Apple claims that iPhone software update will fix antenna issues

electrical towers and power lines

Apple promises that an iPhone software update is the solution to the iPhone death grip antenna reception issue, but not everyone is buying it. Flickr photo.

The Apple iPhone 4 antenna reception drama continued Friday. The company announced that the iPhone 4 antenna issue will be remedied with an iPhone software update. Apparently there’s no reception problem at all, according to Apple. Defective software resulted in an inaccurate representation of signal strength. The screen shows too many bars in areas with weak reception. Since the reception is weak to begin with, gripping the phone by its lower right side further obscures the signal. Not everyone is buying it.

iPhone software update — with a catch

A media firestorm ensued when complaints multiplied from iPhone 4 owners devastated that their ultimate gadget lost reception when held a certain way, which became known as the “death grip.” Apple dismissed the complaints at first. Then the Apple/AT&T class action lawsuits started rolling in. CNN reports that now Apple officially admits that the iPhone 4 antenna issue exists. The company promises an iPhone software update in a couple of weeks will help — but there’s a catch. Even though signal strength may be more accurately represented, it won’t do anything about the reception issues that outraged iPhone 4 users are suffering through now.

Apple wants to sell iPhone covers

At first, Apple issued a formal statement saying $30 protective bumpers can lessen the reception issue. The problem occurs when a user’s bare skin bridges the two antennas embedded in the edge of the phone. But there are other iPhone covers available that cost much less. Ign.com said that for $14.95, a product called GelaSkins are effective in preventing the iPhone 4 death grip issue. But Engadget reports that the yellow Lance Armstrong Livestrong rubber bracelet works just as well, and it’s only a buck.

Apple throws AT&T under the bus

A note on Apple’s website details the company’s official position on the iPhone 4 death grip issue. Rob Pegoraro at The Washington Post reports that Apple “gracefully throws AT&T under the bus,” insisting that the iPhone 4 antenna reception issue isn’t a hardware problem.” Upon investigation, Apple said, the company was stunned to find that AT&T’s formula to calculate how bars displayed signal strength is “totally wrong.” The iPhone software update also applies to the earlier iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G. Apparently the AT&T bug affects them too, although none of those iPhone owners hired lawyers to file lawsuits about it.

Tests question wisdom of iPhone software update

Some don’t agree with Apple’s explanation of the iPhone 4 death grip problem or its solution. Apple Insider reports that a New York business owner said just touching the bottom left of the phone would cause a call to drop within 10 seconds, in plain view of the cell tower. The same article said a barrage of tests found that the iPhone 4 gets the best reception of any iPhone. However, the tests also determined that cupping the iPhone 4 tightly can result in a loss of 24.6 dB of signal. The tests also definitely proved that the iPhone cover lessened the effects of the iPhone 4 death grip.

Apple iPhone software update or Applie iPhone bumper? Stay tuned …

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