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iPhone 4 signal bar software fix now out

Apple issues iOS 4.0.1 to customers via iTunes. The update is intended to more accurately display how the iPhone's signal bar strength is calculated.

The signal bar display fix for iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 is now available.
The signal bar display fix for iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 is now available. Screenshot by Brian Tong/CNET

Apple made good on its promise of a software update for the iPhone 4.

On Thursday the company released iOS 4.0.1, an update to the iPhone's operating system that was introduced just over three weeks ago.

The update contains bug fixes and improvements for "the formula to determine how many bars of signal strength to display." iOS 4.0.1 is compatible only with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4.

This is the update that two weeks ago Apple said was coming. In an open letter at that time, Apple said that the problem some people are having with reception and bandwidth dropping off when gripping the iPhone 4 in a certain way is linked to software that incorrectly displays the phone's signal bars. The update was promised to make the signal bars display more accurately and more clearly.

Apple released a beta version of iOS 4.1to developers only on Wednesday that also appeared to include the same restructured formula for displaying signal strength bars.

It's not clear, however, that thesignal bar display has anything to do with the iPhone 4's much-discussed antenna "death grip" issue. The antenna problem appears to be hardware-related (the antenna is integrated into the metal strip running around the exterior of the phone), and whether the signal bars are displaying incorrectly wouldn't affect whether a call is actually dropped or a signal is lost.

We'll know more on Friday, when Apple is planning to hold a press conference further addressing the iPhone 4.