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Consumer Reports points to reception issues

The body blows just keep coming for Apple and its iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 was unveiled to much fanfare at beginning of June, but once customers started receiving their phones, problems began being reported.

Customers first started complaining about yellowed screens, problems with the proximity sensor, and issues with reception due to the external antenna on the iPhone 4. The latter problem has resulted in a class action lawsuit against both Apple and AT&T.

Earlier this month during lab testing, Consumer Reports stated that "there's no reason, at least yet, to forgo buying an iPhone 4 over its reception concerns."

Today, however, it is reversing its stance after testing more phones in a radio frequency (RF) isolation chamber. Consumer Reports' findings pretty much mirror what everyone has been stating for the past several weeks with regards to the iPhone 4's reception woes. "When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone's lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area with a weak signal," said Mike Gikas on the Consumer Reports blog. "Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4."

Gikas goes on to state that an unsightly fix for the reception issue is to put a piece of tape over the gap between the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and cellular radio antennas.

The iPhone 4 was rated highly due to its sharp Retina display, Face Time video chat, and its stellar battery life, but the lingering reception issues mean that the phone won't be getting the recommended rating.

"Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4," Gikas concluded.


Updated 7/12/2010 @ 9:54 pm

Engadget is reporting that Apple is now deleting all references to the Consumer Reports posting from its discussions forums...

 



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Just buy a Microcell.
By GruntboyX on 7/12/2010 12:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Geez... just buy a couple of micro-cells and place them everywhere you expect to make a phone call. Including put one in your car have it hooked up to a verizon mi-fi. Problem solved.

I dont know what people are whining about.




RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By epsilonparadox on 7/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By GruntboyX on 7/12/2010 12:36:55 PM , Rating: 5
I take it you missed my tone of sarcasm.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Motoman on 7/12/2010 12:44:06 PM , Rating: 5
You'll find that a great many people on the internet are utterly incapable of detecting sarcasm, regardless of how drippingly it was applied.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By bhieb on 7/12/2010 1:13:53 PM , Rating: 5
That is because sarcasm is primarily a voice phenomenon and does not translate well to text. Detecting it is a learned ability, one that children often struggle with. To detect it takes more than just the content of what is being expressed, tone of voice, life experience, and body movement are crucial. Because these cannot be expressed in written text, it is not always easy to pick up.

God you are soooo dumb! Am I being sarcastic?


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By bhieb on 7/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By PAPutzback on 7/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Motoman on 7/13/2010 1:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone I know has a smartphone. Including one person with an iPhone.

None of them have a "protective case."


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Cypherdude1 on 7/14/2010 10:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Updated 7/12/2010 @ 9:54 pm
Engadget is reporting that Apple is now deleting all references to the Consumer Reports posting from its discussions forums...
It's unbelievable that Apple is deleting posts in its discussion forums regarding this problem. However, I understand Apple has done this before. Once Apple, which in the late 70's early 80's had this "hippie" image, supposedly cared about its customers. Now we see this is no longer the case. In fact, in many ways they're worse than other companies. At least other companies don't remove and censor dissent.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Motoman on 7/12/2010 6:11:50 PM , Rating: 5
In school, people are taught to read. As in, books, primarily. Sarcasm is frequently used in books. And as far as I am aware, no books have had to resort to [/sarcasm] tags to inform the reader that the previous passage was sarcastic.

It comes from the context of the passage. Such that it is obvious to anyone who's not a moron that your last comment there is sarcastic.

That, and the three superfluous "Os" in "so."


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By zonkie on 7/13/2010 12:21:42 AM , Rating: 2
If it comes with everything you need, they blew it.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By bhieb on 7/13/2010 2:07:17 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, then how many people "not getting it" does there need to be in order for it to be the author's inability to convey it vs. your assumption that it is the reader's fault. IMO, in written communications the reader cannot "take something wrong", rather only the author can poorly convey it.

Your assertion that it is somehow the reader's fault is incorrect. If, as you say, "most of the people on the internet don't get it", then I'd suggest that if the majority cannot then the ineptness lies with the author. Most of the author's on the internet cannot accurately convey it. Clearly that was the case here as there was more than one person that did not pick up on it.

Sarcasm is a tricky thing. Stating something (verbally or in writing) that is the opposite of what you mean, is not easy to convey or comprehend. My only contention was that your assertion that it is the reader's fault (or stupidity as you so implied), is not entirely accurate.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By tigen on 7/13/2010 2:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
in written communications the reader cannot "take something wrong", rather only the author can poorly convey it


Except in reality people have reading comprehension issues, or else they just make mistakes. Or someone could be slightly stupid. Recognizing sarcasm, or at least the possibility of it, just takes a moment of thought instead of taking something, knee-jerk, on face value.

Although sarcasm seems culture-related too. Also, the related phenomenon of deliberately misleading somebody as a joke. You need to have been bitten by it to recognize it.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By MozeeToby on 7/13/2010 4:00:17 PM , Rating: 1
"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."

-Nathan Poe

Originally applied to creationism, then expanded to all religious fundamentalism, then to fundamentalism in general. Odd that technology fanboy-ism is now indistinguishable from other forms of fundamentalism.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By MrBlastman on 7/12/2010 12:48:02 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I dont know what people are whining about.


