In his translation of Apple PR speak to human language, John Gruber offers an interpretation, of Apple’s placing blame on the bars calculation formula, that I too have strongly suspected to be the case.
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.
Gruber interprets (and I agree):
We decided from the outset to set the formula for our bars-of-signal strength indicator to make the iPhone look good — to make it look as it “gets more bars”. That decision has now bit us on our ass.
I think this and a few other recent events point to a state of above-the-law hubris on the part of Steve Jobs’s Apple. A distinctly unpleasant turn.
// From Daring Fireball: Translation From Apple’s Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the ‘Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4’