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.