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Consumer Reports can't recommend iPhone 4

All you southpaw iPhone 4 users can freak out. Consumer Reports conducted its own research into the phone's fading reception when held with a palm or a finger covering a gap between its external antennas. The magazine found that the problem goes beyond the software flaw Apple cited last week, and it now refuses to recommend the device.

Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas described these findings in a post on the Yonkers, N.Y.,-based magazine's site this morning:

We reached this conclusion after testing all three of our iPhone 4s (purchased at three separate retailers in the New York area) in the controlled environment of CU's radio frequency (RF) isolation chamber. In this room, which is impervious to outside radio signals, our test engineers connected the phones to our base-station emulator, a device that simulates carrier cell towers. We also tested several other AT&T phones the same way, including the iPhone 3G S and the Palm Pre. None of those phones had the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4.

(1:18 p.m. A comment below reminded me that Gikas had expressed skepticism about iPhone 4 reception complaints in a July 2 post, written a day before he encountered this issue himself.)

As a result, CR declined to recommend the new phone, declaring that "Apple needs to come up with a permanent -- and free -- fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4."
.
The magazine also questioned Apple's explanation of the problem--"totally wrong" software that overstates the strength of AT&T's wireless signal.

Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that "mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength."

As a temporary fix, CR endorsed the remedy that my colleague Michael Rosenwald suggested weeks ago, as noted in my review: covering that gap with some non-conducting tape. CR also plans to research which iPhone cases prevent this problem.

All this puts Apple in an awkward spot. One of the most trusted consumer publications in America just said its flagship product is defective and, in the bargain, just implied that Apple made up its excuse for the problem.

I've got a query into Apple for comment. While I wait on that, I'd like to get your read on the situation. Who do you believe? And what do you expect will happen next?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  July 12, 2010; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  Mobile  
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Comments

It's sad to see Consumer Reports jumping on a band wagon. The question is not if some signal can be attenuated by covering/bridging the Antenna, that happens with all cell phones, the question is, does the phone work well?
I've been using my iPhone 4 since the day it came out. I am very satisfied with it, in every way it is the best cell phone I have used. I have been following this 'issue' since it began and voted with my wallet. Not just the phone I got for myself, but just yesterday I bought one for my wife as well.

Posted by: RLight | July 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, Consumer Reports' evaluation of a true, not just apparent, signal loss jibes with a lot of other reports and youtube videos so it's not just CR vs Apple as far as I can tell, it's CR plus everyone else vs Apple

Posted by: HardyW | July 12, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

finally a trusted organization has come out against this phone. The iPhone 4 is defective. Period. I was able to replicate the reception problem on EVERY iPHone 4 I got my hands on at an Apple Store. The signal strength declined from 4 to zero bars in less than a minute on each of them. This happened by simply holding the phone in my left hand. How on earth anyone could recommend this phone is beyond me. Do you really want an elderly person or a child, during an emergency, to use this phone? Seriously, Apple needs to fix this before a dropped call happens during a real emergency.

Posted by: leakypen | July 12, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Consumers Reports tends to be anti-industry generally but I believe here they are correct. Yes, the phone works. You might be satisfied with it. In a marginal signal situation, however, you might not be. When you are in an emergency situation and need to call 911 are you going to have the presence of mind to not bridge the gap so you can get help?

I don't call it a defect. It is a bad design. There is a remedy of applying insulating tape to the gap. Consumers Reports recommends a thick tape such as duct tape (!?!). Of course, a case will do the same thing.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | July 12, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Consumer Reports for being honest to consumers! I'm glad to see that Consumer Reports actually performed some real world tests to conclude that ALL iPhone 4 smartphones have the hardware reception defect. As a result, Consumer Reports has done the right thing to announce that iPhone 4 IS NOT recommended for consumers.

Apple shares also fell as a result. All you Apple fanboys should be ashamed of yourselves for spreading the wrong word that iPhone 4 does not have a reception problem. Your selfish interests only adds to Apple's deceptive practices and consumer frustrations.

Posted by: washinfo | July 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Not holding my breath for Gruber to retract his snarky pro-CR comment.

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/07/02/consumer-reports

Oh, and I'd post this on his page, but he doesn't allow comments.

