Consumer Reports Won’t Recommend iPhone 4 After Free Case Program Ends

Consumer Reports Won’t Recommend iPhone 4 After Free Case Program Ends

Over the weekend, Apple announced that they were ending their free iPhone 4 case program come September 30th, blithely quipping that “we now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought.”

Apparently, Consumer Reports remains unconvinced, though, because they are continuing to not recommend the iPhone 4 to customers, according to a recent update on their blog.

Our tests found the Bumper successfully mitigates the iPhone 4’s reception issue, which was a weak point in the phone’s otherwise-stellar performance in our tests. And we agree with Apple that not all iPhone 4 owners will experience reception difficulties with the device.

But putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us. 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.

It is arguably Consumer Reports’ scathing denunciation of the iPhone 4’s antenna problems that caused “Antennagate” to become as much of a public relations disaster for Apple as it was. Will Consumer Reports’ withheld blessing continue to plague Apple and re-open the issue once the bumper case program ends, or is the fire effectively put out? While I agree the iPhone 4’s external antenna makes it more susceptible to attenuation than other phones — no matter how much finger pointing and bar-fiddling Apple does — I think the fire’s largely been put out: even dropping one call more out of a hundred than the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone you can buy. At this point, Consumer Reports just looks petulant.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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