Apple Promises iPhone 4 Reception Fix; Well, Not Really

Folks who’ve been griping about signal problems with the iPhone 4 might be thrilled to know Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is planning a software fix in the next few weeks. But don’t get too excited: it’s not meant to actually fix anything but the way signal strength is displayed. Turns out infallible Apple has made a big mistake. We’ll let the company explain via a Friday morning letter that almost could have been authored by The Onion:

“… 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. At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

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. 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