Posted by: ethanlj | July 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I believe CR. But, since the problem is easily fixed via a piece of tape or a bumper, that, as an informed consumer, I would still purchase the iPhone 4 (because of it's superiority in many other aspects).

I also think Apple needs to step up and admit to the issue and give out free bumpers. How hard would that be?

-From a happy owner of an iPhone 3G.

Posted by: kjhealey | July 12, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I am a south paw, and an iPhone 4 owner, and I'm not having any of these reported troubles at all. I don't doubt others might be, but I simply have had a trouble-free experience so far with a very, very nice phone, camera, media player, HD video camera, and mini-computer all in one. Its been a delight to own, so far. Now, if we could get right of ATT, I'd be in pure heaven, but even purgatory with ATT and an iPhone is better than hades with other "smart phone" choices out there.

Posted by: MikeLawson | July 12, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks @kjhealy for adding some balance here. I too tried making two iPhone 4's at my local AT&T store drop signal and couldn't make it happen. I always put may iPhones in a protective case anyway. I'm on a waiting list at BestBuy and plan to upgrade. Maybe this article will make some ahead of me take their names off of that waiting list.

Posted by: CaliforniaMan | July 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

We'are lucky to not have Flash Player included in iPhone...I'm sure that Steve "evil" Jobs would target this technology as the focus of all the iPhone problem's (anntena, screen, software and so on...)

It seems that at last Apple delivers products that are worst that Adobe's products.

This is a great "in your face" to Steve Jobs ;).

Posted by: carlosrovira | July 12, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I suspect the next step in this will be Apple giving out free cases for the iphone 4. But I hate cases. I'd rather have a slightly scuffed thin, shiny metal case than a thicker piece of rubber/plastic. What good is a a pretty device if you cover it in something bigger and uglier?

As for the tape, I wouldn't be happy if I bought an expensive phone and had to wrap electrical tape around it to make it work.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | July 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Two comments: 1. Apple's explanation is bogus. Either they are clueless about the issue or are stonewalling. 2. Gikas of CR seems to be taking this particular design flaw personally (CR didn't do a story until he had a problem?).

I have had no problems with this flaw but can understand the frustration of those that have.

Posted by: prokaryote | July 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I have the iPhone 4 and have had the reception and proximity sensor issues. I am hoping that Apple admits the problem is real and fixes them for free. Otherwise, the phone is amazing and I do not regret upgrading from my 3G. I'm looking forward to CR testing the cases as I've seen reports that doesn't
Always fix
The issue.

Posted by: filmjoy | July 12, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I have the iPhone 4 and have had the reception and proximity sensor issues. I am hoping that Apple admits the problem is real and fixes them for free. Otherwise, the phone is amazing and I do not regret upgrading from my 3G. I'm looking forward to CR testing the cases as I've seen reports that doesn't
Always fix
The issue.

Posted by: filmjoy | July 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I have the iPhone 4 and have had the reception and proximity sensor issues. I am hoping that Apple admits the problem is real and fixes them for free. Otherwise, the phone is amazing and I do not regret upgrading from my 3G. I'm looking forward to CR testing the cases as I've seen reports that doesn't always fix the issue.

Posted by: filmjoy | July 12, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Is Jobs so inflated that he takes the entire human race as fools? We may appear dumb, Apple, because we thoughtlessly line up to buy your products like undead mindless zombies, but we're not that dumb.

Apple's excuse blaming the problem on "overstating bars" is an insult to the intelligence of every current and potential Apple customer alive. It's been demonstrated countless times that skin contact with the conductive surface of the RF antenna causes the bars to drop to zero regardless of how many bars are displayed.

Posted by: rhackin | July 12, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm left handed and an iPhone user (3G). I would probably not buy the new iPhone 4 because of this issue. Why bother. As great as the iPhone is as an overall device, it's not actually a great telephone, though I hate to say it.

Consumer Reports has credibility in my book because they buy the items that they review. I'll always read the Pogue or Mossberg take with interest, but CR is the outlet that puts its money where its mouth is.

Posted by: hihi22 | July 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I was under the impression that Consumer Reports was about Consumers weighing in. If this was an issue - I would think that the more than 1.7 million people who bought iPhone 4 would making a much bigger fuss. I haven't read many comments from consumers who haven't had anything but good to say about their phones. I should be getting mine Wednesday and I welcome a mass exodus to Verison, so that the Droid folks can clog up Verizons towers and leave some bandwidth for me over here at AT&T.

