Apple Computer, Inc. will be holding a press conference today at 1 PM EDT/10 AM PDT, presumably to address mounting criticism regarding its latest iteration of the wildly popular iPhone mobile device. Since the release of the iPhone 4 in late June this year, the reputation of Apple's sensational smartphone has been tempered with louder-than-usual clamor. Supply issues, the ongoing exclusivity agreement with AT&T (along with the carrier's 3G network problems), shattering glass and proximity sensor issues have all been concerns vocalized by the iOS user community. The most strident calls, however, have been raised over the smartly named "death grip" that seems to cause major signal attenuation when a certain portion of the stainless steel antenna that wraps around the iPhone 4 is touched.

Anand Lal Shimpi, founder of the popular technology site AnandTech, has been covering the death grip issue from almost day one. Shimpi is known for his in-depth and highly scientific analysis of popular consumer technology. In an attempt to provide a comprehensive review of the iPhone, Shimpi's generally favorable review of the device was transposed noticeably by the matter of the iPhone's antenna problems. Apple's response to this type of criticism has been nothing short of baffling. Apple CEO Steve Jobs replying to customer's e-mails, responding that they were holding it wrong, customer service suggesting the purchase of a $30 bumper in order to alleviate the problem, promises of a firmware update that would represent the actual signal strength more accurately (used before by Apple with previous iPhone releases), blame placed on AT&T for poor network reliability; it seems as if Apple has been attempting to point blame at anyone but themselves.

Right before a senior Apple engineer allegedly came forward with news that he had warned management about the possible flaw in the design of the antenna, Apple went ahead and scheduled the news conference that will give consumers and shareholders a better idea about what steps Apple will take to address this issue so that confidence can be restored in the company and its celebrated cellphone. Shimpi has analyzed Apple's initial response to the issue, the iOS 4.0.1 update, in detail, and has found it wanting. The algorithm for displaying the signal strength received by the phone, previously described as "totally wrong" by Apple, has been revamped by increasing the dynamic range slightly, distributing the weight between the five bars more equally, and raising the height of the first three bars. Making the lower bars a bit taller gives the graph more of an "exponential" feel, according to Shimpi.

As this affair has been debated ad nauseam, technology buffs everywhere look to Jobs and Apple to see what their response will be in order to resolve this sizeable debacle once and for all.

The iPhone 4 Redux: Analyzing Apple's iOS 4.0.1 Signal Fix & Antenna Issue - AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News