While responding to criticism over the iPhone 4’s reception issues, which Apple continues to label as inexistent, the company confirmed that a free software update would be rolled out for all iPhone users. Scheduled to arrive in “a few weeks”, the update will be made available not only for iPhone 4 users, but also for owners of an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS.

By posting an open letter to answer the bad PR surrounding its iPhone 4, Apple admitted that the formula it used to calculate how many bars of signal strength iPhones should display in certain circumstances was “totally wrong”.

“Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength,” the company said. “For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars,” Apple explained. “Users observing 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’s theory goes. Some, however, are not convinced the iPhone maker is telling the truth.

To fix this, Apple is adopting a new formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. This new set of rules is developed by AT&T, according to the open letter.

“We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula,” Apple finally discloses (emphasis ours). “Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G,” the letter reveals, adding that “this software update will only make your bars more accurate.”

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