Friday, July 16, 2010

iPhone, and the Mystery of the Missing Bars

What the hell is going on at Apple lately? I can only imagine the whole company has been working around the clock since iPhone 4 dropped. Or at least I hope they are. There has been tons of craziness about the new iPhone, but I'm not too concerned with that. What I am worried about is what the newest operating system means for my current iPhone, which is a measly iPhone 3G, and at this point is two iPhone generations old.

Facing a deluge of complaints from websites and consumers about iPhone 4, Apple
comically announced that the formula that decides how many signal bars your phone is receiving has been incorrect on the OS since 2007! The Huffington Post quoted Apple saying: "[Users'] big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place." WHAT?! How is that acceptable?! AT&T's coverage has been crappy to begin with, but it turns out it's crappier then you think?! On Thursday, July 15th Apple released an updated version of iOS 4 that fixes the issues with the wayward bars. I updated my phone as soon as the update was available. My wife also has a 3G phone, but we held off updating her OS so we could compare the bars.

These are two photos I took with our phones inches apart, so they're receiving the same amount of signal from the local tower.

This is my wife's phone.
She has nearly full bars

And this is my phone. Just one bar.
(Yes, I have two Star Wars apps on my home screen. Don't judge me!)

Is this progress? Not really. Apple claims this is something they discovered recently, but one can't help but wonder if they knew this all along and this was a meager attempt to help with all the flack they've been getting from the iPhone 4 fiasco.

All this being said, do the bars really matter? What difference does it make if you have full bars, or just one, as long as you can make and receive calls? I'm sure we've all been in situations where your friend had no bars and been able to make a call and we've had full bars and can't even dial out (and that's not a slam on AT&T).

And yes I realize that these are silly things to worry about. We could all live out our lives happily without ever picking up a cell phone again. In this capitalist society we have high expectations for the purchases we make, and more importantly we want to feel that we own the fanciest gadgets available. So it shouldn't be a surprise that when our tech-nerd status gets called into question we might lash out.

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