If I get my phone and have issues I'll be the first to admit it. But I really don't expect that to happen

Posted by: vallen47 | July 12, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

This is simple. Apple can send everyone a kit:

1) A case that makes the iPhone look like a Blackberry, and

2) A packet of 20 strips of duct tape in assorted fashion colors.

Posted by: IanGilbert | July 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I applaud CR for being objective and pushing back on the big Apple.

Besides, what is an Iphone?

"Drooooiiiid"

Posted by: palbri1 | July 12, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the cellular antenna problem is a hardware design flaw and no amount of software tweaking will solve the issue. The Apple iPhone 4 Bumper does solve the problem. However, Apple should now pick up the tab for that. This includes reimbursing all those iPhone 4 customers who have already purchased one like me. By the way, the iPhone 4 is a terrific phone with the bumper.

Posted by: rzarnegar | July 12, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, Apple never stated that the problem with signal strength was a software issue; their statement was only about the number of bars displayed. In fact the refund reminder was, in my view, a tacit admission that the antenna touching issue had no software solution (duh). Please read carefully:

"...this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused."

"As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund."

Note the word "only" in the first quote.

I'm perfectly happy with my iPhone 4. It's in a $15 case (my 3G was in a $25 case) that protects against dropping as well as shorting the antennas, and I'm not experiencing reception problems even with 2.5G service. I'll continue to enjoy my phone while some wait and others gloat about this "issue." I wouldn't consider returning my phone to solve such a trivial problem even if there were a recall.

Posted by: scsmits | July 12, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I own an iPhone 4, I upgraded from the 3G. I've been able to replicate the antenna issue from day one. First I have to say this is the most capable phone I've owned yet, it has a lot of fantastic features and the screen is beautiful. To me the thing that upsets me the most is not the existence of the antenna flaw (and it is a flaw) but the way Apple has responded to their customers complaints with contempt and misdirection. Had they manned up in the beginning and admitted the issue was real I'd still have some respect for them. As it is I'm left with the impression they rushed an improperly tested device (or did not properly quality control the manufacturing of their phones) to market. The fact that Apple's "first attempt at an iPhone accessory" just happens to correct the flaw (for a nominal $30 fee) only makes me more sceptical. Were it not for the existence of the bumpers, I would have even believed they didn't discover the problem during their testing due to their use of the 3G disguise cases. But the bumpers and Apples response have made me question why I should believe anything Apple says. I will say this, as great as this phone is, if Apple doesn't step up to the plate and own up to the flaw, this will be the last Apple product I'll buy.

Posted by: justcapital | July 12, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I like scsmits' comments above. Overall, a good set of comments. (Someone on the WSJ Digits blog is linking Consumer Reports to the Rothschild family.)

None of these phones is 100%. There will always be something not perfect and people will focus on that. If it were not the antenna it would be something else.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | July 13, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Most readers should take CR with a grain of salt. For some issues I beg to differ with them. If someone has nobody to turn to for help the commentary they provide can give you a point of reference. I don't know if CR does the best job of conveying their test environment for most products otherwise their readers would understand more about related services for certain product classes.
If you are not sure if the iPhone is for you try it out, it has a 30 day return period at most places. I find it to be a fret devic and hold the phone with both hands and drive hands free and have had no issues nor do I use a bumper. I'll get the otterbox for best protection.
It's a great device and a whole lot of fun. But try and make up your own mind versus consumer reports

Posted by: fr1chise | July 13, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I would be more interested in how much better the CAMERA works, with with a flash and all. I would hold the phone in my right hand anyway. CU should rate something not acceptable if it unsafe, not if you need to be able to hold it in a certain way. I subscribe to CU, but find their advice mostly useless but fun to read anyway.

Posted by: funfun881 | July 13, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I have the iPhone 4 and have had a lot of antenna trouble, which is incredibly disappointing. I called Apple to complain about this, and to suggest that they provide free cases (which supposedly fix the problem) to all customers. While they didn't quite agree to do that, they did give me a free "bumper" case. I haven't received it yet (it was back ordered), but I am pleased with their response.

