation doesn't make any sense. If holding it in a certain way causes the bars to drop, and they change the software so that, for example, you only get two bars instead of four for a given signal, won't holding it still cause the bars to drop from two to some lower number?

Posted by: davidjmichael | July 2, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Well they better have it straightened out by Jan 2011, or else Verizon is gonna be pissed!

Posted by: ozpunk | July 2, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I love Apple and have gotten every iPhone but spare me and everyone with a brain

Reception issues have been around every iPhone and being on AT&T's crap servers don't help

It is the only downfall and everyone knows it so don't treat us like idiots by being shocked at this

Posted by: Bious | July 3, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Like Apple just "discovered" this software issue.
BS.
They're admitting it now because of the iPhone 4 revolt because they need an excuse.
The iPhone is a good phone but there are a lot of good phones that do multitasking (Palm Pre) and apps (Android) than the iPhone.
If I was Sprint or VZW, I'd be running ads showing Evos and Droid Xs going head to head with iPhones, kicking their butts on dropped calls.

Posted by: patchss | July 3, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

You are all totally wrong!!!!!
It IS a harware problem!!!!
It is a production mistake!!!!

The famous bars were supposed to be painted on the display, thereby proving, once more, that Apple products cannot and will not ever fail to perform in accordance to Steve's parole....

Posted by: gpernot | July 5, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It's hilarious to me how people commenting don't even have an iPhone 4. I could say "my friend has a unicorn", and you would be an idiot to believe me.
That said, I preordered the i4 along with about 5 of my friends. I had some glitchy stuff the 1st day, but that was resolved by doing a reset of my settings. Same with 2 of my friends. Since then, not any dropped calls or any other problem. In fact, 1 friend couldn't make calls from his home, but with the i4, he comes in clear. So everyone relax. If you don;t like the phone, please take it back. More bandwidth for me...

Posted by: ribe04 | July 5, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't have an iPhone and want one badly but unfortunately I live in an area of the East Coast that Verizon owns. I have a blackberr (which I absolutely hate) and despite Verizon owning the market I still get my share of dropped calls. I think dropped calls is the norm in most places though it sure would be nice to chunk this crappy Blackberry and pick-up an iPhone. It may have a few bugs with the most recent release but it seems to me that the positives may outweigh the negatives?

Posted by: sherlockzie1 | July 5, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I just read one of the comments from Tambopaxi questioning the
"objectivity of Pegoraro, Pogue, and even Mossberg, and their articles on Apple products. They tend to come across as fawning, gee-whiz pieces rather than arm's length reports that take Apple to task."

This is silly. First of all, I've read all three of them being critical of Apple. Rob is actually questioning if Apple is telling the truth and wants people to chime in on it. And Rob seems to hate having to cover yet another Apple story (and apologizes in the article). So saying that Rob (and others like Pogue and Mossberg) are fanboys who fawn over Apple is way off base. I have been surprised by how critical Rob has been of Apple (especially when it comes to app approvals - though I think he is right there). Yes, there are a lot of fanboys out there among the media, as there are in the general public because in general, Apple makes some nice products, but Rob doesn't seem biased to me at all. And to say Apple's customer service is terrible is absurd as well since it continually is ranked as one of the best by independent rankings. So either those surveys are biased or you are. While I've been unhappy sometimes with Apple's service and products, most of the time they do a fine job for me. We're dealing with bleeping computers, after all, and computers generally suck.

I think there will be more and more critical articles about Apple and it's products now that it's no longer seen as the underdog. People love to hear about the underdog winning until they actually win, they love to hear about the mighty falling.

So all you Apple haters will get some long-awaited Apple bashing from the media eventually. Be patient. It will come. "Vengeance is a dish that should be eaten cold."

Posted by: Sullyville | July 5, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Humm.... I get dropped calls and I'm not sure that the display of bars is what's causing the dropped calls. A friend who has AT&T and a Samsung phone has the same problems with dropped calls - well, more accurately "call failed." I am convinced it is not an iPhone issue - it's an AT&T issue. I will be standing in line at Verizon the day the iPhone is available from Verizon.

My suggestion: solve the problems by opening up cell phones (unlock) so they can be used on any carrier. This is what is done in most other countries - you buy a phone and then can choose a carrier (whoever has the better service or deal). No contracts, no "early termination fees" etc. Consumers should be able to vote with their dollars as to the carrier. Bad, poor, spotty reception? Cancel your monthly payment with X and go with Y.

I'm always amazed at how the blame goes to the manufacturer of the product and not the cell network.

Thank you Steve Jobs for getting all of us out from under AT&T. I'm sure that it was the right decision at the time to have a large carrier - but AT&T hasn't stepped up to improve their network in areas that need better service or more capacity.

Posted by: justino1 | July 6, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Don't lefties hold the phone in their right hand and righties hold the phone in their left hand (using the major hand to manipulate the screen). I found holding my iPhone in the air in my right hand with fingers only touching the upper right edge and lower right edge of the phone to enhance the number of bars displayed. I tried not touching the phone at all and it fell to the ground. This method has not been tested in water.

Posted by: rmostell | July 6, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I am a Righty and ALWAYS hold my phone in my left hand. I never had dropped calls with my 3G iPhone, but did with my new iPhone 4 whenever I covered the space on the left separating the two sides of the antenna, which, I assume SHORTS OUT THE ANTENNA. This is the obvious problem, to me, NOT the bars, which work fine.
Also, you cannot use your old 3G/S cases. When I use my iPhone in a new silicone case, it works just fine, and the proximity sensor is no longer turning on the speaker and shutting down the phone. These are glitches - and are fixable. Apple still has the best service. I use two MacPros and and an iPhone because of the phone support and the stores (genius bars). I switched from Windows to Apple 4 years ago, because now I feel that I have my own IT department. Thank Apple.

Posted by: consultingdoc | July 7, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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