∞ Consumer Reports smacks down Apple, iPhone 4 again

Apple can sell millions of iPhones in a single quarter, but the company can’t seem to catch a break from Consumer Reports. Reacting to Apple’s decision to discontinue its free iPhone Bumper case program as of September 30, Consumer Reports calls Apple’s approach “less consumer-friendly.” When the current program ends, consumers will have to call Apple and request a case if they feel their iPhone is faulty.

In discontinuing the program, Apple said the antenna issue was even smaller then they originally thought. “A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010,” the company said.

Despite Apple’s findings and the fact that Apple has shown that other phones in the market also exhibit the same antenna problems, Consumer Reports will not recommend the device.

“Putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us,” wrote Consumer Reports. “We therefore continue not to recommend the iPhone 4, and to call on Apple to provide a permanent fix for the phone’s reception issues.

Consumer Reports caused some confusion earlier this year when it announced the iPhone 4 had scored highest in its smartphone ratings, which was good news for Apple. However, on the same day, it said it couldn’t recommend the iPhone 4.

  • WooDz

    Have I got an IP4? yes. Do I have an antenna issue? yes. Do I have a bumper? Yes. Do I still get signal drop outs? Yes. Would I have bought the IP4 knowing about this apparent huge design fault? YES!!!

    Who listens to CR anyway?

    • Lucas

      Are you very possibly a victim of crap ATT service in your area? Hell yes.

      Even Consumer Reports referenced ‘areas with poor ATT coverage’ in their report.

      There is NOT a hardware flaw in the iphone 4. Unless you consider being unable to magically overcome the carrier’s issues a defect.

  • Has consumer reports ever showed the slightest hint of evidence that the decrease in bars actually translates into a decrease in performance?

  • Last month my wife and I went shopping for a new refrigerator and washing machine to replace older models that were well past their prime.

    Consumer Reports was summarily useless in providing us with any sort of systematic analysis to help us decide what we should buy.

    I assume their cell phone coverage is comparable.

  • Derik

    No, but it’s trivially proven using the speed test app.

  • This may be an issue in low reception areas in countries with providers such as AT&T but I certainly can’t see the issue in Australia.

    Yes I can get it to drop a bar, sometimes two but not to the point where I drop a call. In fact, this is my third year with an iPhone and I’ve never dropped a call.

    • WooDz

      I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve had a dropped call but this has happened now only twice since the beginning of August. However; I like to look at the whole picture. A phone in the traditional sense was to vocally communicate. Over a 130 years later we’ve progressed a bit further and people seeking an ‘all-in-one’ device are hard pushed to find something better and more versatile than the iPhone. Yes one competitor may have a better camera but web-browsing is a disaster. Another device may make a great Navigation device, but you can’t buy apps for it.

      I think CR are a bit too blinkered on many of their reviews. I’m a SAAB enthusiast and CR doesn’t look lightly on this brand either. Sometimes I feel with CR; your face has to fit. You have to be in trend and in general CR like to over-exaggerate any deficiency.

  • I love my iphone, I can connect to the web anywhere and never had an issue with the signal drop

  • John

    Why is it that European and Australian papers have looked at the iPhone 4 and not seen the flaw found by CR? CR is really losing credibility. I’ve had an iPhone 4 for over a month now and haven’t seen the issue they raised. I’ve had three iPhones and this is by far the best of the bunch.

  • Robb

    I hear no complaints from iP4 users including my wife who got one for her birthday last month. She loves it. I told her about the problems reported in CR and she comment “No problem with mine.” Then, I attempted to show her how the signal could be dropped or dissipated by handling. As I contorted to make it happen, she looked at me with incredulity and muttered, “Why would you go to the trouble of doing that? Why would anybody?” Of course my answer is some people love walking around with poles up their ass and complain about anything or everything… She said, “Why don’t they just buy a Motorola phone or Nokia if they enjoy complaining all the time? That would give them something to complain about!”

  • Chanson de Roland

    CR has a major problem: Based on the data that Apple has provided, the iPhone 4’s alleged reception problem doesn’t exist. Typically, before a manufacture thinks that it might have design or manufacturing flaw in a device, it would need to see reliable reports of a problem of at least, and this is a very low threshold, 5 percent (5.0%). But at his news conference on the iPhone 4 antenna controversy, Mr. Jobs said that Apple received only 0.055% complaints about the iPhone 4’s reception for any reason, antenna or otherwise. That is about 1/100 of the amount needed to indicate any kind of flaw, whether of manufacturing or design, with the iPhone 4’s antenna, if all the complaints about the iPhone 4’s reception had been solely about its antenna, which they weren’t.

    Now Apple tells us, without giving a specific number, that the actual number of complaint is something less than 0.055%, and remember that Apple is the sole provider of support for it iOS devices, so virtually all complaints about its iOS devices come to Apple. I don’t think that CR has ever before failed to recommend a smartphone for a problem that has less than 0.055% reports of a defect.

    And what is the percentage of reports of faulty reception for the other smartphones that CR does recommend? I don’t know, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that CR doesn’t know either. But what I do know is that outside of the U.S. the vast majority of other news organizations, carriers, and experts from Asia to Europe to Australia can’t identify any systematic problem with the iPhone 4’s reception that is any worst than its peers, and many, if not most, of those sources report that the iPhone 4 has better reception than its peers.

    So with no evidence of a problem Apple has decided to end the iPhone 4’s free case program, which, I think, was never more anything more than Apple’s attempt to provide a PR solution to the iPhone 4’s nonexistent problem with reception.

    • Lucas

      forget Apple’s potentially trumped up evidence in their own favor. Look at the comments all over the internet from users

      1. lack of overwhelming complaints of reception issues out of the US
      2. folks saying they still have great reception even with only one bar 3 folks saying ATT has always sucked in their area

      CR is sticking to their non recommendation because if they recant they look stupid.

      • AT&T has always sucked in my area, but they suck worse on the iPhone 4. Having said that, there are some locations where my 3G didn’t work very well that my iPhone 4 works better, so this isn’t a categorical situation by any stretch of the imagination.