back to article Antennagate Redux: Consumer Reports condemns Verizon iPhone 4

The Verizon CDMA incarnation of Apple's iPhone 4 suffers from the same dropped-call syndrome as the existing GSM incarnation, according to the venerable American product tester Consumer Reports. As a consequence, Consumer Reports is not putting the Verizon iPhone 4 on its list of recommended smartphones – something that's sure …

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Anonymous Coward

nope

'New iPhone has same fault as old iPhone'

This is news ? If they fixed the initial issue then that would mean they would have to admit there was a problem, the reality distortion field will not allow this so the new 'magical/wonderful' device is pushed out with the same flaw. This is news ?

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Work around

use bluetooth headset...

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Silver badge

re. Work around

...and don't hold it in your hand (or your prehensile tail if you're a fanboi).

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FAIL

Nope, does n't work

My iPhone 4 still drops calls due to poor signals when it's conencted via bluetooth. I don't appear to suffer from the grip of death, but just poor signal strength compared to other phones on the same network.

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WTF?

Why didn't they just quietly fix it?!

@"The Verizon CDMA incarnation of Apple's iPhone 4 suffers from the same dropped-call syndrome"

As the problem had been identified months ago, they could have fixed it by now. Antennagate was over 9 months ago. Its not like they have to totally design a new phone. They just need to fix the case and antenna part of the design.

Or is it they choose not to fix it, because that's like admitting there really was a design flaw in the original iPhone 4 design.

The thing is, the way people have reacted to this new "Verizon CDMA incarnation of Apple's iPhone 4", it strongly implies people did expect this phone "incarnation" to be fixed. Well until they found the same problem with it, but the point is, the widespread exception was that Apple would fix it.

Which shows Apple has failed to consider consumer exceptions. :(

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Silver badge

iPhone 5

What's more worrying is what this bodes for the iPhone 5. It's suggesting that Job's distortion field is so strong that they may not fix the attenna there either.

There will be a whole bunch of 3GS owners coming off of 2 yr contracts that may be put off Apple if they don't apply a fix in iPhone 5.

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You'd think...

...but I'm not sure they CAN fix it that easily; the whole phone is engineered to fit that case with that antenna. I suspect that a re-engineered phone would look very different, involving quite a lot of re-tooling. By the way, I think you may have meant expectations rather than exceptions?

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Anonymous Coward

Don't fix it if it ain't broke

I don't understand what they are supposed to fix - I can't reproduce this 'problem' at all, nor can anyone else I know who has one. People are buying them in ever-increasing numbers, and enjoying them. I'm sure there will be a certain percentage of phones with a reception fault, just as some will have a fault with the screen, accelerometer, etc, but that's par for the course with mass-manufacturing. I had a problem with the accelerometer on an iPhone 3G, took it into the Apple Store, and they swapped it for a new one. Problem solved. I find it hard to believe this reception issue is a design fault when so many people aren't affected by it.

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Happy

@Asgard Re: Why didn't they just quietly fix it?!

They did not dare. That would have been an explicit admission that there was a hardware defect with the original release. I do not believe I have to spell out the reasons why SJ would sooner have gnawed his own leg off than concede *that* particular point.

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Anonymous Coward

re : Don't fix it if it ain't broke

Hear Hear! Of the many people I have come into contact with who use an iPhone4 (myself included) none have had a reception problem due to the antenna design. It seems to me that the logic behind it is sound and I for one would be disappointed if they mucked about with it for the iPhone5. Leave it alone, I buy Apple kit because it 'just works' and I don't want them b*gg*ring around with a product that works this well.

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Stop

It's a genuine fault

The iPhone4 antenna issue is most definitely real.

Throughout the country, I've used plenty without cases. I have slightly sweaty hands it could be said, and the signal does indeed drop.

The solution for the most part is to use a case.

This problem is definitely very real though, but will vary depending on the size of your hands, how you hold the phone, etc.

In a weak signal area, this is when this issue shows most. I'm Scottish, so I often see the issue when no case is used with the phone. When in London, very rarely have I seen it happen on my phone or others.

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Terminator

Apple to follow MS example maybe?

If you have a product that works and is very popular, you massively hype the follow up product but do something to it that will cause a massive out-cry. Then when you release the NEXT product, the sales will be enormous.

