Apple Says iPhone 4 Signal Strength Display Is Wrong

Today Apple released a letter to iPhone 4 users stating that the reason why some are seeing such dramatic decreases in signal strength on their new iPhones is that how the phone displays signal strength is wrong. Basically, they are saying that the programming that displays those bars is displaying two more bars than it should, and if that is true iPhone 4 users have two problems.
First, if you own an iPhone 4 and think it has improved signal strength because you now see more bars, you are wrong. If you see five bars, you should really be seeing three. The second problem is that when the signal display drops from five bars to none, it really isn’t that significant of a drop because it is really dropping from three to none.
Apple is promising to provide an update that corrects the signal strength display, but that falls short from addressing the real problem of iPhone’s dropping connections. It does not matter whether the iPhone’s connection drops from five bars or three bars to nothing, all a user knows is that a dropped connection interrupts their phone conversations and data transmissions.
Todd has pointed out that the iPhone 4 does not have a field test mode that normally displays the actual signal strength in numbers, which the signal bars represents. In short, we have no way of confirming that what Apple is saying is true. Apple ought to include in their update the field test mode that provides better information about signal strength.
Apple’s letter does confirm that there is a problem with radio reception on the iPhone, otherwise Apple would flat out deny the existence of a problem. The problem is probably due to the phone’s design and there is no software change that will fix that problem. What we do know is that the bumper cases that Apple sells is a workaround to the problem, and rather than dealing with cosmetics that doesn’t fix the problems users have, Apple ought to be providing the solution that does address the actual problem.