Apple has finally acknowledged the iPhone 3G's reception issues, confirming that the iPhone OS 2.0.2 software update was designed to fix those problems.
A company representative told the Associated Press overnight (thanks, Macworld) that the latest update "improved communication with 3G networks," after weeks of silence regarding the reception issues reported by iPhone 3G owners around the world. Apple was reportedly working on such a fix last week, but Monday's update was labeled with the briefest of descriptions--"bug fixes"--making it difficult to know exactly what was addressed with the update.
The thing is, it's not clear whether all of the problems have actually been fixed. Several people have told me that the update did in fact dramatically improve their reception: one CNET employee is now getting reception on the BART subway system in places he never did with his iPhone 3G. But other readers who have been in contact over the weeks we've been watching this issue say they are still having trouble maintaining a connection to the 3G network in places said to have excellent coverage.
A former Apple employee, Chuq Von Rospach, reported on his personal blog earlier this week that those-in-the-know at Apple think it will take several months for a fix to be developed by Infineon, believed to be the source of the reception problems. So perhaps the 2.0.2 update isn't the complete fix, but a starting point for putting the reception issues to rest.