Among the myriad problems the 2.1 firmware was supposed to solve was poor 3G reception. How did Apple achieve this? Apparently by simply artificially displaying more bars, at least in part: In their release notes for the update, they list “improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display.” That’s just corporate speak for “we can’t fix these pieces of junk, but we don’t want to pay for a recall, so we’re going to just fool you into thinking your phone is working properly.”
Sure enough, I now get five bars of 3G signal in my office, where I used to get one or two! However, when I try to make a 3G call, the audio is warbled (is if packets are being constantly dropped) and it eventually either drops the call entirely, or switches back to standard GSM. All while showing five bars of 3G signal until it dies! Five bars of lies and deceit.