For example:

Windows 98 - very popular - hype up Windows ME - ME crashes often causing outcry - cue XP and huge sales

Windows XP - very popular - hype up Windows Vista - Vista gets bad publicity due to compatibility and performance - cue Windows 7 and huge sales (not as big as XP but still people are moving to it from XP which they didn't do for Vista)

iPhone 3G - very popular - hype up iPhone 4 - iPhone 4 has antenna issues causing outcry - cue iPhone5 and........ ????

sounds like sound (But VERY devious sales tactics)

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Anonymous Coward

@dead4ever

A spelling and/or grammar checker would help. Or is your post a product of the cheaper systems you favor?

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Welcome

Ahem

'Favour' has a 'U' in it over here on the righ side of the pond...

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Anonymous Coward

And "righ" has a t in it...

...on both sides of the pond.

The irony!

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Alert

The curse of typo correctors everywhere...

Muphry's law. No, not *Murphy's* law. If you didn't see Tim Worstall's article on the 14th (re Oz outsourcing):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry%27s_law

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Silver badge
FAIL

No one can accuse the Consumers Union of prejudice but ...

once again it has given the fingers down to the Lemon 4 GSM and CDMA.

This is a definitive test carried out by engineers with no axe to grind or fruit to polish.

After months and months of getting their nose rubbed in it Jobs and company have been unable to do anything to improve the situation notwithstanding the CDMA signalling protocol is a little more forgiving. Claiming the software was wrong will never fix a mechanical problem.

If Jobs stopped saying/implying he is the best or that Cupertino does quality people might cut him a little slack. The fact is he, and some of his employees, are plain out and out liars which doesn't help build confidence in their products.

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FAIL

No one can accuse the JaitcH of prejudice but

well your love of all things Google and hatred of all things Apple is so clear in your posts, it's pathetic.

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Anonymous Coward

Whew

Heheheh.

I was getting worried. An anti-Apple story and you hadn't shown up moaning about Lemons in the first couple of posts? Nice to see you are still alive.

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Unhappy

I guess Jobs has updated the old adage ...

You can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can fool all of the iPhans all of the time.

Jobs has learned one thing, even he is not infallible - twice over, yet!.

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Jobs Horns

But there was nothing to fix

Remember what Mr God said? "You simply hold the phone wrong"

In the same way as fanboy/girl would defend their iCrap no matter what, I had absolutely no problem with my first car many years ago. It always worked perfectly, expect the engine wouldn't start form time to time, and turn on the air con would shut down the engine.

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Unhappy

Not very smart picture choice

I don't think it was a particularly nice idea to use that crossed picture of Steve Jobs to illustrate this article when there are news floating around that the guy might be living his last weeks.

Not an Apple fanboy by any means. Happy user of a Nexus One.

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Silver badge

Hmmm

You mean acknowledging rumours and speculation on the Internet would be more respectful?

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Did I write this?

Nope. Just avoiding what I consider a quite aggressive picture when a guy is fighting cancer (this, at least, is not a rumour).

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Anonymous Coward

A cnut

is a cnut, quite irrespective of his own misfortunes. Being ill doesn't excxuse generally acting like a Bond villain except in the case where it is the illness that causes that behaviour.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Jobs asked that his privacy be respected with regard to his health

Therefore we simply ignore his health status and comment on him as normal.

He is the CEO of a publicly held company and is therefore is subject to the normal constrictions they expect. Everything, except his day-t0-day health is fare game.

You should see of the other web sites, one is even running a guess the DOD competition!

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oddity

None of this addresses the puzzle about why the iPose wasn't built with GSM & CDMA & 3G from the beginning.

Or perhaps it was, and only a software switch was needed. Now would that explain why the antenna was the same: the hardware wasn't changed at all?

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Boffin

Re; oddity

Actually, the hardware ahs changed, see http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/11/atandt-iphone-4-vs-verizon-iphone-4-whats-changed/

Still doesn't explain why Apple didn't go ahead and design / build it with GSM/CDMA from the start.

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Unhappy

The price differential between ...

GSM or CDMA *ONLY* and the dual function chips is significant. Dual function chips are physically the same size.

Qualcomm needs it's pound of cash. And Jobs is cheap Real cheap.

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"Fanbois"

It's getting tiring. That's all.

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Boffin

Agreed

maybe it's time for a change to iFans?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Required title is required

Perhaps with the icon being noted Taff actor Rhys Ifans?

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris

I think I read somewhere that he's now using the English spelling 'Evans' to avoid the years of hassle and cost of an expensive trademark dispute.

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Happy

Does he

have an ePhone IV?

