AfterDawn: Tech news

Consumer Reports: iPhone 4 case fixes signal problem

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 15 Jul 2010 3:49 User comments (26)

Consumer Reports: iPhone 4 case fixes signal problem Consumer Reports has tested out a case sold by Apple Inc. and confirmed that it does fix antenna problems with the iPhone 4. The antenna problems affect signal levels when the iPhone handset is held in a certain way. The problem particularly affects lefties. Apple has called a press conference for Friday that is expected to address the issue.
The influential publication has refused to recommend the iPhone 4 to consumers until Apple comes up with a free fix for the antenna problem, even though it praised the handset for other features such as its high quality display and video camera. It tested a "Bumper" with the iPhone 4, which is sold by Apple for $29, and confirmed that it works.

"The Bumper solves the signal-strength problem," Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports said in a blog posting. "So does a piece of duct tape, as we reported earlier, or just being careful how you hold the phone. But these options all put the onus on consumers to solve or pay for a fix. We're still calling on Apple to provide an acceptable free solution to the iPhone 4's signal-loss problem."

Consumer Reports' announcement on Monday kicked off a week of bad press for Apple as the company has failed to properly address the issue. Whilst being dismissive at first of the reports, it later blamed the problem on a software glitch that caused the signal indicator on the iPhone to report the wrong signal strength.

However, bloggers continued to allege that there is a physical problem with the handset causing the issue, and after some testing, Consumer Reports agreed.

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26 user comments

115.7.2010 4:14

This is so funny, how long will it take, or will they ever stop lying that its a software fault and actually a design flaw and blaming it on software.

Which im pretty sure actually reported the actual signal levels as iphone users got dropped calleds, more like apple LIED and said it was software issue as they knew they could hide the dwindeling signal with software... however reported signal strength regardless of its level wont fix the dopped calls..

Come on apple lets see this press confrence, are you going to give everyone a free case ?

The only way they will ever recover from this is to suck it up and a complete re-call and give em something that works.

But i cant see that happening as the bend you over the table and start pumping apple express train is now in full tilt.

Im not so sure about iphone4 being apples vista, lol it sounds far more like a toyota prius to me, with apple doing anything but admit its a design flaw and needs a recall.

215.7.2010 4:51

I agree. It's pretty sad that Apple would try to 'buy time' to come up with a solution to a hardware issue by putting it off as a software problem. C'mon Apple...really? It makes you sound like you don't know what you're doing when you said your programming was, "totally wrong." And that when users hold in that certain way it makes the signal strength "appear to be weaker" than what it really is. You're admitting that it's a hardware issue by even saying that! Just fix the "genius engineering."

315.7.2010 4:58

The way I see it, when you buy an iPhone4, you are buying a piece of hardware and a piece of software. It is clear that the hardware is defective...and now apple is claiming that their software is defective too.

I wonder why this only affects left-handed people; when I talk on my droid, my palm is over the spot that would block signal on the iPhone4...and my little finger is over the same spot on the other side. That is how it is comfortable...for calling without bluetooth, as well as using it as a touchscreen device.

IMHO, the only real advantage of the iPhone4 is how it looks; it is ugly to me...but most people seem to love it. Why would you want to get a bumper that is going to destroy the one thing that the phone offers?

415.7.2010 5:29

At the end of the day,if you have purchased a product that does not work return it.You are also covered,in the UK,under the Sales of Goods act.Its a case of people jumping in for these Crapple devices,"i got to have it" which just shows that their advertizing works.In the future let the die hard fans jump in,sit back and relax to see how these products fair and then make a decision on any purchase,if they work that is....

