A simple mistake, or an attempt at deception that backfired? My initial reaction is to dismiss it as corporate BS, but it does fall in line with my observations that I wrote several days ago (which I didn’t write here in this blog unfortunately). To reiterate, at my apartment (which completely obliterates all providers, especially Sprint), the “issue” manifests itself greatly. For reference, my iPhone 3G would average 1-2 bars with AT&T. Taking a call and holding the phone to my ear (either ear) would result in a drop >50% of the time. Using a headset would drop it down to maybe 10%. My roommate’s Sprint service would drop nearly 100% of the time on a call within the first minute, holding the phone or otherwise. Sprint representatives told him he’s less than a block from the nearest cell tower. Lead in our walls maybe?
My iPhone 4 now reports 4-5 bars at my apt with AT&T. I suppose I should have been more suspicious. Could Apple really have improved the antenna that much? In comparison, at work, a good coverage area, I have yet to be able to get the bars to disappear. Sometimes, they don’t even drop at all, even with the phone crammed in my left palm.
Anyway, Apple’s comments also seems to fall in line with Anandtech’s comprehensive review (dB measurements and all), which notes that the 5th bar represents a disproportionately wide range of signal. So basically, it’s showing that you have 5 bars, when you don’t. Either Apple just made an innocent mistake, or they were trying to be sneaky and fake a much larger improvement in antenna design than there actually was. For the Apple haters, the latter should do nicely.
In any case, it’s not exactly long term yet, but to follow up on my other post, I’ve had the phone for over a week now, and I’m quite happy with it. With the Speed Test app I’ve been able to pull 2 megabit, and push 1.2 megabit (all dependent on ATT’s coverage of course, but the new iPhone supposedly has an improved chip for faster uploads). Battery life has been much, much better than expected. I used to keep my 3G on 66% brightness, and with normal use, the phone would last about 1.5 days. But I don’t even bother with the 4 – 100% brightness all the way. And it still lasts longer than the 3G did. I haven’t run it dry yet, but based on the battery indicator, it looks like the 4 should last at least 50% longer than my 3G. The Anandtech review shows some impressive benchmarks for more info on that.