Posted by: jules325 | July 13, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I have had my iPhone 4 since the day before launch. I have had no reception, antenna, screen, or proximity problems. I have 3 friends with an iPhone 4 as well. None of them have had any problems either.

I wonder if this is an issue isolated to a certain part of the country or a certain batch?

Posted by: StLouis | July 13, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Apple's own arrogance is becoming its downfall. At worst they should have offered consumers the option of getting a case that resolves the problem if they believe one might exists. This way they still can deny there actually is a problem while helping placate angry consumers.

Ahh I just read that apparently that is what they are doing... Well maybe a better campaign to let consumers know.

It just seems lately the overall "feel" of Apple is less like the Olympian with the hammer throw and more like "Big Brother" (referring to the 1984 ad)

Posted by: rcc_2000 | July 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

No problem with mine. I do have a problem with AT&T though. Constantly losing a signal that I do not attribute to the iPhone 4. Matter of fact before I purchased the mine I had a Sony Ericson that lost the signal way more than the iPhone. So the iPhone 4 has actually has improved my reception. BTW I am ambidextrous so I constantly switch hands and do not favor one side to the other.

Posted by: dorklord | July 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Did they think their customers, the most tech savy users in the world, wouldn't notice? I think this is what concerns me most now about Apple.

Posted by: polcat | July 13, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

For a company that typically handles the press and public perception so incredibly well, it's amazing that Apple has lost complete control of this issue. From "you're holding it wrong" to the software issue statement, to the leaked customer service instructions, they have brought this upon themselves.

It's a little late to undo the PR damage, but a free bumper to any iPhone4 customer who wants one is a cheap and easy solution.

Posted by: Corn_Laden | July 13, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Headline is definately straight from Faux News....they did not slam the iphone...they just did not recommend it.

BIG differance!!!

Get rid of the copy editors who must be in their tweens!

Posted by: Badger21 | July 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't get why people imply this is a problem for left-handed people. Don't right-handed people usually hold their phone in their left hand so they can use their right hand to write, type, etc. while they are talking? I would expect this to be more of a problem for right-handed people (the majority of the population).

Posted by: Oblio | July 13, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I love it. When a scandal breaks, there is a way to handle it properly, and a way to bungle it. If this is indeed a hardware problem, the way to handle it is a product recall. But the downside is that a product recall will destroy the stock price of Apple...in the short run. But Apple will recover.

The danger (and the gamble) is if it is a hardware problem and Apple tries to minimize the impact that the consumer is feeling by minimizing complaints and deflecting blame. Last time they blamed AT&T, successfully, but I don't think that will work this time. It's a gamble, maybe this will pass. But if it doesn't, they lose. And ultimately they are only delaying a major stock price hit.

This is now an issue about Apples character. Who is Apple, as a corporation? Like I posted before, once they reach major status as an industry leader, their challenge will be if they can keep the wheels on the company. Having worked with Microsoft technologies for the last decade, I know how difficult it can be for a company to "keep the wheels on" once you reach a certain size and market share. Apple is there now.

So this is about company character. What's more important, your brand or your stock price? If they do a recall, it's the brand. If they avoid it at all costs, it's the stock. Plain and simple.

It'll be interesting to see what Apple does now. And even more interesting to see what Apple's cult like followers say and do to defend the company. They were merciless with Microsoft (not that they shouldn't be) so it'll be interesting to see who plays even keeled on both sides of the fence. This is a bungle of Microsoft proportions so I hope they treat Apple the way they treated Microsoft. Or at least they learn that keeping the wheels on is a feat that almost no industry leader can maintain for long.

Posted by: 20yrskinfan | July 13, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I am glad now I didn't jump to upgrade immediately from my 3GS. Think I will wait a bit longer, at least till this problem is fixed.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | July 13, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As a lefty, I am so sick of having to do everything backwards! I'm glad I learned of this issue because I was going to buy one of the new i-phones. Now I will not. I don't like the way Apple is handling this by blaming the consumer.

Posted by: LilyBell | July 13, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

My iPhone 4 is my third and by far the best. I apparently don't upset the signal strength when holding the phone in either hand. I have had no problems at all in my normal use. I can bridge the antenna gap with my finger and watch the bars go away and return when removed. Area's I used to travel through with the 3GS and get dropped calls are now covered by the iPhone 4.
If Steve J really said it, I agree don't hold the phone that way.
This is the best phone Apple has made so far. I believe most negative comments are from people who don't own the phone.

