There's never been any real argument about the fact that there are ways of holding practically any mobile phone that will result in a reduction of signal strength. My own small-scale experiment showed a reduction of one or two bars when holding any of my household's mobiles in what I regard as a normal grip.
Someone getting five bars of signal and losing one due to the way they hold the phone probably won't notice it. But if the phone was showing four bars when it should only have been showing two, then a loss of one or two bars of signal could well result in reception problems and dropped calls. It also makes it look as if the grip had a bigger effect than it really did.
So Apple officials have announced that "we are adopting AT&T's recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone's bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area."
This fix will be delivered in a software update to be released "within a few weeks". It will also be available for the 3G and 3GS, as the miscalculation has been in the iPhone software right from the start.
But is that the whole story? Please read on.
But the 'death grip' issue does seem to relate particularly to the situation where the iPhone 4's two antennas are bridged by the user's hand - as evidenced by reports that fitting Apple's bumper or any other case makes it a non-issue.
So even if changing the bars calculation results in a more accurate display and people see that the 'death grip' only rears its head under low signal conditions, wouldn't the iPhone 4 be even better if some kind of insulating layer was applied as part of the manufacturing process?