'Consumer Reports' Holds Strong on iPhone 4 Non-Recommendation

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Influential ratings magazine Consumer Reports generated waves earlier this year by deciding that it couldn't recommend the iPhone 4 to potential customers due to its antenna issues, despite the fact that the device garnered the top score in the magazine's ratings of smartphones. With Apple's offer of free cases made at its July press conference about the issue, the magazine maintained its non-recommendation, claiming that the temporary program was insufficient in addressing the problem.

    Now that Apple has officially announced that it will be ending the free case program as of September 30th, Consumer Reports has once again noted its displeasure with Apple's treatment of the issue and declined to add the device to its list of recommended models.
    Apple has indicated that any customers experiencing reception issues on their iPhone 4s should contact AppleCare to obtain free cases, opting to end the blanket program in favor of an on-request policy to address what the company believes is a very small number of customers affected by the issue.

    Article Link: 'Consumer Reports' Holds Strong on iPhone 4 Non-Recommendation
  2. macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Kansas City
  3. macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    This story gets buried in the blog and a story of ninja stars makes page one? No Apple bias here. :rolleyes:
  4. macrumors 68020

    Aug 29, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    I clicked on this story on the top left of the main page.
  5. macrumors 68000


    May 12, 2009
    USG Ishimura
    I lol'ed, how is this not a larger story? Wth is going on today?!?
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2004
    Consumer Reports says "we still think the same thing" for the third time and that's first page news? Sounds more like they're fishing for free publicity.

    Anyway, when a reviewing organization "doesn't recommend" what I consider the best phone I've ever owned, it sounds more like I shouldn't bother paying attention to that reviewing organization. Their taste just isn't relevant to mine.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2010
    And I hold strong on not renewing my magazine subscription!
  8. macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    Is This Really A Problem?

    I don't know of anyone having a problem with the new iphone! I know that it is possible to make the reception problem happen, but I could also "make" reception problems happen on every cell phone I've ever owned.
  9. macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    Does Consumer Reports stop recommending automobile purchases? Because you know if there is an issue with a car, the manufacturer will issue a recall. If you are affected, you have to take it into a dealer where it will be fixed. The onus is on the owner of the car, for crying out loud! The auto manufacturers should go house to house providing the fix for free to all cars, whether their owners report a problem or not!

    Wait, you mean Consumer Reports does not hold the auto manufacturers to the same artificial standard they hold Apple to? How amazing...
  10. macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    This is exactly what I thought when I read the OP. They stated they couldn't recommend the iPhone 4, even if it had bumpers, and now without bumpers they can't recommend it, because it won't have bumpers.
  11. macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2009
    I guess you don't read the news. Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles this year, even though not every owner of those vehicles was specifically experiencing the problem.
  12. macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Telluride, CO
    I love my iPhone 4, I tend to really love the way Apple does business, but I am not naive, either. I am glad CR is sticking to their principles & original statement and in doing so, holding Apple's feet to the fire however they can.

    Let's be very clear - Apple can and will do whatever is most expedient for it. Not necessarily a bad thing because in a perfect market economy consumer preference will find what is good for the consumer to be good for Apple - but I think it's pretty clear that "academic" view of it doesn't always translate into reality.

    So, just like the people who threw fits when Apple dropped the price of the iPhone original based on volume sustained by high-price-paying early adopters and got Steve to at least offer some small concession of $100 gift cards to his own store, people/organizations need to keep Apple accountable.

    If everyone/every organization falls in line to what Apple tells us we must think/accept, the tail is wagging the dog and the theory of the free market falls apart - let alone the practice.

    Written on my MBP, syncing my iPhone 4, my iPad, my iPhone 3GS, and my Magic Mouse right before I got in to my car with a neat little Apple sticker on the back. Just like I love my government, I also fear it. I love my Apple, Inc, but I also know they'll screw me as soon as it becomes convenient for them.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2010
    They are just doing it for publicity I bet...

    I've only had one dropped call with my iPhone 4 since it came out... Way better than my 3GS.
  14. macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2010
    Antenna gate was blown out of proportion :rolleyes:

    It really was a non issue.

