updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon September 13, 2010
Consumer Reports says iPhone policy a step back
Consumer Reports today chastised Apple for the decision to end its iPhone case program at the end of the month. Resorting to contact with AppleCare is "less consumer-friendly" as it forces customers to do more work to address signal drop problems and limits their choices to just Apple's Bumper case. The magazine reiterated that it still won't recommend the iPhone 4 as free cases don't address the root cause of the signal issue, an external antenna that isn't insulated accidentally bridging antennas and stifling reception.
"Putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us," the publication said. "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."
The magazine acknowledged that not everyone would face the issue and that the bumper was enough to solve the problem, but also criticized Apple for giving "no data" to back up the low dropped call rate. During its emergency event to discuss the drops, Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs insisted the dropped call rate was only one person per a hundred more susceptible to lost calls. He also cited a very low return rate which may have been borne out by ongoing strong demand.
Regardless of interest, public perception has hurt Apple, as customers now consider the antenna a significant factor, albeit second to the availability of an iPhone for Verizon. It has also given a major opportunity to competitors like Motorola and Samsung to attack Apple by claiming their phones are immune or resistant to the iPhone's problems.