Posted by: LocustGrove | July 13, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

If you own an iPhone 3 or 3S, DO NOT INSTALL ios4. It will slow down your phone and make it extremely unresponsive.

Posted by: WildBill1 | July 13, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse


Parade of the Apple fanboys forms over there.

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 13, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

More like the headline is from the National Enquirer! CR definitely did NOT "slam" Apple or the iPhone or state that the phone is defective. Badger21 has is right -- CR simply stated that the signal loss can be produced through testing and that as a result, they can't recommend the new IPhone 4 to consumers. Read the CR article and see for yourself.

------------------------------------------------Headline is definately straight from Faux News....they did not slam the iphone...they just did not recommend it.

BIG differance!!!

Get rid of the copy editors who must be in their tweens!

Posted by: Badger21 | July 13, 2010 11:53 AM

Posted by: Bob22003 | July 13, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse


People should stop wasting space saying, "My iPhone works fine." CR didn't say that touching the gap would cause any call to drop, they said that they showed it decreasing the signal by 20 dB. This wouldn't be enough to drop a call when the signal is strong.

The whole point of doing a test like this is to see if something's going on that explains why people are saying, "My phone sometime drops calls when I hold it in my left hand." CR has done that.

Apple certainly has a lab capable of doing this, and if they didn't do an obvious test like this, after the reports started circulating, they're stupid. If they did do such a test, and kept denying the clear, quantifiable facts, they learned nothing from the Toyota debacle.

Posted by: rick5 | July 13, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

CR is anti-industry? Why? Because they recommend one product over another? My wife and I always consult the proper issue of CR when considering the purchase of an appliance, lawnmower, car, etc. whether or not our decision is ultimately determined by CR's reviews, it is certainly a useful resource. This remark falls under the category of ...any criticism of a product or a company is anti-business, which it is not.

Posted by: chopin224 | July 13, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Did they think their customers, the most tech savy users in the world, wouldn't notice? I think this is what concerns me most now about Apple.

Posted by: polcat | July 13, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Look!!!!! Another dork who thinks he's cool. LOL Sorry Apple is a second rate product and those that buy them are fools which is mainly the high school and college crowd.
Tech savy LOL sorry but just because you can use a device that doesn’t make you tech savy. No more than driving to work makes you a candidate for NASCAR. But feel free to continue living in your delusions……

Posted by: askgees | July 13, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Landscape orientation drops WiFi connection--a related flaw?

No matter how I grasp (taking care not to short out the antennas) or orient my iPhone 4, if I have it in landscape mode, sooner or later it disconnects from my home WiFi network. It can happen just a few feet from my Netgear Wireless-N router, or in an adjacent room, or downstairs in the family room or kitchen. So, I do not think that signal strength is the issue. And, it never happens in portrait mode, just landscape mode. If I orient the bottom antenna (the WiFi one) in the direction of the router, it seems to take somewhat longer to disconnect, but, sooner or later, it manages to do so. Further, if I quickly re-orient the phone back to portrait mode, it re-acquires the WiFi network almost instantly. But, if I wait too long, I have to re-enter my long password to re-acquire the network. Just today, I had to lock the screen in portrait mode so as not to disconnect from my WiFi accidentally. Not good, Apple!

I reported that to Apple techs over the phone and to the Genius bar guy who took in my iMac for repair, and I got sympathetic "Aha's" and "Ah-so's," but I really got no sense that they reported it on up the line or even cared about it (maybe they are under instruction not to admit to anything regarding the antennas or reception). I have also commented on several on-line reviews of the iPhone. But, nobody chimes in that they, too, experience this kind of disconnect.

Posted by: stevegoldstein | July 13, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Fast Company, with your "The Invincible Apple" cover story this week! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOF!

Posted by: Jerkstore | July 13, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I think this CR test data is the ultimate litmus test for fanboys. If you are defending Apple's BS responses you are a black turtleneck and jeans, Apple flavor aid drinker. Stop defending a company that has cheated and lied to you. Do not feel you have to defend Apple to justify your own purchase they have screwed the pooch and don't want to pay up. The product is defective no matter what straight up LIES Apple is selling about software or bar indicators.

