Why iOS 7’s New Signal Dots Represent Apple’s Ultimate Victory Over AT&T & Verizon [Update: Oops!]

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Update: This post is wrong. Once we downloaded iOS 7, it was clear that the carrier name is still very much a part of iOS, even though Apple didn’t show it in their keynote. Mea culpa!

With iOS 7, Apple is getting rid of the signal bars in the top left-hand corner and replacing them with five dots to represent signal strength.

This is a good move, because the iOS signal bars have been incredibly misleading for years, although it remains to be seen if the new dots will come with controversies of their own.

Here’s the thing I really found interesting about it, though. Notice there’s no room for a carrier name anymore. Apple has finally succeeded in removing every trace of carrier branding from every iPhone they sell.

This has been a battle Apple has been trying to win for years. The original iPhone revolutionized the mobile landscape by eschewing the carrier-mandated branding and crapware that every other mobile phone on Earth came with at that time, and managed to reduce the carrier’s branding to just a small mention in the Status Bar. Now even that’s gone. To find out what carrier an iPhone is using, you’ll have to delve into Settings.

How things have changed in just six years. When the iPhone first came out, phones were branded with the carrier they ran on more than they were by the companies that made them. If you want proof at a glance how radically Apple has changed things, just look to those five little signal dots in iOS 7: they are Apple’s ultimate triumph over carriers in a power struggle which has been going on ever since the iPhone first debuted.

Update: This post is wrong. Once we downloaded iOS 7, it was clear that the carrier name is still very much a part of iOS, even though Apple didn’t show it in their keynote. Mea culpa!

  • JacksMacintosh

    Say I had 4 “bars”. Would one dot disappear, causing the wifi squiggles to move left?
    Or do you think it would just fade/dim/go gray

  • JamesGunaca

    Honestly, I think this is just in their mockups. I doubt the carrier will be removed. If you look at other device screenshots that have carrier support, they don’t include carrier name.

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/

    I doubt they will remove the carrier name. We’ll still have to rely on Springtomize when there is an iOS 7 jailbreak for that.

  • pmontanarella

    Honestly, I think this is just in their mockups. I doubt the carrier will be removed. If you look at other device screenshots that have carrier support, they don’t include carrier name.

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/

    I doubt they will remove the carrier name. We’ll still have to rely on Springtomize when there is an iOS 7 jailbreak for that.

    While that is all true, on previous keynotes the demo iPhones showed the carrier logos, the demos today didn’t.

    While that isn’t complete proof it is gone, it is more gone than before.

    Pietro

  • MisterL30N

    John Brownlee, honest to god, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention at all. If you’ve ever seen any of the past presentations from Apple, and even some developer screenshots, you would have noticed that they NEVER display any kind of carrier logo during the keynote. It has always been left empty by default to bring the focus on the device and not any carrier of the device. Personally, I think it’s time that you and half of the other staff writing for Cult of Mac to take a dive off the ship and swim over to your sugar daddy, Google. You lot are clearly pleased that the iPhone will now look more generic than EVER and that Apple has officially sold out to “improved, flatter” designs that are just “ground-breaking”. I can tell you what fell flat, the boner I’ve had for new Apple products all these years after seeing that piece of shit software unveiled this morning. I completely regret Jony Ive ever taking over as head of iOS design. Fuck you, Apple. This is complete bullshit.

  • bdkennedy

    I’m rendering most of your comment irrelevant since I think exactly the OPPOSITE of everything you said about the OS.

    John Brownlee, honest to god, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention at all. If you’ve ever seen any of the past presentations from Apple, and even some developer screenshots, you would have noticed that they NEVER display any kind of carrier logo during the keynote. It has always been left empty by default to bring the focus on the device and not any carrier of the device. Personally, I think it’s time that you and half of the other staff writing for Cult of Mac to take a dive off the ship and swim over to your sugar daddy, Google. You lot are clearly pleased that the iPhone will now look more generic than EVER and that Apple has officially sold out to “improved, flatter” designs that are just “ground-breaking”. I can tell you what fell flat, the boner I’ve had for new Apple products all these years after seeing that piece of shit software unveiled this morning. I completely regret Jony Ive ever taking over as head of iOS design. Fuck you, Apple. This is complete bullshit.

  • Jonathan Ober

    see spot, see spot’s signal, signal spot signal…

  • tehgeekmeister

    This isn’t accurate. I’m installing the beta now, and I have a carrier indicator.

  • reneMAC

    Author,

    Please install the software prior to commenting, there are still carrier logo’s.

    SEE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ewimoqadx5gpmky/2013-06-10%2019.10.44.png

  • JamesGunaca

    Just go ahead and remove this post as its been proven inaccurate.

  • bizsumpark182

    I’ve installed the beta and I see AT&T LTE right next to the dots.

  • Junaidkureshi

    hahahahahaha, he wanted to be pretty quick.

    Just go ahead and remove this post as its been proven inaccurate.

  • MisterL30N

    And I’m rendering you as a dumbass. How arrogant you are. Have a good day, sir.

    I’m rendering most of your comment irrelevant since I think exactly the OPPOSITE of everything you said about the OS.

    John Brownlee, honest to god, I don’t think you’ve been paying attention at all. If you’ve ever seen any of the past presentations from Apple, and even some developer screenshots, you would have noticed that they NEVER display any kind of carrier logo during the keynote. It has always been left empty by default to bring the focus on the device and not any carrier of the device. Personally, I think it’s time that you and half of the other staff writing for Cult of Mac to take a dive off the ship and swim over to your sugar daddy, Google. You lot are clearly pleased that the iPhone will now look more generic than EVER and that Apple has officially sold out to “improved, flatter” designs that are just “ground-breaking”. I can tell you what fell flat, the boner I’ve had for new Apple products all these years after seeing that piece of shit software unveiled this morning. I completely regret Jony Ive ever taking over as head of iOS design. Fuck you, Apple. This is complete bullshit.

  • MisterL30N

    __

  • ericyao

    My Nokia Lumia 928 doesn’t have Verizon logo next to the signal, or any bloatware from Verizon. Just a few pre-installed from Nokia, but can be easily uninstalled.

  • Notorious_bob

    3 bars used to mean good signal… now 3 dots means calls fail constantly. I am not a satisfied customer.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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