Hmm, lets see here, what could people be whining about?

Could it be...

1. People have to shell out 200 - 300.00 of their hard earned money _and_ submit to a 2-year AT&T Wireless contract to buy the phone.

2. People have to agree to allow Apple to track them via GPS and other possible means in order to be able to use the app store.

3. Apple insists that people are "holding their expensive phone wrong" rather than try to address the physical problem.

4. Apple is so concerned about profits that people kill themselves working in the factories that make their phones--profits that only cost them 2.00 more per phone to double the wages of those making the phones.

I could go on, should I?

There is PLENTY that people should be whining about here! If you don't see it, you have been had and are already under Jobs control.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By MrBlastman on 7/12/2010 12:49:12 PM , Rating: 5
... annd apparently I missed the sarcasm. :) Sorry. I suppose that is what an attack of vertigo will cause.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By KillerNoodle on 7/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2010 6:41:12 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
3. Apple designed the phone to their specs, which included proper holding of the phone.


Since when do designs for cellular phones include "proper phone holding"? Can you find me any documentation or evidence that a proper antenna design in cell phones are dependent upon how they are held for ANYONE else besides Apple for you to get proper reception?

You are being a fanboi. It's embarrassing that you actually posted that.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By KillerNoodle on 7/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Tony Swash on 7/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2010 6:47:44 PM , Rating: 4
Tony you're carrying the torch for Apple here admirably, but I think you are missing one key fact, the whole Consumer Reports Not Recommending the iPhone. Remember?

quote:
Much as the reception issues with Iphone have delighted those scared by its success it only effects a minority and in very particular circumstances.


Right, it's such a minor problem that, again, Consumer Reports can't recommend this phone. Hello? That's not "minor". The whole point of a phone is so you can, you know, TALK TO PEOPLE! It's bad enough iPhone users are slaved to a shitty provider but then they get the double whammy of having a phone with the WORST TESTED antenna in the industry.

Seriously man, get a clue. Please?

(predicting your next response will be to somehow accuse Consumer Reports of not being credible)


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Senju on 7/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By afkrotch on 7/13/2010 12:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
The US is just a much bigger country. It takes more than 1 cellphone tower to cover the US, unlike apparently your tiny country that has reception everywhere.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By semiconshawn on 7/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Tony Swash on 7/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By afkrotch on 7/13/2010 12:45:36 AM , Rating: 5
What good is a product that has a good display, navigation, web browsing, multimedia, and battery life, if it doesn't get reception?

How is that logical? What good is all of that if I pretty much can't use it?

I can go with a different phone that's cheaper, doesn't have reception problems, and is just 2 points below it.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By themaster08 on 7/13/2010 4:43:50 AM , Rating: 5
Tony obviously finds it comforting to make himself believe that this is only a minor issue.

It doesn't matter how highly the iPhone 4 scored in the initial testing. The antenna design error is a shortcoming that cannot be compensated in any circumstances, because that's what it is. A phone. Using blanket statements will not rid you of that fact I'm afraid, Tony.

When the most fundamental function of a device is flawed, how can that device be recommended regardless of how great its other features are?

You obviously haven't watched the Consumer Reports video. Covering the gap between the two antennas with your hand accounts for a 20dB drop in signal, which is enough to drop a call. They tested multiple iPhone 4s, also the previous iterations, and also tested other phones and other networks, and found the problem to most definitely be the antenna in the iPhone 4.

We have to remember here that not only will it drop calls, you web experience over 3G will be non-existent. Ultimately that will result in an unsatisfactory web experience using the iPhone 4.

We are all aware that covering the antenna band will rid the user of this issue, but we have to also remember how Apple are dealing with all of this, and yet again, like all of their problems, they're dealing with it horribly.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By msheredy on 7/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/13/2010 6:50:37 PM , Rating: 4
lol Ok Tony. You MUST work for Apple. Again, you seem to miss the big picture here.

You know what, I'm going to go out and build the most bad ass, feature laden, high tech car on the planet!!! And then throw a faulty ignition system in it so it doesn't start most of the time. Enjoy your highest rated full featured garage queen, by all means.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Reclaimer77 on 7/13/2010 6:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
lol Ok Tony. You MUST work for Apple. Again, you seem to miss the big picture here.

You know what, I'm going to go out and build the most bad ass, feature laden, high tech car on the planet!!! And then throw a faulty ignition system in it so it doesn't start most of the time. Enjoy your highest rated full featured garage queen, by all means.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By theapparition on 7/12/2010 10:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not if you choose to opt out which is simple. Its worth noting that Android users cannot opt out from Google surveillance - that's how Google makes its money.

Sorry, but you have that backwards.

