Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) late yesterday released an open letter to Apple, requesting that the iPhone 4 maker “address [the] flaw in a transparent manner.”
Schumer said that a recent evaluation of the iPhone 4 by Consumer Reports, wherein the consumer watchdog refused to recommend the phone, “call[s] into question” Apple’s recent claim that the problem is largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software.
Schumer didn’t stop there. He asked that Apple go so far as to issue a “written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.”
Schumer’s plea comes as Apple prepares to address the problem today in a 10 a.m. Pacific time press conference at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
Apple went live yesterday with an update to iOS 4 that it says “improves the formula to determine how many bars of signal to display.”
While many believe the iPhone 4’s antenna problem is a design flaw and purely hardware based, Apple insisted in a July 2 open letter that the problem could be the result of a software glitch.
“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,” read the letter. “Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.”
Apple’s letter goes on to claim that users who observe 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,” Apple said.
Earlier this week, Consumer Reports said it could not recommend the iPhone 4 because of its antenna issues, but still managed to give the iPhone 4 the highest rating of any smartphone on the market.
Regardless of the ongoing issue with its antenna, the iPhone 4 has sold well. According to Apple, it sold more than 1.7 million units of the phone in its first three days on the market.