Have You Gotten Taller?

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Since July 2nd, when Apple released their not-at-all disingenuous statement regarding the iPhone 4’s antenna issues, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a software update to provide me with taller and more accurate bars. I too was stunned to find that Apple’s signal strength formula was totally wrong. Stunned!

Yesterday, the promised update finally arrived. After applying it, my phone’s signal strength at home dropped from 5 bars down to 4:

iOS 4 Lock Screen
I’ll miss that fifth bar, bullshit though he was.

Fortunately, to relieve my sorrows Apple made bars 1, 2, and 3 taller, so they’d be “easier to see”. Have a look!

iOS 4 Bars
Thanks, Apple!

These indicators have never been accurate on any phone, but the iPhone’s bars were even more full of crap than others. Now, they’re slightly less crap-filled. Of course at the same time, Apple made their bars bigger, so they’ve confused the issue quite well.

John Gruber’s summary of Apple’s moves nails it:

We decided from the outset to set the formula for our bars-of-signal strength indicator to make the iPhone look good — to make it look as if it “gets more bars”. That decision has now bitten us on our ass.

In just a couple hours, the landscape could be quite different. Perhaps Apple will have more to offer than just fewer but bigger bars in the same square millimeterage. Right now, however, this writer is simply left shaking his head.


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