Posts Tagged ‘reception problems’

Consumer Reports says it won’t recommend iPhone 4

July 12th, 2010
According to a blog printed today by Consumer Reports, the Apple iPhone 4 is not a recommended buy. Despite strong sales of the phone, Consumer Reports says reception problems are real.

Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 units in the first three days of sales, making it the most successful product launch in Apple’s history.

But when news surfaced about iPhone 4 reception issues, Apple went into defence mode and denied claims of widespread problems.

According to early iPhone 4 users, reception can drop when the phone is held in certain ways. Apple CEO Steve Jobs responded directly to some customer criticism, saying “Just avoid holding it in this way.”

Apple later issued a more formal statement in response to growing media reports of reception problems, saying:

“Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”
Now, popular review site Consumer Reports is confirming the iPhone 4 does suffer from a defect that can affect reception.

Consumer Reports‘ engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception,” the publication states in a new blog post. “When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.”

Consumer Reports says it tested three iPhone 4 devices purchased from three separate retailers in New York. In a controlled environment not susceptible to outside interference from radio signals, Consumer Reports says the iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre did not suffer from signal-loss problems affecting the iPhone 4.

“Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4′s signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that ‘mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength’,” Consumer Reports writes.

Consumer Reports testing also indicated AT&T’s network may not be the primary suspect for reception problems. The signal issue is the reason Consumer Reports does not give a “recommended” rating for the iPhone 4.

To fix the issue, the publication says, users need to cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape.

“Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4,” Consumer Reports says.

Apple facing growing criticism over poor iPhone 4 reception

June 25th, 2010

It’s been one of the most anticipated product launches in the cellphone world: The Apple iPhone 4 went on sale in a number of countries yesterday. However, despite strong sales, Apple is now facing a barrage of criticism about serious reception problems.

The Apple iPhone 4 went on sale in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom June 24. Boasting a number of new features and upgrades over previous versions, Apple has seen strong sales.

According to reports, a survey of iPhone customers shows a total of 77 percent of sales are upgrades. That means nearly two-thirds of all iPhone 4 owners are previous iPhone owners.

“Apple has in three years built brand loyalty in the phone market that compels users to upgrade to the latest version and wait in line for one to six hours to pick up their iPhone,” said Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster in a report to clients issued early Friday. Munster believes Apple will sell between 1 million to 1.5 million iPhones in the first three days alone.

Despite strong sales, however, reports and videos demonstrating iPhone reception problems are flooding the Web. Many iPhone 4 users are reporting reception problems when they cover the outer bezel that wraps the phone. More specifically, when one’s hand bridges the left and bottom antennas, reception drops.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs touted the unique antenna design at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference this year, saying it was “brilliant.” Real-world use, however, suggests the iPhone 4 may not be as revolutionary as once promised.

In the face of mounting criticism, Apple issued an official statement to tech blog Engadget, indicating the phone works fine and the problem stems from the way users are holding it. Apple said:

Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone,” Jobs wrote. “If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”

In addition to the official statement, tech blog Ars Technica also emailed Apple to get a response. “On a lark,” the company CC’ed Steve Jobs who actually replied. Jobs’ response was simply, “Just avoid holding it in this way.”

Jobs also elaborated to Tuaw reader Rory Sinclair who questioned the shoddy performance and said there aren’t normally limitations on how to hold a phone. “Sure there are — every phone has these areas of sensitivity, depending on the location of the antenna,” Jobs replied. “Some phones even ship with labels warning customers to not cover certain areas with their hands.”

ArsTechnica notes a blog written by an antenna engineer with Antennasys Inc, who said placement of antennas in cellphones is often dictated by FCC and carrier testing requirements and Apple’s design is not unusual.

However, another iPhone 4 user says Apple Support is blaming the reception issues on “a missing protective coating on some of the parts.”

As part of the influx of coverage on this issue, tech and Web blog Mashable notes Apple sells a $29 rubber bumper that acts as a barrier between your hand and the antenna which is reportedly a fix for reception woes. As a parting note, Mashable blogger Barb Dybwad asks:

“The existence of said bumper essentially begs the question, though — does it indicate that Apple already knew about the potential reception issues with the phone? And if so, should users really have to shell out $29 to restore the reception that’s knocked out by holding the phone in an arguably natural way?”