updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri July 16, 2010
Editorial on CR and iPhone 4 before the event
(Editorial) In the run-up to Apple's press conference, all the talk in the Apple world recently has revolved around Consumer Reports deciding that it couldn't recommend the iPhone 4 because of its alleged antenna flaw that is causing some consumers to lose reception when they cover the antenna lines of the side of the device. According to Consumer Reports, it was able to recreate the problem in its testing, and has said that it doesn't believe the issue has anything to do with poor signal quality and the way in which iOS calculates signal strength, as Apple has said over the past couple weeks.
Admittedly, Consumer Reports is a vastly important property. After all, the service is one of the places that consumers look when deciding to buy a product. In fact, in some cases, it's the only resource that consumers consult before they run out to the store and pick up another tech goody. Apple has a chance of ignoring the publication at its peril.
But as the report keeps swirling around the web, maybe it's time to take a step back and examine if Consumer Reports is really all that important to Apple. Yes, it might be a little disappointing for the organization to not recommend the iPhone 4, but does Apple really have to care? Since the iPhone 4 was released, the company has sold millions of devices, even though talk of the product's antenna troubles continues to circulate the media and discussion forums across the web. The Consumer Reports opinion is just another item in a growing list of discontent. And so far, all that discontent has done little to Apple's iPhone sales.
According to Apple's own store, the company won't be shipping the new iPhone 4 to customers for another three weeks. Does that sound like a company that's really hurting from a poor rating in Consumer Reports? Not exactly.
Apple is one of the few special companies in any industry that can ignore Consumer Reports and its ratings as customers continue to jump into long lines just to get their hands on the most coveted smartphone money can buy. Apple has already come to that realization. Perhaps now it's time for us to come to that same realization, even though there's legitimacy to the complaints.
Yes, Consumer Reports is important to some who use the service as the go-to resource before buying a product, but Apple's success has shown that it might not be as damaging to the company's smartphone as some folks want to say.
Is getting a poor Consumer Reports rating a good thing? Of course not. But it's not that big of a problem either. Apple's iPhone 4 sales are proof of that, and even if not, the company looks set to address complaints soon enough.
By Don Reisinger