Daily Archives: July 2, 2010

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the new iPhone. (I just had a hunch.) Interesting to see how Apple switched today from, “it’s not an issue, you’re just holding it wrong,” to, “it’s not a reception issue, it’s just that the signal strength indicator tells you you’ve much better reception than you have–and by the way previous iPhones have the same defect.” So after all that fuss, the answer is really very simple. And you all thought there was a problem! From a company letter to customers:

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. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. 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…

[We] apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

Yes, so much needless anxiety. You thought your phone was defective in a certain way. Without saying anything about that, really, we can confirm it is defective in a different way. You were worrying for nothing!

When I first saw quotes from this letter I was sure it was a spoof. There it is on the Apple website. It doesn’t appear to be a spoof, but you could call it self-parody. Sometimes loving Apple is hard.

But not usually. Thanks to Nicholas Fawcett, who emailed to say that GoodReader is the best iPad PDF reader. I tried it again, and so it is after the most recent update. It now lets you quickly crop away margins and then move through the document with horizontal page-turns, making PDFs as easy to read as a correctly formatted ebook. Brilliant.

I see Amazon is promising that its next Kindle for iPad update will include a dictionary and search. This will confine use of my Kindle device even more strictly to hostile environments. On the other hand, I’ll be less inclined to see if something is available on iBooks before I go to Amazon, so I dare say empowering the iPad for Amazon content makes sense. I just hope it doesn’t cause Steve any anxiety.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

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