Apple's iPhone 4S is recommended by Consumer Reports, which previously refused to grant the same high-profile designation to the iPhone 4.
Apple's iPhone 4S has been officially recommended by
Consumer Reports. That could prove a minor relief for Apple, whose previous
smartphone, the iPhone 4, did not receive a recommendation from the watchdog
Consumer Reports' issues with the iPhone 4 centered on the
smartphone's infamous antenna issues. Soon after the device rolled out in
summer 2010, a subset of users reported a signal drop whenever their bare skin
touched a specific part of the exterior antenna rim. Apple eventually dealt
with the issue by offering its iPhone 4 customers free rubber bumpers, which
covered the rim.
"In special reception tests of the iPhone 4S that duplicated
those we did on the iPhone 4, the newer phone did not display the same
reception flaw," Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas wrote in a Nov. 8 note. "The
iPhone 4, which is still available, continues to exhibit that problem, we confirmed
in tests of new samples of the phone."
Consumer Reports rated the iPhone 4S higher than the iPhone
4, due mostly to its combination of upgraded hardware, including Apple's
proprietary A5 processor and 8-megapixel camera, and new Siri "digital assistant."
However, a handful of Android smartphones-including the Samsung Galaxy S
II-still managed to top the iPhone 4S in the organization's estimation.
Consumer Reports also carried out some "special tests" on
the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 battery life, after "some users complained on user
forums of short run times with some samples of both phones." It found the
smartphones -displayed no notable battery problems" in those additional tests.
Apple had acknowledged a "few bugs" affecting the battery
life of some iOS 5 devices, confirming earlier reports by users around the
"A small number of customers have reported lower than
expected battery life on iOS 5 devices," Apple wrote in a Nov. 2 statement to AllThingsD.
"We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a
software update to address those in a few weeks."
The iPhone 4S managed to sell 4 million units by the end of
its first weekend of release, reaffirming the smartphone franchise's popularity
among consumers. During Apple's Oct. 18 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook suggested
the company is doing everything to ensure iPhone 4S supply remains adequate to
holiday demand. "We're confident that we will have a large supply," he said. "I
don't want to predict when supply and demand might balance. ... I'm confident we will set an all-time record
for iPhone this quarter."
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.