Apple's iPhone 4 faced its second non-recommendation from Consumer Reports, which claims Apple's new antenna-bumper policy is less than consumer-friendly.
Apple may have tried to close the case on its iPhone 4 antenna issues, but Consumer Reports
seems to have other
Within days of the iPhone 4's blockbuster launch this summer, some owners
began complaining about a dampened signal whenever their bare skin touched the
smartphone's exterior antenna rim. On the strength of those complaints, and
its own internal testing
refused to endorse the device.
"When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone's lower left
side-an easy thing, especially for lefties-the signal can degrade enough to
cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area with a weak
signal," Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas blogged July 12
"Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4."
Two weeks later, Apple launched a free bumper giveaway to anyone purchasing
an iPhone 4 before October 2010. The bumpers cover the antenna rim, supposedly
correcting the issue. By Sept. 10, the company posted a note on its Web site
declaring the whole controversy at an end: "We are discontinuing the free
case program on all iPhone 4's sold after Sept. 30, 2010.... Users experiencing antenna
issues should call AppleCare to request a free bumper case."
But in a Sept. 13 blog posting, Consumer
-considered a trusted source for product advice-declared Apple's
policy "less [than] consumer-friendly in several respects." In particular,
the publication cited the need for consumers to call AppleCare as a
"Putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a
design flaw is not acceptable to us," the publication wrote
in the blog posting
. "We therefore continue not to recommend the
iPhone 4, and to call on Apple to provide a permanent fix for the phone's
non-recommendation, in July, seemed to have little effect on the iPhone 4's
overall sales. "My phone is ringing off the hook [from] people that want
more supply," Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook said during a July 20
earnings call, in response to an analyst's question about whether the antenna
issues were affecting the phone's marketplace prospects. "Right now, it is
hard to address the real question you're asking about-'Is there an effect or
not?'-because we're selling everything we can make. You can't run an experiment
Apple executives previously announced that the company would pay out roughly
$175 million in free rubber bumpers.