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Thumb Down

Consumer Reports loses its remaining credibility

The Verizon iPhone was CLEARLY redesigned to address the flaws in the AT&T model. Instead of a single [gsm] antenna at the bottom of the phone, it has redundant antennas - one at the bottom, and another at the top. If you hold the phone normally, the second CDMA antenna at the top will not suffer from attenuation.

Apple and fanbois can keep denying the original antenna-gate, but the CDMA redesign is clear admission of guilt.

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@randy

Of course the antenna was redesigned duh. It is a CDMA phone, it requires a different antenna design. So don't be daft in your assumptions.

Big issues in the test lab, yet millions of happy customers, and a few childish anti apple kiddies. Sometimes the consumer is right ;-)

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WTF?

Not a fanboy

But I can honestly say I've still not had a single issue witih the i4.

can't help but think things are said out of spite then picked up and spread rather than actually giving it a chance.

On that note - the new Blackberry can have its calls dropped if you hold it in a particular way. No ones mentioned that in any news stories yet... Maybe I can go grab one and test it again. See how people think of that...

But hey...

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This post has been deleted by its author

"But I had never had a problem"

Sure doesn't mean there isn't one.

I've seen the antenna issue with my own eyes on a guys phone at work.. 2-3 bars gone with the grip of death. It doesn't necessarily result in a dropped call, depends how strong the signal was to start with. Now he has that rubber monstronsity wrapped round his no longer sleek and stylish phone and can actually use it for the purpose intended.

I have a friend who constantly declares "it's rubbish, I've never had a problem no matter how I hold it". Yawn. He is fortunate to live in a strong signal area, so chances are he's a lucky one (like many others) who won't experience dropped calls because of it.

Open your eyes deniers. The antennagate issue has a 1:1 relationship with that the signal strength was like to begin with. Go drive out to some remote rural area with marginal signal coverage (say 1-2 bars) and try the grip of death, then come back and tell us about this non-existant issue.

Just because it hasn't been a problem for YOU in no way means it isn't a very real problem for others.

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Silver badge

Simply lovely

I love how the iPhans come out to defend Apple. It's almost as if Apple needs defending. Oh do they howl whey it's pointed out that someone else did "x" first but it took Apple to make it great and all forerunners were garbage. One would think this wasn't an evolutionary process of advances. Sure, the iPhone is pretty good today and although it is starting to show some age in the connection tech it's still useful for many.

Also it isn't like those previous devices were garbage in their day, just less advanced and perhaps not all that enticing - how shocking is that? We all know cars made in 1927 were garbage because most of them have been thrown away, or worse - "customized".

Certainly there were growing pains and everyone got to suffer them including Apple but the iPhans will say Palms, Treos, Blackberrys, R380s, Windows tablets, the lot, were all garbage but... quietly somewhere in the back of their mind they know the Newton was the best thing evar... until the i[Phone,Pad,Pod]. They refute claims that Apple's products are an evolutionary advancement but are instead a revolutionary victory declaring to the market that a PDA/phone need not be priced under $150, you just need to add enough stuff to make it compelling.

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non titulus est

"It's almost as if Apple needs defending."

Perhaps people need to justify spending the thick end of 800quid on a phone? to themselves?

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Consumer Reports credibility is intact...

CU does tests with machines and shows the results. The signal loss issue is still present, they show it in their video. Bloggers here that assail their credibility just don't believe their eyes or don't take the time to see the video.

The problem isn't unique to iPhone, but it is undoubtedly present in iPhone.

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never had a problem with the iphone 4

I waited until they brought out the iphone 4 on verizon, simply because I didn't want to go through the switch between carriers and any mess that might have happened porting my number across.

I have tried and tried and tried and I don't have this issue that Consumer reports complains about. I am not in a particularly high signal area, I am on the lower side of a hill with the tower on the other side.

I get 3 bars of signal when on 3G. I even wrapped my hands round the phone and still had 3 bars. I've tried several times and always maintain signal.

It's not like the iphone was a compulsory must have purchase, I would have purchased an android based phone, it was the applications that I needed that happened to be available on the iphone and when I preordered the one in particular that I really wanted was not on Android (the day after I ordered it became available but that's another story).

I am not a fan and I don't hold allegiance with any particular platform, as long as I can do what I want I don't really care.

What I would say though is that if I had an issue that everyone seemed to be complaining about I would have thrown a fit and kicked up hell with my carrier until they replaced it with a different phone from another maker that did have better signal performance and if the carrier wouldn't do it I would switch carriers and pay the termination fee. Let's face it, you can get the value of the ETF back selling the phone online and reduce your losses to a minimum.