My iphone 1g or 3g made calls with either hand...

Posted by: stikyfingas | July 13, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

What's being left-handed got to do with it?

In any case, I'm right-handed and hold ANY phone in my LEFT hand! I make selections on my iPhone with my dominant RIGHT hand.

Posted by: postgettingworse | July 13, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

What does one expect from typical Apple junk? This company has the highest ratio of prestige to quality of any company on Earth. The Geeks who buy Apple are those least likely to know how to use any real technology, and Apple builds their junk so that Idiots can use it.

Posted by: billaldridge | July 13, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you read the FULL report which states that the iPhone4 is still the BEST:
http://www.macrumors.com/2010/07/12/aside-from-signal-issue-consumer-reports-rates-iphone-4-highest-amongst-all-smartphones/


Stop cherry-picking your 'news' items.

Posted by: repmisc | July 13, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I find it quite amusing that despite this well publicized design defect and Steve Jobs arrogant and misleading statements regarding signal strength (not Apple's fault of course) that Appleheads live on to completely defend a phone with an obvious defect and heap scorn on Consumer Reports. Let's face it, Jobs wouldn't admit that they have a design defect, albeit one that Apple could easily fix with free bumpers, and displayed consumate arrogance and anti consumer dismissiveness regarding this little problem. Appleheads just won't admit that their Tech God gave them a product with an actual flaw and, quite frankly, Apple's "against the giants" cult identity is currently being punctured by a profit driven CEO who is showing his true anti consumer persona. Surely, a horrible PR job by Apple and like any kind of coverup, an admission and a little contrition would have easily have made the whole issue fade away. By the way, if say Blackberry or Motorola had put out such a highly touted and expensive phone and there was such a flaw, Appleheads would be the first to crow about the superiority of their iPhones and constantly dis the other phone makers.

Posted by: fwillyhess | July 13, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: askgees
Look!!!!! Another dork who thinks he's cool. LOL Sorry Apple is a second rate product and those that buy them are fools which is mainly the high school and college crowd.
Tech savy LOL sorry but just because you can use a device that doesn’t make you tech savy. No more than driving to work makes you a candidate for NASCAR. But feel free to continue living in your delusions……
--------------------
Look, as kgees. I work for a Sony company in gaming and our studio is very network heavy. Matter of fact we would fail without a tech savy IT manager who understand the demand that real time access creates nightmares on our servers. He uses a Mac to manage and oversee because he has given up with the BS he had to deal with on any other OS or box. He dual boots Mac OS/Windows and manages with Linux. So stop talking out of your as... because you really are.

Posted by: dorklord | July 13, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If you own an iPhone 3 or 3S, DO NOT INSTALL ios4. It will slow down your phone and make it extremely unresponsive.

Posted by: WildBill1 | July 13, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I second this - my 3G is running very slow with long delays for any app or funtion. Feels like a plot to convince me to upgrade to the 4. Which has me thinking I should check out the competition...

Posted by: EconGirl2 | July 13, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Hah-hah. "Arrogant Steve Jobs", "Typical Apple junk". How come the POSITIVES didn't generate similar large headlines? I am 100% sure that Apple will have a fix. MANY products, most?, have some hiccups. Just experineced one with a Sony product: Sony acknowledged & is making it right. No big deal. The "issue" is NOT technical, as posted comments prove, it is SOCIOLOGICAL. Apple-envy by the less cash-endowed, is similar class-envy that brought you Barry Obama, by those hoping for obama-dollahs. RIGHT. Don't like Apple? DON'T.

Posted by: craigslsst | July 13, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

This begs the question, is the Iphone 4 really a phone? If it has a fundamental communication problem, as reported, then nobody in there right mind would buy one. For all its other great functions, the inability to make (and maintain) a basic phone call should void it from being called a phone at all. Don't forget, the AT&T network is also flawed. Bottomline--Apple and AT&T need to work on some basic communication fixes...

Posted by: buffewo | July 13, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Its funny how Steve Jobs was praising this part of the iphone4. Calling it pretty much a engineer marvel.