515.7.2010 5:57

I really can't feel sorry for these people. They are knowingly supporting a company that prides itself on overbearing DRM, high prices, poor service, outright lies, and a kind of monopolism that makes microsoft look innocent. An antenna issue really seems like a tiny complaint...I wonder why people who do not complain about any of those other things would bother to complain about such a tiny issue...I mean, it's not like it is intended to make phone calls or anything...it is just an overpriced toy that isn't very fun...a bit like the pet rock...but with a 2-year contract.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jul 2010 @ 6:03

615.7.2010 6:25

Apple are selling an item of unmerchantable quality. Just like buying a used car, what good is it if it spends most of its time in the shop getting "warranty" work done? This is the 4th gen iphone, and they are still plagued with hardware and software issues?? Gimme an Android phone anyday!

715.7.2010 8:25

I love my Iphone 4, its the best phone/gadget I've ever owned. I really don't know what all the fuss is about, if you buy one and it drops calls and you're not happy take it back for a refund - simples. If you haven't bought one please don't moan, you don't know what you're talking about.
But please, its really not that bad, yes I'm hoping Apple give me a free bumper but I don't need one.
Chill everyone its a phone and a very good one at that.
Much Love
Si

815.7.2010 8:31

Originally posted by KillerBug:
I really can't feel sorry for these people. They are knowingly supporting a company that prides itself on overbearing DRM, high prices, poor service, outright lies, and a kind of monopolism that makes microsoft look innocent. An antenna issue really seems like a tiny complaint...I wonder why people who do not complain about any of those other things would bother to complain about such a tiny issue...I mean, it's not like it is intended to make phone calls or anything...it is just an overpriced toy that isn't very fun...a bit like the pet rock...but with a 2-year contract.
Awwwww c'mon KB...You know they'd love that rock if you put an Apple logo on it...Fanboys will be fanboys...they can't help themselves...

915.7.2010 9:30

Most of those fanboys didn't even exist until the first Iphone came out and even then 70% of those started out as Ipod fans. They deserve to see the true face of apple, too bad they couldn't see it when Apple first introduced the Iphone but hey, its not my money lost.

I said it before, if you are selling a phone the main function of a phone is to be able to make calls and receive them without the worry of dropped calls unless you are out of the network zone. Since this is going on within it, even if its in so called poor areas; that is clearly the defect of the hardware itself and not the defect of the end user Apple so tries to claim. Any non-aware usually holds the phone the way iphone goes defective, so Apples' excuses deserves to be taken with the highest scrutiny. I wonder if we all be laughing tomorrow, or shaking our heads or both.

1015.7.2010 10:49

There are only 2 ways Apple can fix this. Either a full blown recall or a free bumper for every iPhone 4. Recall doesn't seem likely but a free bumper wouldn't be a bad idea.

To be honest, if you own an iPhone or any other expensive smart phone and you aren't using a case your stupid. Your basically using a computer that fits in the palm of your hand. Why wouldn't you want to protect your investment? You don't carry your laptop around without it being in some kind of case do you?

I guess I'm the only person here that likes this phone. As far as I'm concerned the phone will be almost perfect after this antenna issue is addressed. Every phone has some kind of software issues and the iPhone is no different. If somebody other than Apple made this exact phone there would be a lot less bashing and a lot more praise.

I agree that Apples sucks and they are easily the most evil company out there. I agree Steve Jobbs is a prick and if I was standing next to him when he said "your holding the phone wrong, don't hold it like that" I would have hit him in the head with it. It is attached to AT&T and for some people that sucks as well but the iPhone itself is excellent.

1115.7.2010 11:12

It is because Apple has millions of users they are subjected to hire standards, they knew that going into this game. In the end there is no excuse about the antenna, yea it can be said go ahead and buy a protective case; may I point out there was once a time phones didn't even need a case other than the purpose for carrying your phone.

The true purpose and still the main purpose of a phone is to talk, and if you are in an area were you can't even reach 911 due to an emergency all because the antenna drops or can't pick up signal. That in itself is why Apple is scrutinized, because out of all the functions they could have messed up on, they messed up on the major one. Otherwise yes, the Iphone in itself is a good mobile device, most people won't even argue that.

