Apple Acknowledges Flaw in iPhone Signal Strength

Apple today said it was “stunned” to find that all of its iPhones use a “completely wrong” formula to mistakenly overstate signal strength, as complaints mount over the effectiveness of the wraparound antenna on the iPhone 4.

“Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength,” Apple said in a statement. “Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.”

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said that within a few weeks it plans to issue a software update, using a new formula, to correct the problem. The fix will also be offered for the 3GS and 3G, but not the original iPhone.

“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,” Apple said. “We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.”

Since launching the iPhone 4 last week, consumers have complained about poor reception and dropped calls when holding the device, which blocks the wraparound antenna, in a certain way. The metal band was supposed to improve the reception on the iPhone 4, but problems cropped up when the signal strength dramatically fell when a hand covered the bottom left corner of the device.

Since then, the company has been hit with at least three lawsuits over the antenna issues.

Still, despite the criticism, Apple said that more than 1.7 million units have been sold in three days, making the iPhone 4 the most successful product launch the company’s history.

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