Posted by: briank57 | July 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I have an iPhone 4 on order, so you can imagine that I've been following this issue fairly closely. One thing this article doesn't mention is the theory floating around out there that it has to do with a faulty *coating* in some manufactured batches that is supposed to have been applied over the rim antennae. Presumably this is an insulating layer to keep this from occurring. This may explain why many people can't make the problem happen, but many can.

The other issue is that the problem only attenuates the signal, not kills it, so maybe those without the problem live in a high-reception area.

One other thing the article above neglects is that Anandtech's independent tests found that the iPhone 4 has the best reception of any iPhone yet when this is not happening. All this media coverage makes it sound like the 4 has poor reception, which isn't exactly the case.

And speaking of cases, in my mind anyone who buys a $200-300 phone and doesn't put a protective case on it, is a little nuts. That's the first accessory I plan to pick up, and hopefully that makes the problem even less likely to occur.

I can't wait to play with this device. Hopefully the issue in question will be moot with the case.

Posted by: B2O2 | July 13, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

By the way, other than this reception issue that happens to some people in weak areas, CR actually rated it the best smartphone of them all:

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100712/consumer-reports-by-the-way-the-iphone-4-is-also-the-best-smartphone-on-the-market/

So you can focus on the fact that the glass is sometimes one-tenth empty, or that most of the time it is 9/10 full. I'll let you guess which makes the grabbier newspaper headlines during a time when Apple is on top of the tech world!

Posted by: B2O2 | July 13, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Consumer Reports did not tell anyone to NOT buy the iPhone.

Everyone is welcome to purchase this product. But CR's point is well taken in that if your primary function is to be a phone, then you need to do that part within acceptable parameters. As for claims from people who have posted that they have never recreated the problem, this does not negate the fact that problems have been well-documented among other users. Maybe not you, but definitely other users have not had your amazing luck. The same is true for Prius drivers who have never had a problem like the ones experienced by other owners prompting a much publicized recall. I drive a Prius and have never experienced any brake issue but I am aware of the recall incident.

For the comment regarding CR being anti-industry, a company that advocates better products for consumers does not make one "anti-industry". In fact, it is "pro-industry". It encourages the production of better products enhancing industry standards.

I recommend reading the famous case of Consumer Reports v. Sharper Image. Sharper Image used to sell this ionic breeze product claiming air purification. CR gave the product a "FAIL" rating because it performed lower than conventional home HEPA air filters. Basically, what CR was saying is this purchase would be unnecessary, does not do anything and is essentially "snake oil". Sharper Image sued CR for defamation. But the case came down to the fact that Sharper Image could not prove that CR's claims were false. They could not debunk a single claim nor could they disprove the test results handed by CR.

CR, like any publication, has made erroneous claims as well such as claims on car seats and dog foods - claims that have been disputed, re-tested and on some occasions corrected and retracted.

Ultimately, it is up to the consumer to decide to buy the product or not. But I think it is a good and healthy idea to read up on the issues with whatever product you are buying. In the end, hopefully we all end up becoming more informed and educated consumers.

Besides, it sounds like other than the dropped reception, CR seems to not have a problem with the iPhone's other features. So get a nice case or just start calling the device the "iDropCallsButIAmASweeeeetDigitalAssistant".

Posted by: CTheSlayer | July 13, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hello all Memphis Tennessee Iphone user here. I have the Iphone4 and I had the Iphone 3Gs and the problems are accurate. In my home I previously could get alright signal strength with the 3Gs now I can barley get a call out when I enter my neighborhood. Signal strength sucks!

Posted by: ttparks | July 13, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I live in a cold climate where temperatures of -60°F are not uncommon during the winter months. Many of us use synthetic motor oils because they have been shown to greatly reduce engine wear during cold starts.

Quite a few years ago, Consumer Reports tested synthetic motor oils in taxis, in NYC, if I recall correctly. Taxi engines rarely encounter cold starts. CR concluded that there was no significant difference in engine wear between regular and synthetic oils and that they could not recommend the use of synthetic oils due to the cost differential.

They clearly used the worst possible test conditions. Rubbing together a couple of blocks of aluminum, taken from a freezer at -60°F, would have yielded better information.

Ever since that report, I have always viewed CR with great scepticism. Time has failed to restore my confidence in the publication's objectivity.

Posted by: YukonCat | July 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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