About the case; it's not mandatory to buy a case not even for a laptop. Again you buy a case for your laptop to not protect it but to carry it; unless you are the type to spend $50-$100 on a real good case that allows you to drop your laptop from insane heights and it won't damage; you don't need a case for the laptop to function. Just because the majority would buy a case if nothing else to protect from weather, doesn't mean there are not some who don't need one. Maybe their laptop is used as their main PC, who knows the scenarios. But if a laptop needed a case to connect to say Wi-Fi network, then you bet your ass people would complain. Bottom line, no excuse.

You got a case for your phone, great for you, but understand, that if your case breaks or cracks, you still have an ineffective phone until you replace your case, and doesn't the consumer have the right to have a functional device that's supposed to do what it states it can do without the need of 3rd party addons? Especially when the phone itself is $500+ regardless if its cheaper because you on contract; I still expect my phone to work whatever the scenario unless the carrier network itself is down and any self respected "smart or stupid" person should want the same thing.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jul 2010 @ 11:19

1215.7.2010 12:10

i can see it now apple sales a piece of tape for 50 dollars and calls it a signal booster he fooled us all its all part of his plan

1315.7.2010 12:53

I didn't mean to offend you or call you stupid. That's not what I was trying to do. All I meant I think it is stupid not get a case to try to protect something this valuable. Same goes for a laptop IF you plan on carrying it around with you.
It looks like your the type of person that shouldn't buy an iPhone I guess. Like I said all phones have issues. This one just happens to be a huge screw up. And it's not even the screw up that is plaguing this phone. It is the way Apple or Steve Jobbs handled the situation by telling us we are holding our phone wrong. That's the problem.
The bottom line is the phone should work the way it was meant to and if it don't then we need to see what action Apple takes. My problem is people bitching about all of their personal gripes about the phone instead of the issue the article is talking about. This isn't about DRM or AT&T, it's about the antenna.

1415.7.2010 13:44

another way for apple to charge extra after all the fees and all the stupid plans with p.o.s AT&T. Again, only fan boys will willing to pay for such a s**T

1515.7.2010 13:57

I wasn't offended I was pointing out facts, because this is a huge deal for Apple as much as you don't like people arguing the below quote, it doesn't make sense for people to approve of Apple's mistake over a case.

Quote:
This isn't about DRM or AT&T, it's about the antenna.
EXACTLY! Therefor it's not about a case either, it should work regardless of having one.

Again I not saying the phone is or isn't for me, it has a lot of attractive features I like, but the majority of those features are also on the 3GS which so far would be a better deal since it doesn't have an antenna issue despite the fact that yes I would buy a case. *Again I stress if the case gets cracked or broken tho... Hence the 3GS has better value until the solution with the Antenna is addressed properly and giving away a free case is not proper as we talking about a hardware defect*.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jul 2010 @ 14:00

1615.7.2010 15:00

Iphone 4 has antenna issue, and AT&T have Drop calls issue including crappy data plan, what more do you want? Is easily stated that BOTH Iphone 4 and AT&T have problems, Antenna issues + Drop Calls? I think my head would explode.

1715.7.2010 18:11

Originally posted by Mysttic:
I wasn't offended I was pointing out facts, because this is a huge deal for Apple as much as you don't like people arguing the below quote, it doesn't make sense for people to approve of Apple's mistake over a case.

Quote:
This isn't about DRM or AT&T, it's about the antenna.
EXACTLY! Therefor it's not about a case either, it should work regardless of having one.

Again I not saying the phone is or isn't for me, it has a lot of attractive features I like, but the majority of those features are also on the 3GS which so far would be a better deal since it doesn't have an antenna issue despite the fact that yes I would buy a case. *Again I stress if the case gets cracked or broken tho... Hence the 3GS has better value until the solution with the Antenna is addressed properly and giving away a free case is not proper as we talking about a hardware defect*.