It is quite easy to opt out of Google's location service, but with Apple, if you want apps, then you have no choice.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Tony Swash on 7/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By niaaa on 7/13/2010 5:03:54 AM , Rating: 3
Android - you can use positioning if you want. Actually you can setup GSM positioning and GPS positionning as you wish. I even have a widget to do that in 1 tap.

iOS4 - you use positioning because it's good for you - You just don't know it yet. And if you don't want apple to locate you at all times, you'd better don't need the market.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By djc208 on 7/13/2010 7:23:34 AM , Rating: 4
But Google provides you with services and content for free in return. You can have your e-mail, calender, pictures, videos, directions, news, and even phone calls through Google for free, (or small fees if you want more space/services). Even Android is free to the phone developers. In return they get to monitor what you do on their network over their system, in order to sell advertising.

Apple makes you buy their phone, then insists that for you have the priveledge of buying apps, music, and video through their network you have to tell them where you are so they can make more money off you by pushing advertising to your phone on your dime.

So Apple makes money off the phone, they probably get something back from the cell plan, they make money off the apps/music/video in the app-store, and now their going to make money selling adds to their own mini-billboards.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By mcnabney on 7/13/2010 3:29:54 PM , Rating: 2
Apple gets a big chunk of the data plan that AT&T charges. This backend cost is what borked the original deal with Verizon.

Blocking Flash forces iPhone users to purchase everything through the App store instead of using Flash-enabled games off of the web.

There is nothing wrong with this. It is just business. It is only disappointing because the iSheep are distorting the market by allowing a single business to bend rules that are strictly held to others.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Anoxanmore on 7/13/2010 8:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hope that all came out OK - just finished a long hike near Moab in 105 degrees and felling fairly pooped

You mean Jordan, like the middle east? You posted this at 12 am EST. It would be 6 am in Jordan... the temp was around 85. If it was Moab Utah @ 10 PM MST, it was around 75.

Are you lying again Tony? ;)


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Tony Swash on 7/13/2010 11:32:26 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
You mean Jordan, like the middle east?


No I mean Moab Utah. My wife and I hiked a few miles up up through Negro Bill Canyon (unfortunate name) to see the the third largest natural bridge in the USA. Much of the hike is is in the sun and it was over a 100 when we started in late afternoon.

The hike is great, it follows a lovely stream most of the way, the canyon walls are spectacular as is the bridge itself. There is even a small ice cold spring at the end.

But boy was it hot. I am from London so walking up hills over rough terrain, at altitude, in 100+ degrees kills me (plus I am 58 so not as strong as I used to be) and you have to pour water down your throat the whole time.

Great hike but once back at the motel it was a case of one quick post on this forum (that's how much I love you guys!), a jug of water followed by a small gin and tonic followed by deep unconsciousness.

Great day.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By AstroGuardian on 7/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Scott66 on 7/13/2010 5:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
In Canada it is a three year contract but we have three different cell phone carriers to choose from. Problem is they all over charge and have crappy data usage caps.

People have the option of paying for a non subsidized phone but 6oo bucks is a little steep for legal phone carrier freedom


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By CZroe on 7/12/2010 2:00:40 PM , Rating: 4
Even if you were serious, it doesn't fix the face sensor and Bluetooth problems my brother an I have had with all three of our iPhone 4 handsets. What options do we have? ;)

To elaborate:
The noise canceling mic seems to continue canceling if you connect your Bluetooth headset during a call and muffles you beyond recognition. Even when it doesn't because you were connected before the call, the signal is SO bad that the headsets continually disconnect and reconnect mid-call, triggering the other issue as well (the connections were solid with previous iPhone models using the same headsets).

So, you can't use Bluetooth and you might as well hold the phone (WITH A CASE! ;))... that's what we resorted to today as I talked for all of 15 minutes. Completely aware of the face sensor always failing and causing unintended mutes and hang-ups, we were both pressing the phones to our faces in exaggerated fashions and yet we still hung up on eachother four times (me once; him thrice). One of those times was as he was taking the phone away from his face. He watched as the screen came on and the "End Call" button flashed. Grrr... his has already been replaced for both issues. I'm waiting in case a silent revision kicks in with current stock. The muffling problem is likely a software issue but I'm not so sure about the disconnecting BT and face sensor problem.

You can't hold it. You can't use BT. If you aren't in a place adequate for speaker phone, you're just screwed.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By wgbutler on 7/13/2010 8:22:39 AM , Rating: 1
quote:

You can't hold it. You can't use BT. If you aren't in a place adequate for speaker phone, you're just screwed.


You are still within the 30 day return period. Just take all three of your iPhone 4s back for a full refund and get Android phones or whatever else floats your boat. No need to file a big class action lawsuit or jump on some Apple-bashing bandwagon.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By priusone on 7/13/2010 7:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
And no one has considered that maybe the reception issue is because of body theatons? Some one should contact Tom Cruise and find out.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By Quadrillity on 7/13/2010 7:33:36 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Some one should contact Tom Cruise and find out


Can't. He won't come out of the closet.


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By LRonaldHubbs on 7/13/2010 10:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
Could I interest you in an e-meter?


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By jasonball365 on 7/15/2010 1:24:09 PM , Rating: 2
Can't contact Tom Cruise, he's got an iPhone 4...


RE: Just buy a Microcell.
By stimudent on 7/13/2010 8:11:02 AM , Rating: 3
It looks like the iPhone 4 is Apple's version of Windows ME and/or Windows Vista.


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