Either way I wouldn't keep the phone based on the fact that it was an Apple Iphone and those that choose to keep their phone regardless obviously don't have as serious a problem as they imply or they would get rid of the phone.

At the end of the day all this Anti-Apple, Pro-Apple arguing is childish.

Consumer reports are misguided and biased simply in that all phones suffer from the same issue to some degree. My blackberry storm was by far worse and suffered the death grip just by holding the phone. At least I don't get that with the iphone. Every single phone I have owned and family have owned have suffered from similar issues, my dad used to hold his phone in a case using the clip as a handle because it would lose signal even with the case there and it was just a dumb phone.

Time for all the children to grow up a little bit here and on other forums and blogs and for consumer reports to treat all the phones they review fairly.

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Fair's fair

The Consumer Reports people did treat the iPhone fairly. They tested it properly instead of relying on one-off anecdotal reports and found, not surprisingly that skin contact with the bare antenna detuned the radio TX/RX subsystem in the phone, reducing its ability to maintain a connection in low signal strength areas and also increasing battery power drain into the bargain. No-one else designing phones or any sort of mobile radio system makes an antenna where the conducting element can be touched or shorted out for this reason. Holding the phone does tend to screen the antenna somewhat but does not detune it the way direct electrical contact does.

The radio engineers at Apple were overriden by the case designers who wanted a Shiny! eyecatch strip of metal around the edge of the case. Even a thin layer of plastic or rubber over the antenna surface to keep fingers off would have prevented this screwup but that wasn't to be.

Prediction: the iPhone 5 and successors will NOT have a bare antenna that can be touched by fingers.

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Go

correct

"Holding the phone does tend to screen the antenna somewhat but does not detune it the way direct electrical contact does."

Anyone who knows anything about antennas knows this to be the case. And that includes those working for Apple. You can not be dumb enough to not know that.

But, the designers won out. And the iPhone fails because of it.

Consumer Reports is correct in pointing out the technical problem. And not including the iPhone on their recommended list. That does not mean it will not work fine for some people. But, it does mean that many people will have problems until they use a case or avoid touching the antenna.

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Coat

Nokia 2610

Calls, texts, alarm clock, countdown timer, stopwatch, reminder calendar, around a week battery life, small and light. I'm a happy chap. Though whoever thought the silvered screen face was a good idea needs a ruddy good slap! In bright light I still want to use my phone, I don't need a makeup mirror. Ever.

I do realise the practical needs of others may sometimes be much more, e.g. remote admin of a Level 1 FUBAR situation when away from your network and the PFY is stumped and the boss is having kittens.

However, I suspect that many people need much less phone than they actually want.

The one that keeps me warm and dry, thanks.

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Thumb Up

Well said

That's exacelty why I've been content with my w880i for the last few years... small, light, texts, calls, picture messages and basic web. Job done :)

However it doesn't do the "conversations" type of texting so if I want to check what I sent there's 4 extra seconds to spend navigating to Sent Items. Also skype via wifi would be a nice new feature but neither of these omissions would tempt me to a "smart"/fat phone average 500 quid.

Tempted by those 7" androids though to replace my 1st gen ipod touch, particually if it will do the wifi and skype... just waiting for when those with capacitive screens drop to 150 ish. I see this as a PMP so no need for 3G or indeed any phone functionality

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Anonymous Coward

iPhone 4

I think most of the bitter windows users on this forum don't realise that exactly the same poor quality signal occurs on almost every smartphone handset on the market I think the register is trying to make a new story where there isn't one, the signal issue occurs on all the other phone I've tested too, this doesn't seem to be mentioned in the article there are no comparatives. The fact that both journalists as well as users are publicly slapping Apple makes me think they're doing something right but as most people who are bitter about apple - can't afford it so act like small children and try to debunk the quality of the work on hearsay and slander which is pretty poor.

The only difference between all the rest and the iPhone is the quality of software and hardware that is being sold. My iPhone 4 will cost me nothing when I upgrade next month, Because my iPhone 3 is still worth so much money. I've tried using the HTC, nokia and samsung alternative and I found that the software can be quite laggy, the hardware feels cheap and nasty and the overall experience is not good. The apple product in terms of quality is undeniably superior at the end of the day you get what you pay for, if you want a free phone, expect crap.

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FAIL

AC: "if you want a free phone, expect crap"

And if you want an iPhone 4, expect crap reception.

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