When did I say I approved? I didn't say that. A total recall is exactly how this should be handled. The case is nothing more than a lame fix. I am OK with it because I will always use a case. If others are not that's OK as well. Bitch about the case and the antenna. Don't bitch about AT&T or the DRM.

But lets be real. Even if this wasn't Apple and another phone sold millions on release day just to find out there was an antenna issue they would also hesitate at a total recall. If Droid had this issue and it could be fixed with putting a case on it they would do the same thing Apple is doing. In the end NOTHING is perfect. If that is what you are looking for than I wish you all the luck.

1815.7.2010 18:39

The recent article just proves my point more-over, so first off lets just say I love this debate. Second :

Quote:
When did I say I approved? I didn't say that. A total recall is exactly how this should be handled. The case is nothing more than a lame fix. I am OK with it because I will always use a case. If others are not that's OK as well. Bitch about the case and the antenna. Don't bitch about AT&T or the DRM.
Much as you speak in plural using the word "you" about the public's point of view on AT&T and DRM in this article, I have made no such comments on AT&T or DRM anymore than I stated "you specifically," spoke of approving apple's case solution.

All I stating is, people should not need to fall back on a case as a fix, but if that fix does it for you then fine, but it honestly shouldn't. If they do end up doing a recall, are you djeazyg going to mail in your phone, or are you ok enough with the case fix? I don't care about the answer but that's the only point i was making. If the answer is yes, you would recall it, then obviously the case fix wasn't ok enough for you, while there will be thousands if not millions where the case will be a good enough fix and that is what makes it sad.

Sadder still in the latest article it states management knew about it and did nothing. This is the stuff I mentioned before under previous articles; about how Apple works on the inside. They honestly don't care because they don't need too. People keep feeding them money for them not to care.

Third:

Quote:
But lets be real. Even if this wasn't Apple and another phone sold millions on release day just to find out there was an antenna issue they would also hesitate at a total recall. If Droid had this issue and it could be fixed with putting a case on it they would do the same thing Apple is doing. In the end NOTHING is perfect. If that is what you are looking for than I wish you all the luck.
Okay here you gone off a bit on a limb. I already praised what Apple does right, it's a useful device. Nobody is stating that they must be perfect, however, when it comes to a phone being a phone and functioning as a phone, then yea you damn ass right we expect it to work as its primary function and so should you! If apple turned around before the mistake got out so bad, or just simply did a recall to begin with and owned up to their mistake, nobody would be bitching this bad; but that isn't what Apple did, so we all have a right to complain because this isn't how business is done. Businesses have been sued and loss over crap similar this. A phone doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need a working antenna; I already mentioned that if it had been any other function, nobody would have cared as bad, even if it was the battery *which has happened before, ironically under Apple*.

As for Droid would do the same thing, well guess what, not now they will, not after seeing the reaction from Apple. Apple now set precedence that other companies will be sure not to follow suit. And we will never know how Droid would have handle it, so that argument is about as premature as it is immature and has no baring on this case because Droid didn't have an antenna issue like this, if at all.

Cheers
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jul 2010 @ 18:48

1915.7.2010 19:23

There will never be a recall. Apple will pull an MS and either just fix it via an exchange program OR offer a free case that costs them next to nothing to make or something like that.


2015.7.2010 23:33

Cripes! For those ignorant of the facts, the "software fix" is a totally separate issue from the antenna problem. And why is it news for Consumer Reports to say something WEEKS after it was already known?

2116.7.2010 0:54

Lolz as I read from my Evo 4G.... that can also load the flash from this site.

2216.7.2010 10:57

I got a simple solution to the problem: Don't buy an iPhone. You'll save a load of grief and frustration by doing this. If a company tells you that there's no problem, that it's your fault, and then denies it repeatedly over and over again, and then tell you to buy a cause when it should be free in the first place because of the problem, then that company has some serious issues. There's no way that I'm buying an Apple product when they can't even stand by their product in the first place. As for the $30 case, they can keep it, and I'll save $30 in the process that I can use for other useful purposes, better yet $330 by not getting an iPhone/case.

