iOS4.1 Beta fattens signal bars but iPhone 4 antenna issue remains

Apple has pushed out their latest iOS beta to its developer community, iOS4.1, and the question everybody is asking is whether it includes the promised patch to "fix" the signal issue.  Unfortunately, while the modem firmware has been updated (going from 01.59.00 to 02.07.01) and the signal bars are larger than before, early feedback in the MacRumors forum suggests that there's no actual difference in performance – if you touch the antenna during a call, that can be enough to kill your connection.Video demo after the cut

Gizmodo's photo above shows the difference in the new, chubbier bars (iOS4.1 is running on the lower iPhone); meanwhile MobileCrunch shot some video of the "death grip" in action, and as you can see it's just as precarious as before.  Still, many users will welcome more accurate display of what signal there is, even if they have to remember to hold the iPhone 4 in a special way in order to make the most of it.

What may be less welcome is speculation that Apple has added digital watermarking [via RazorianFly via Electricpig] into the new beta, said to be the company's latest answer to the ongoing jailbreak race.  According to one source, who claims to have heard from an engineer employed at Apple, iOS4.1 will be able to not only identify a jailbroken iPhone 4 but remember that status even if you later restore the handset; that could potentially give the company a way out of honoring warranty claims.

Apple has announced it will be holding a press conference on Friday July 16th to discuss the iPhone 4, though in what context we don't currently know.  SlashGear will be liveblogging the whole event, so join us at from 10am PT.