iPhone users: You have been living a lie! A LIE! Apple says that the formula it uses for calculating signal bars has been wrong for years, and that this is the cause of the iPhone 4's mysterious reception problems.
According to a press release, Apple was "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.
But now things get metaphysical: How can we compare "fake" signal bars to "real" signal bars, given that a signal bar is nothing but an Apple-concocted measure of network strength? Maybe the original formula was the right one, but this new one is totally off! This dilemma is known in the philosophy of science as the experimenter's regress:
What scientists take to be a correct result is one obtained with a good, that is, properly functioning, experimental apparatus. But a good experimental apparatus is simply one that gives correct results.
Perhaps a more pressing metaphysical question: If a signal meter display four bars in a forest, but your iPhone 4 still won't make a fucking call, does it even matter?
[Photo via Getty Images]