    However I do enjoy my free case :)
  15. macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Telluride, CO
    They DO, I don't think you have the facts. CR held Lexus' feet to the fire to get them to act on the GX - http://blogs.consumerreports.org/ca...ports-2010-lexus-gx-dont-buy-safety-risk.html .

    They EXPLICITLY came out and said "DO NOT BUY". A lot harsher than the Apple "Cannot Recommend".

    People trust CR because they're a non-profit that doesn't accept ads, endorsements, or free product. So, I don't see what is wrong with not recommending a product that has a flaw that the manufacturer isn't providing a permanent/non-band aid style fix for.

    If you read their article/write up on the iPhone 4, they give you the facts and let you make your decision, but when CR says "Recommended" you can be pretty sure you're buying a product without its issues. I don't think anyone here can say the iPhone 4 is without its issues. Those issues aren't a material problem for me, so I love mine, but I'm not a blind Apple fanboy type, either, so I have the wherewithall to understand that Apple and their products aren't perfect.

    I respect CR for making an unpopular call & sticking with it. I tend to trust them because they are open about their testing, results, the facts, and make recommendations based on that. I can make my own decision, so I didn't heed their "Not Recommended", but I do understand and respect why they rated it so and why the Case Program isn't an acceptable answer.

    PS - Auto makers pretty much do have to go door-to-door and hand out the fix for affected cars. You get a card in the mail and if it is a safety issue (e.g. accelerator/tip over, etc) they will even have the dealer come GET the car from you until it is "made safe" again. The onus is *NOT* on the owner, the company has to be proactive about it. Besides, CR isn't asking Apple to send a Steve Jobs look alike to everyone's home to put a case on their phone - they're just asking Apple to provide a *permanent* fix, be it a *permanent* case program (which I think is a band-aid, and I think CR sees it that way, too) or a *permanent* hardware fix. There is no certainty what the case (no pun intended) is going to be after Sept 30 - they have a point there.

    Follow up - Lexus fixed the problem and CR lifted their "DO NOT BUY" recommendation - http://blogs.consumerreports.org/ca...st-consumer-reports-lifts-dont-buy-label.html . CR is *NOT* the problem here, it's Apple penchant for hubris/self-involvement. I love Apple and their products, but I'm not fooling myself to expect that they'll be any more consumer-friendly and honest than they need to be to turn a profit/feed Steve's ego.

    Get your facts straight before you spout off with inaccurate rhetoric.

  16. macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    I guess you don't read my posts carefully. I said what you said, that Toyota issues a recall, but the onus is on the owner to bring in the vehicle for servicing. Exactly as Apple has now done: if you experience a problem, let them know and you can get a free bumper.

    To Consumer Reports this is an unacceptable way to deal with a design flaw. If it's Apple. For Toyota, it's fine and considered the normal way to handle a design flaw.
  17. macrumors 68030


    Oct 6, 2008
    But his point was that the owner of the car must still bring it in for repair. If they were unaware of the issue it would be unresolved.

    Which essentially makes it the same situation as the iPhone. If the owner of the phone has a problem they get the 'fix' if they request it.

    But I don't think the magnitude of the problems are anywhere near equal. A $15,000-$20,000 piece of machinery that has a problem that could endanger the operators life vs a $200 cell phone that could drop a call.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2003
    ...my iPhone 4 still gets the best reception of any phone I've ever owned, regardless of how I hold it or whether or not it has a case on it...
  19. macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    Yes, of course that's the case for most people. But you'd never know that if you listened to the drumbeat of the media saying that this iPhone version too has reception issues (I say "too" because this is not the first model of iPhone where reception issues were blown out of proportion to the percentage of users actually affected).
  20. macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2008
    I'm a satisfied iPhone 4 owner, but what CR is doing is perfectly reasonable/logical. Kudos to them.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Ditto for me. I can't believe I waffled between 3GS, HTC Incredible, and iPhone 4. With 3GS 30% of my calls were dropped, with iPhone 4, 0%. Had it since July 5.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2004

    I agree with you on the points that Apple does need a reminder of where it stands in the consumer/producer relationship every now and then, just as any other company does. Consumer Reports generally does a good job with facilitating this. I'd much rather a major publication start taking Apple to task about not allowing sideloading/locking down the device though to be honest.

