Apple released the iPhone 4.1 SDK and beta OS on Wednesday, and it includes the much-hyped signal bar indicator fix that Apple said would fix the "death grip" problem shown when bridging the gap on the iPhone 4's external antenna system. It indeed changes the signal bars, but it does not fix the antenna problem (as we assumed it would not).
Gizmodo has a nice graphic showing the change (above).
Apple had previously said that:
a) all phones exhibit signal attenuation when gripped
b) the signal bar level indicator was incorrect, which led folks to think they were in a high-strength area, when they were not
c) thus, fix the signal bars, and people would not get the mistaken impression that their signal was dropping so much when gripping the iPhone 4
Basically, b) sort of throws the blame at AT&T again, doesn't it? At any rate, here's the real question: if you grip and iPhone 4 and it drops a call, and in the same area, grip a Nexus One that supports AT&T 3G frequencies and it doesn't drop a call, doesn't that say something?
At any rate, it doesn't appear the fix really fixes anything, except to let users know exactly when a call will drop when they hold the iPhone 4. MobileCrunch and our own testing shows no change in how easily the iPhone 4 drops signal with iOS 4.1 vs. iOS 4. Of course, it's just a beta, right?