Print 111 comment(s) - last by jasonball365.. on Jul 15 at 1:24 PM

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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Not So Fast.
By clovell on 7/12/2010 2:37:30 PM , Rating: -1
Fahlcor said something similar, but Anand did a completely nerd-level investigation of this problem and concluded that any type of cover on the iPhone 4 would basically solve the problem. He also went further to say that it whoops the 3GS's a$$ when it comes to maintaining signal in marginal areas.

Sorry to bust everyone's apple-hating bubbles, here - I know it's a pretty embarassing issue for Apple, but it's an easy fix. Like Fahlcor said - free phone cover with every iPhone 4 purchase (just like the Wiimote 'debacle').

RE: Not So Fast.
By Brandon Hill on 7/12/2010 2:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
But shouldn't Apple just fix the glitch? I understand what you're saying, but you shouldn't have to buy a case to make your phone works as advertised.

RE: Not So Fast.
By clovell on 7/12/2010 3:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
Oh definitely, they should - it never should've made it out of design, much less engineering & QC. It reeks of a complete lack of field-testing. Apple should take a page from Nintendo, and mail out some nice phone cases to all current users, and bundle cases with all future purchases.

And, that's just for starters. At some point, they'll have to think of something more permanent and not rely on an accessory to ensure functionality.

RE: Not So Fast.
By Solandri on 7/12/2010 4:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
it never should've made it out of design, much less engineering & QC. It reeks of a complete lack of field-testing.

Since they lost a pre-production sample in the field, evidently they were field testing it. The problem was they were so paranoid about the field test phones being spotted in public, that they required them to be placed within a case to disguise its looks. Which also disguised the problem from their field testing.

Note to clueless managers and marketers: Field testing means using the phone in the field as typical consumers would use them.

RE: Not So Fast.
By clovell on 7/12/2010 5:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, geeze - hadn't realized that. I nominate Apple for Self-PotY.

RE: Not So Fast.
By Dennis Travis on 7/13/2010 3:57:59 AM , Rating: 1
Brandon, don't take this as a put down as it's not, but how would Apple fix the issue without a total redesign of the external antenna bands with some kind of coating on them so they would not be touched by the skin? How could apple give the fix to existing iPhone users? That is the part that has me scratching my head.

Recall every iPhone 4 and give the people a new one with the Antenna fix? That would cost Apple a lot of $$$! :D

RE: Not So Fast.
By EasyC on 7/12/2010 2:49:29 PM , Rating: 5
Hate to bust all the fruit-fanboys but the absolute, must-have function of any smart phone is to function effectively as a phone. When you design a phone that fails at this, then blame the consumer, then offer a bogus band-aid fix, you deserve ALL the ridicule you receive. Especially when you walk with the swagger of Steve Jobs.

RE: Not So Fast.
By clovell on 7/12/2010 3:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
You'll get no arguement from me there. Just expect the ridicule to be short-lived.

RE: Not So Fast.
By afkrotch on 7/13/2010 1:52:40 AM , Rating: 2
Not just a regular bogus band-aid fix. A $40 band-aid fix. Not even free.

Nintendo messed up the Wiimote. So, they gave out new wrist straps and a rubber condom for all Wiimotes already out there and every new one coming out. They didn't charge $40 for that.

RE: Not So Fast.
By Sazar on 7/12/2010 4:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
Basically, seat of the pants feel with my iphone 4 shows that it indeed has far superior signal quality than my old 3G.

The issue is that there are a multitude of users who DO have an issue and not just with the signal reception when holding the phone with the "death grip".

Many are also reporting issues with the proximity sensor and other problems.

And, I think that the Apple bumper case is one of the worst things ever. It almost REQUIRES you to purchase a whole new set of accessories for your phone. I'd rather buy something with better protection that is actually compatible with other products than have to buy a new Apple case and a bunch of new Apple branded peripherals to make it work.

There is retardation in this on many different levels, even though I actually do like the product because the screen is fantastic and the cameras are well above average. I just don't like the execution of all other aspects of the launch.

RE: Not So Fast.
By afkrotch on 7/13/2010 1:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
Well, the fact that Apple already had the rubberband case out there, means they must have knew the issue was an issue.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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