    My issue, from a personal viewpoint as an iPhone and Android user, is the way the iPhone4 antenna issue was approached and in my opinion blown out of proportion in terms of the net effect.

    Yes the phone suffers a -20dB attenuation when you hold the device and bridge that antenna. My HTC Desire gave me a -14dB attenuation when I held it in one hand and my Galaxy S gives me -18dB when holding it in one hand. The only difference is that the attenuation on the iPhone4 is possible by simply bridging that antenna with your pinky finger rather than needing to hold the device.

    The point there is that how often does someone do that where they lay a device on a table and touch that particular spot with a pinky finger? Or why would someone do that? The issue is that the signal attenuates when the device is held. But every phone suffers that to some degree, with even phones that have internal antennas giving comparable attenuation when held in your hand.

    They focused quite a bit on "if I touch the device just like this when it's laying down it gives me the attenuation" despite the fact no one does that. They should have looked at it from a net user experience, where "does a -20dB attenuation make a phone not recommendable compared to a phone with only a -15dB attenuation" being the more deciding factor.

    To me personally, I can't see how someone can recommend a phone that gives you -15 to -18dB attenuation when held and then not recommend a phone that gives you -20dB simply because it can also be reproduced by touching a marked spot with your pinky if the device is laying on a table. That's not to say that Apple should be proud that their phone also attenuates (and usually more so by varying degrees), but where's the cutoff?

    Is -19dB the maximum allowable attenuation before you say something isn't recommendable? I think that's a fair question to ask.
  23. macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    I think it's a fair question to ask as well. Since all phones have this issue to one degree or another, why is it Apple who got singled out? Because they are the mindshare leaders. If you are Greenpeace and you want to get publicity, call out Apple. If you are Consumer Reports and you want headlines, call out Apple.

    When the iPhone 5 comes out, I guarantee there will be stories published about signal issues with it. It's now the standard playbook to use against Apple, and the media goes along with it.

    I'm a Consumer Reports subscriber, but I know their tech coverage is spotty at best. Sometimes it's laughably wrong. And too many people take their word as gospel instead of just one more useful data point. Heh, it's funny but as this thread is developing I just got a subscriber email from them asking for a $26 donation to them so they can continue to buy the products they test. I'll pay them $26 because I believe in their non-advertiser supported model.

    But I wish they would not feed the anti-Apple FUD playbook. Yes, Apple absolutely should be called out for a design flaw, one that they are going to fix, but let's not blow it out of proportion the way it was. And let's not be hypocritical and call out Apple while giving a pass to everyone else with similar issues. That's the problem I'm focusing on.
  24. macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2010
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2004
    The way CR seems to approach it (and I might have to reread their article that they keep changing and updating and reaffirming and I lost interest a while ago) is as if they approached a computer review like this:

    "The aluminum Macbook can survive a 3 foot fall and still function. The aluminum Macbook will not melt on the stove."

    "The plastic Toshiba can survive a 2.8 foot fall and still function. The plastic Toshiba will melt on the stove."

    They then give excess weight to the latter statements about each laptop despite it not really being a normal use scenario and declare the Toshiba not recommendable. So what's the point? Is "not melting on a stove" an advantage? Sure. Is there a reason you should have a computer on a stove? No.

    It seems like it's more fair to stress the importance of the initial normal use results than the secondary observations that have nothing to do with everyday usage and are not representative of what people will be doing with the device.

    Of course that kind of reasoning is often met with "you can't tell a user how they should use a device". I agree, you can't. However when you label something not recommendable based essentially entirely on the extra -3dB attenuation (compared to my Galaxy S) and the fact that if you place the device on a flat surface and bridge the antenna with your finger you get the same extra -3dB attenuation, I fail to see the credible argument.

    /yes I realize the pinky finger attenuation while laying a phone on a table is not destructive like cooking a laptop is. They are both about as relevant to everyday usage in my opinion.

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