The Death Grip on the iPhone 4 has gotten its grip on Apple, for which they have issued a statement telling users that that they are "stunned" that they miscalculated the formula for bar signals that show on the iPhone 4.
The reason why the bars are dropping so quickly with a south-paw grip is that the number of bars showing weren't right in the first place. They call the cause for the dramatic drop "simple and surprising."
Apple will issue a software update for the iPhone 4, Phone 3GS and iPhone 3G, shortly to fix the glitch and remind users that if they are not happy they can return their new iPhone 4 for a refund within 30 days.
In the meantime, it's nearly impossible to find case that will cover up the left corner death grip location on the iPhone 4. Antenna experts AntennaSys, tried wrapping an iPhone 4 with electrical tape to see if the grip of death still occurred and there was not difference. They also found similar attenuation problems with the original iPhone.
To start with, 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. But some users have
reported 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.
This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have
accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.
At 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. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and
testing. What can explain all of this?
We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is
both simple and surprising.
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. Since this mistake has been present
since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available
for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.
We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the
results are the same- the iPhone 4's wireless performance is the best we
have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been
troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars
more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any
anxiety we may have caused.
As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your
undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store
within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.