iOS 4.1 Includes Changes To Fix Incorrect Display Of Signal Strength; New Baseband

iPhone 4

MacRumors is reporting that iOS 4.1 Beta 1 that was just released by Apple to developers of its iPhone Developer Program includes the signal bar changes to fix incorrect display of signal strength. 

It will provide users a much better indication of the reception that they are getting in a given area.

Apple had released a public statement couple of weeks back in response to the iPhone 4 reception saga to confirm that they’re incorrectly displaying the signal strength, which will be fixed with a software update that will provide users a much better indication of the reception that they are getting in a given area.

Apple had explained:

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’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula.

Macrumors has observed that the new signal bars appear slightly taller than the previous ones just as Apple had mentioned, which indicates that Apple has incorporated the corrected formula in iOS 4.1.


iPhone 4

iOS 4 also comes with new modem firmware or baseband (updated to 02.07.01 from 01.59.00).

It’s too early to confirm whether the iPhone software update has improved the situation for iPhone 4 users who had reported the reception problem.

Update 1:

iH8sn0w has issued the following warning to users who want jailbreak and unlock their iPhone:

ALL JAILBREAKERS AND ESPECIALLY UNLOCKERS SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM iOS4.1 Beta UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!

Update 2:

Macrumors is reporting that early reports indicate no change in the reception loss experienced by some users. 

However, looks like some users don't have the right expectations from the software update. Here are some key points from Apple's open letter to iPhone 4 users:

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’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

So to summarize Apple's statement on the issue, if you’ve observed the reception issue then it doesn’t mean Apple will fix the reception issues as Apple can’t fix it as it depends on the your carriers network. The iPhone Software update will ensure that the signal is being reported correctly to give a much better indication of the reception that you’re getting (so that you can blame the carrier for the poor reception instead of Apple). 

According to Apple: 

gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones.

So you will still notice a drop in reception when you grip iPhone but it won't be as dramatic as it was observed in iOS 4.0. Ever since iPhone 4 was released, users seem to have forgotten that AT&T has a patchy network, iOS 4.1 should bring back the bad memories. 

Update 3:

iOS 4.1 Beta Reveals Game Center With A New Look, FaceTime Favorites, Ability To Disable Spell Check And More

Update 4:

Apple Holding Special iPhone 4 Press Conference On Friday

We’ll let you know as soon as we’ve any further updates. So stay tuned here at iPhone Hacks or follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our RSS feed.

[via Macrumors]