Apple's Taking Two to the Chin Today

This is shaping up to be an ugly month for Apple. First, the big, big, big news: Consumer Reports announced on Monday that its engineers have demonstrated problems with the iPhone 4's reception; these problems are serious enough that the respected product testing outfit is retracting its earlier recommendation of the

This is shaping up to be an ugly month for Apple.

First, the big, big, big news: Consumer Reports announced on Monday that its engineers have demonstrated problems with the iPhone 4's reception; these problems are serious enough that the respected product testing outfit is retracting its earlier recommendation of the device.

Here's CR's statement, which includes a description of the tests that were performed and a video depicting the problem.

In short, it's all about the antenna gap; Apple's promised software update that is supposed to fix the display of signal-strength bars won't address this issue. Oh, and it's still nowhere in sight; as we approach the end of iPhone 4 Week 3, I'm not even hearing rumors about when this might be released to the field.

For a short-term fix, CR suggests that a piece of duct tape will provide an effective kludge.

Meanwhile, on the backup front, Apple is quietly fessing up to well-reported problems with its early Time Capsule WiFi base station with hard drive. It seems that units made between February and June 2008 have power supply issues; certain units either fail to power up altogether or shut down unexpectedly after startup. One Website started collecting user tales of woe in October 2009, and compiled a list of 2,500 dead Time Capsules, as units started to go belly up about a year and a half after being placed into service.

Now, Apple's finally stepping up to the plate and admitting that, just maybe, there might be a problem. The company announced on Friday that it would repair or replace affected units within a specific serial number range, but as others have noted, the problem may be inherent to the Time Capsule's design.