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Apple Misreporting iPhone 4 Signal Strength (And a lesson in dBm transmitting power)

July 2nd, 2010 2:03pm Leave a comment

Computerworld – In response to mounting reports that the iPhone 4 offers subpar call reception, Apple Inc. today said that an algorithm used in its new smartphone is flawed and promised to update its iOS 4 operating system in the next few weeks.

Users called the company’s inaccurate algorithm explanation “hooey” and worse on Apple’s support forum.

Apple blamed the faulty formula for problems users have encountered with the iPhone’s signal strength, which has been said to quickly plummet when the phone is held in certain ways.

It just gets worse and worse for these assholes. It is SUPER EASY to calculate signal strength. It’s measured in dBm, an abbreviation for the power ratio in decibels (dB) of the measured power referenced to one milliwatt (mW). When signal is extremely poor, the phone transmits at higher power. -125 dBm is very bad. -60 dBm is very good.

The phone physically reports these raw numbers based on how it’s transmitting. On old phones oyu were able to access the transmitting power in hidden menus. On Android, go to Settings–>About Phone–>Status and it wil ltell you signal strength in dBm.

But obviously users wouldn’t know what this means, so they are converted to bars for convenience. It’s not that hard to program a phone to say “okay, if it is less than -115 dBm, there should be no bars. If it’s between -114dBm to -105dBm, one bar. -104dBm to -95dBm, two. -94 to -85-dBm, three. -85 to -74, four bars and greater than -74dBm should be 5 bars.

Apparently, the iPhone 4 has a software problem where it displays more bars than it should. So when people are seeing 4 bars, it should really be two. In addition, this does not fix the antenna problems when people are holding the phone. Therefore a user can be seeing 4 bars but really have none when holding it wrong.

How do you screw that up Apple? It’s easy to do conditional statements!

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