Now that Consumer Reports says it can’t recommend buying Apple’s iPhone 4, the question becomes whether the pronouncement will impact sales of the newly released smartphone.
Consumer Reports said on Monday the iPhone 4’s notorious poor antenna reception is too problematic and that Apple hasn’t addressed the issues to a degree of satisfaction.
“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,” Consumer Reports wrote in its July 12 blog. “Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4.”
The magazine further said its 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.’”
But will consumers care enough about the Consumer Reports findings that Apple will suffer a sales decline? Probably not. Apple sold almost 2 million of the fourth-generation phone in three days at the end of June alone, and sales continue to be hot. Indeed, the iPhone has become such an “it” status symbol despite a series of availability and technical glitches – snags that would mire any company other than Apple, it seems, in unrecoverable, negative publicity.
What may put iPhone enthusiasts over the edge, though, is Consumer Reports’ suggestion that iPhone 4 users cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape.
The iPhone 4 went on sale in mid-June and, just a few days later, both AT&T – the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the United States – and Apple ended pre-ordering amid unprecedented demand. Consumer Reports has recommend previous versions of the iPhone and still endorses the 3G S model.