2317.7.2010 21:42

The iPhone 5 will have large rabbit ears antennas attached to the sides. With this over compensation for the last phones problem. Apple has sought to remedy it with super big antennaa. However in related news. Public discomfort with the large antennas has lead to a riot in front of many at&t stores. Victims, I should say unhappy customers are not happy die to the fact is now to large to fit in the front pocket of skinny jeans wearing owners. Public outcry for free Antenna ray guns that Apple sells for $999.99, but only costs 50 cents to make and only work within 55 feet of a Starbucks, scream they want it for free.

Stay tuned as this story develops
July 9, 2011

243.2.2011 14:14
OK
Unverified new user

Originally posted by KillerBug:
I really can't feel sorry for these people. They are knowingly supporting a company that prides itself on overbearing DRM, high prices, poor service, outright lies, and a kind of monopolism that makes microsoft look innocent. An antenna issue really seems like a tiny complaint...I wonder why people who do not complain about any of those other things would bother to complain about such a tiny issue...I mean, it's not like it is intended to make phone calls or anything...it is just an overpriced toy that isn't very fun...a bit like the pet rock...but with a 2-year contract.
First of all, all the people on this page that are talking crap about apple. go buy an apple computer and a pc and tell me which one you get a virus on first. apples products are very well made and a lot of thought goes into them. if they were so consistantly bad i dont think it would be getting the best reviews by all the magazines and i dont think people would be constantly buying the phone. And i sure as hell dont think that other companies would be making phones trying to compete with the iphone. i do not have an iphone but that is only because i have sprint, and i will be changing services in the next month just to get the iphone because every phone i have purchased from sprint and verizon has had problems which made me bring back the phone and pay either 50 bucks or they give me a new phone or "fix" it. and i keep having to replace it. i have not heard of one person that had to bring their iphone back yet. so shut up and stop being hard headed and stubbourn and go buy the phone that you know just as well as everyone else knows you REALLY WANT to buy

253.2.2011 14:21

Originally posted by OK:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
I really can't feel sorry for these people. They are knowingly supporting a company that prides itself on overbearing DRM, high prices, poor service, outright lies, and a kind of monopolism that makes microsoft look innocent. An antenna issue really seems like a tiny complaint...I wonder why people who do not complain about any of those other things would bother to complain about such a tiny issue...I mean, it's not like it is intended to make phone calls or anything...it is just an overpriced toy that isn't very fun...a bit like the pet rock...but with a 2-year contract.
First of all, all the people on this page that are talking crap about apple. go buy an apple computer and a pc and tell me which one you get a virus on first. apples products are very well made and a lot of thought goes into them. if they were so consistantly bad i dont think it would be getting the best reviews by all the magazines and i dont think people would be constantly buying the phone. And i sure as hell dont think that other companies would be making phones trying to compete with the iphone. i do not have an iphone but that is only because i have sprint, and i will be changing services in the next month just to get the iphone because every phone i have purchased from sprint and verizon has had problems which made me bring back the phone and pay either 50 bucks or they give me a new phone or "fix" it. and i keep having to replace it. i have not heard of one person that had to bring their iphone back yet. so shut up and stop being hard headed and stubbourn and go buy the phone that you know just as well as everyone else knows you REALLY WANT to buy
I would try reading the news more there hav been lots of issues of iphone os and the well known hardware issue.

Not all reviews of apple products are good, mostly the ones that came with the reviewes free iphone.

Apples can still have virus's, but then again when windows has a much much much larger desktop market share over the past years its not a surprise there are more windows virus. So thats not really a good argument as well.

Tell you what go and buy your iphone instead of digging up post that are getting on for a year to pass a comment which would have been more relivant at the time....

263.2.2011 23:10

i agree with plazma.

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