Saturday, August 1, 2015

More iPhone egg on Apple's face as tests confirm flaw

Consumer Reports has added insult to Apple's latest self-inflicted injuries: The magazine said today that it had given the iPhone 4 its dreaded "not recommended" rating, because holding it the wrong way degrades the signal. Its tests confirm what many iPhone users already knew.

More iPhone egg on Apple's face as tests confirm flaw

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First there was the unusual buzz about something bad, not amazing or awesome, on the new Apple iPhone: signal problems when users held it the wrong way.

Then there was Apple’s awkward suggestion that part of the problem was that the iPhone misleads users regarding how much signal strength is actually available —  and that older iPhone had the same flaw, often showing two more “bars” than they should, all because of a newly identified bug in the iPhone's software. (Click here to see Apple's letter to iPhone users explaining the software flaw.)

Now Consumer Reports has added insult to Apple’s self-inflicted injuries: The magazine said Monday that it had given the iPhone 4 its dreaded “not recommended” rating, after its independent tests confirmed what many iPhone users had already learned the hard way. (Click here to watch a video showing the signal interruption.)

Ironically, CR says it otherwise really loved the iPhone 4:

The iPhone scored high, in part because it sports the sharpest display and best video camera we've seen on any phone, and even outshines its high-scoring predecessors with improved battery life and such new features as a front-facing camera for video chats and a built-in gyroscope that turns the phone into a super-responsive game controller. But Apple needs to come up with a permanent — and free — fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4.

Here's a guess that Apple will come through with a fix - even if it's just giving out free cases to disgruntled customers (a solution Apple has reportedly resisted). Otherwise, you'll see lots of iPhone users who took Consumer Reports' suggestion for a jury-rigged fix: a tiny piece of duct tape across the antenna opening.

For a company that thrives on cool, I'm betting the duct-tape solution just won't cut it.  Not to mention the matter of those lawsuits already cropping up.

(Click here to read more about Consumer Reports' testing of the iPhone 4.)
 

Inquirer Business Columnist
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About this blog

Jeff Gelles, who writes the Inquirer's weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns, takes a broad look at the marketplace of goods, services, and ideas.

Reach Jeff at jgelles@phillynews.com.

Jeff Gelles Inquirer Business Columnist
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