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  • Apple: No Death Grip, Bars Displayed Wrong


    Apple is finally acknowledging the Death Grip, but saying it's - in effect - an optical illusion: a bug in how the software displays signal-strength bars on the screen. In a "Letter From Apple" posted on their website this morning, the manufacturer claims that the iPhone 4 "mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should" and that people who see drops of 4 or more bars must just be in a weak signal area. Though Apple says a software fix will be forthcoming in "a few weeks," it will only incorporate a formula recommended by AT&T for calculating bars while "[t]he real signal strength remains the same."

    After a week during which Apple steadfastly denied the very existence of the so-called Death Grip, today's "Letter" is the first admission from the company 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." The letter goes on to say that "[a]t 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" (as if this is somehow in contradiction to the prior statement), and asks rhetorically "What can explain all of this?" The answer, Apple says, is software, claiming that they were "stunned" to find that the formula that calculates bars is "totally wrong," that it causes the iPhone 4 to "display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars," and concludes that people who report reception problems "most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don't know it… their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place."

    This response stinks in a number of ways. In the first place, the so-called "formula" is no more than a mapping of signal strength readings to bars. Anandtech noticed in their testing earlier this week that the fifth bar has an absurdly broad range, from -91 dBm up to -51 dBm, so that you can lose as much as 40 dBm and still show five bars. So that may be the "formula" they are talking about changing, but what about people (including this writer) who have noticed real loss of sound quality and dropped calls due to the Death Grip? What about Anandtech's testing showing an average 20 dBm drop in signal? Apple is silent on these points.

    Perhaps they are hoping the complaints go away when people see more bars (and bigger ones - the first three will apparently be taller) on their screen. Or perhaps there's another fix in this software rev that they're not talking about. After all, why should it take "a few weeks" to implement and test a change to one formula? There seems to be a lot we're not being told here, but we'll most likely have to wait for the update to find out what.

    Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple: No Death Grip, Bars Displayed Wrong started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 229 Comments
    1. BSmith's Avatar
      BSmith -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      ^^If you believe in switching to Verizon, can this be a screw you AT&T and good by from Apple? Accentuate the bad reception with the fare well phone, then go to a new network with another phone and say "there is no problem with our phone it was the network!" Have people buy the phone all over again, get them to switch network so they can earn extra bucks. I would not put past Steve Jobs and Apple for trying something like this.
      I don't think they'll go exclusive with Verizon, it'd be stupid to. ATT is still one heckuva player in the market regardless of Verizon having (much) more coverage especially in the 3G end of it. Alienating them out of the picture wouldn't be the best thing. They could leave it to the consumer to figure out through Engadget, Gizmodo, CNN, Modmyi, that service is better on the Verizon version in effect saying screw you to ATT.

      Having said that, I wouldn't put it past Jobs to say "Hey man, I'm dying anyways. Screw you ATT." Heck, even without him having cancer I wouldn't put it past him. LOL It wouldn't be the only time Jobs has made stupid mistakes with Apple.
    1. nate55's Avatar
      nate55 -
      Bullllllllllshhhhhhittttttttttt. My iPhone 4 doesn't display bars it's displays decibels due to restoring from a jailbroken backup (option in sbsettings) and when i assume the death grip I lose around 20 decibels if not more. Currently I go from -79 to -101 which is basically no service. Fk Apple and their lies. The reason this is taking 3 weeks is to run out the 30 day return policy. I hope Jobs burns in hell
    1. LanCo Rider's Avatar
      LanCo Rider -
      Just get a f*ckin case and stop ********!
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      ^^This is design problem, why should anyone buy a case to fix a design problem. If you don't like the complaints, then go to another thread why post a comment? How about this, why don't you complain to Apple give everyone who bought an iPhone 4 a free case so you can stop reading about this problem?
    1. LanCo Rider's Avatar
      LanCo Rider -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      ^^This is design problem, why should anyone buy a case to fix a design problem. If you don't like the complaints, then go to another thread why post a comment? How about this, why don't you complain to Apple give everyone who bought an iPhone 4 a free case so you can stop reading about this problem?

      Why would anyone buy a $400 phone and not want to spend an extra $30 on a case?

      Not my responsibility to get ahold of Apple about it. I don't have any problems with mine!
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      because you expect it to work from the box when you pay that much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1. Evilsaint's Avatar
      Evilsaint -
      My only question is how will a software fix fix
      A problem called by a physical action ? Some one deathgrip Steve
    1. LanCo Rider's Avatar
      LanCo Rider -
      I think that the Apple fanboy reputations are correct. All I see in here is a bunch of whiny cry babies.


    1. tigerjack1981's Avatar
      tigerjack1981 -
      i just jailbroke my iphone 3g using spirit.I downloaded a couple of apps but now my phone won't let cydia open up.Is there anyway to fix this