Consumer Reports faults iPhone 4 antenna in test

Jul 12, 2010 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer
The new iPhone 4. Consumer Reports, the influential magazine for product reviews, gave the thumb's down Monday to Apple's new iPhone because of reception problems it said were caused by a design flaw.

Consumer Reports said Monday it will not recommend Apple Inc.'s newest iPhone because of reception problems caused by its antenna design.

After the 4 went on sale in June, buyers started complaining that holding the gadget a certain way could cause reception to fade and calls to drop.

has said that any phone will lose signal strength when gripped in certain ways. It said the iPhone 4 seems to show a larger drop because it has been using a faulty formula to decide how many signal bars to show.

But Consumer Reports said it tested several phones that use AT&T Inc.'s network, and only the iPhone 4 seemed to have the reception issue.

"Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software," Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports wrote in a blog post Monday. "The tests also indicate that AT&T's network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4's much-reported signal woes."

Apple did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The iPhone 4 topped Consumer Reports' updated ratings list for smart phones, thanks to its sharp display and "best video camera we've seen on any phone," according to the blog. But the magazine, which tests electronics, appliances and other items, will not mark the iPhone 4 recommended until Apple finds a permanent and free fix for the problem.

Explore further: EA tests subscription video game service for Xbox One

More information: Consumer Reports post: http://bit.ly/bxdiId

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zealous
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 12, 2010
With a glitch like that it makes me wonder how they tested it, maybe apple could invest in giving out free covers with their phones
maxcypher
not rated yet Jul 12, 2010
That's been suggested before. I wonder how much that would cost Apple? As much as this fiasco is costing their reputation?
DamienS
5 / 5 (2) Jul 12, 2010
Apple does make a nice phone, but it is their sheer arrogance when a legitimate flaw is reported that makes the company such a juicy target for ridicule, most recently exemplified by: 'Futurama 6x03 Attack of the Killer App'.
Nyloc
5 / 5 (1) Jul 12, 2010
Personally, I've noticed that when I put my phone to my ear, my grip shifts and my palm moves away from the seam area. Many others may be like me and not experience signal problems in everyday use.

Nevertheless, Apple should move quickly to address this issue. There's a small window to make changes before permanent damage is done to the brand's reputation.

The quickest fix is to include a coupon for customers to receive a free 'bumper' if they choose. Not everyone will take advantage of the offer, so the cost wouldn't be onerous for Apple who pays cost on the bumpers. Apple needn't admit upfront that the bumper is in response to complaints.

I hope that Apple isn't in denial internally and is actively exploring design changes. Moving the seam to the bottom of the phone is likely the best fix, but would likely affect the manufacturing process and take time and money to implement.

More reason to offer the coupon while a fix is underway.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Jul 12, 2010
Apple has been lowering the quality and construction of their products for years, simplifying the design and making compromizes between cost and quality in all of their products.

Things like the construction of the unibody macbooks are actually not a very good idea quality wise, since the construction puts stress on the circuit boards and internal components instead of an internal skeleton made of steel that most other manufacturers have. It's just that most won't notice the difference.

They're simply trying to find the point where their brand reputation still masks their shortcomings as a hardware manufacturer. It's good to remember that on average, Apple makes double the profit margin on their hardware compared to companies like Dell.

That means, if you buy a $1000 computer from Apple, you get approximately $600 worth of hardware. If you pay $800 to most other manufacturers, you still get $640 worth of hardware.
MarkyMark
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
Very glad i got the iphone 3g instead of this.

Shame tho i was forced to upgrade to OS4 as on my iphone 3gs it slows down processing speed and seems it may have increased battery drain :(

tho the drain is not much more.
zealous
5 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2010
Well in the end this doesn't bother me at all, I use a google phone