Could Consumer Reports doom sales of the iPhone 4?
By now, you’ve no doubt heard of the iPhone 4 and its faulty antenna – the so-called “Death Grip” whereby the phone’s signal gets considerably lessened if you hold the device a certain way.
You also might’ve heard about Apple’s calling out by Consumer Reports, the watchdog agency that’s spent the past few weeks investigating the iPhone 4’s antenna issues. Their verdict? A no sell. The consumer advocates announced Monday they would not recommend the latest gizmo from Apple.
And while one bad review may not sound like the apocalypse, consider that Consumer Reports has the industry rep to make a product sink or swim. In essence, their stamp of approval is the stamp of approval measured against all others.
So the question of the day becomes this: could Consumer Reports’ non-recommendation carry enough weight to actually hamper sales of the iPhone 4?
Surely, Apple fanatics will scoff at such a notion. Even accounting for its white hot colleague, the iPad, the iPhone 4 is simply the hottest gadget out there right now. It’s what people are talking about.
But peel back the curtain a little, and there’s at least cause for concern.
The iPhone 4 has sold around 2 million units thus far, but a closer look at those numbers doesn’t reveal them to be that remarkable.
According to a Piper Jaffray study, somewhere around 77 per cent of iPhone 4 adoptersbought the phone in an upgrade from previous iPhone models. This suggests that, against all else, those 77 per cent were likely to get the iPhone 4 anyway. For the bulk of its sales so far, Apple hasn’t exactly reached a new customer base.
And that’s where this Consumer Reports non-recommendation comes into play. The iPhone 4’s technical shortcomings won’t scare off the bulk of hardcore Apple fans, but the company’s stubbornness to address the antenna problem might be a deterrent for adopters new to the iPhone.
As ZDnet senior editor Sam Diaz notes, the rest of the general phone buying population isn't especially loyal to Apple and the iPhone. They want a product that works well, and is similarly reliable.
So when an agency as respected as Consumer Reports gives an item the thumbs down, this carries a lot of weight with the non-tech-savvy of the world, who could easily be scared off by a device that’s deemed all glitz and no function.
Add to the mix Apple’s reluctance to admit there is a significant design problem (the company has blamed it on shoddy software, suggesting users buy a $30 case to patch the screw-up), and you can start to see how people may turn on the iPhone 4.
In Canada, this issue is strictly speculative for now, seeing as the iPhone 4 isn’t yet available north of the border. But with rumours swirling that Apple’s latest touch-screen phone won’t be allowed here until the antenna problem is fixed, it’s fit to wonder when that day will actually be.
(Update, 07/13: Apple's stock has fallen four per cent as a result of its bad pub of late, a rare feat fueling speculation the iPhone 4 could be subject to something even rarer ... an Apple recall.)
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Mike | Jul 13, 2021 11:05:03 AM
I love my iPhone 3GS, and am not planning to upgrade either way until it dies. That said, if I was looking to upgrade right now the iPhone 4's antenna problems would have made me wait for either a proper fix or the iPhone 5. And not because of Consumer Reports, which I have no respect for whatsoever since I consider them just as biased as everyone else, but because I do not want to spend money on a product which does not work properly.
Posted by: tahir | Jul 13, 2021 1:14:22 PM
i truely agree with you Mike.. some buncha idiots support apple while knowing that iphone 4 has an antenna issue and on top they aint giving the bumpers for free. if people stop buying iphone 4 for a while then they wil come up with a proper fix or in the meantime wil provide free bumpers to the people it caused the problem.. and people shudnt spend money on a product that is faulty and if they continue to buy iphone 4 apple knows some consumers are idiots they will buy no matter what.
Posted by: Neil | Jul 13, 2021 2:17:03 PM
Apple has the same boring old repetitive stuff with a few extra glits and glamor added on each year.
In the end it'll be like a Honda Civic that people keep pimping out thinking its "cool"! When a new product/application comes out for it. In the end its basic functionality is still the same
Posted by: Ann | Jul 13, 2021 2:47:00 PM
Not only is this article heading link bait in the worst form, the article itself is overblown and incredily one-sided. While CR (really, who still reads CR before making purchases anymore?) says it can't recommend the iPhone 4 because of the antenna issue, it also says it's the best smartphone on the market.
This issue will blow over and Apple will be fine.
Why can't the other blog authors contribute more instead of Buckland?
Posted by: Jay | Jul 13, 2021 2:59:18 PM
Apple is too arrogrant, Steve Job's comment to the antenna problem was "don't hold the phone that way". In other words ...screw you...we don't need to answer to anyone.
Posted by: Steve | Jul 13, 2021 4:29:02 PM
Every Apple is amazing and will always be amazing because they're pretty. Besides who buys a product for it's functionality nowadays anyways? Buying an apple shows that you're hip and trendy and rich like all the actresses on TV that have their apple logo's in every scene. I mean if you don't have an apple like everybody else on TV you're just not cool.
Posted by: Michael | Jul 13, 2021 4:43:23 PM
When will people learn that Apple is just a very good re-packager and branding company?????? Apple has never invented a significant technology. Way back to the very beginning.....Apple did not invent the Graphical User Interface which Steve Jobs used to claim Microsoft stole from him. Xerox invented it. Same with the mouse! Apple didn't even invent it's own software. They use a version of Unix. Apple just puts a prettier face on it. In fact, every technology in any of its PCs or phones is a technology licensed from another company. Apple doesn't even build it's own stuff. That's outsourced to a factory in China. Apple is great at pulling other people's technology together, making it look pretty, and most importantly, they are great at marketing. That's it. Move on please.
Posted by: Colin | Jul 13, 2021 4:55:06 PM
Michael, I couldnt agree more. Ive been saying the same things for years. Apple is a hype machine, not a tech company.
Posted by: BOYCOTT Israel and USA | Jul 13, 2021 5:32:48 PM
If the iPhone sold for something closer to the $10 it costs to produce, I'd buy one.
Posted by: Paul | Jul 13, 2021 9:15:16 PM
Apple products are inferior. When they have glitches, Apple ignores customers and then hypes up a *new* product. I mean come on..no Flashplayer on an iPhone? Do you know how many websites use it?!
Posted by: Errol | Jul 13, 2021 10:11:55 PM
I plan to purchase the iPhone 4 when it comes to Canada, in fact I plan two, one for my wife & self.
Regardless what consumer Report says.
Apple would warranty this problem !
Posted by: Wesley | Jul 13, 2021 10:31:10 PM
The 3GS is good but I'm better.
Posted by: steven j phaneuf | Jul 13, 2021 10:45:26 PM
its just bull apple is a cash grabbing bag of crap
Posted by: Ryan | Jul 13, 2021 10:59:38 PM
The I-Phone is junk in every sense of the word. I know this simply from dealing with it. I WORK for a telecommunications company. Heres my primary reason for calling it that. Every other phone that we sell be it BlackBerry, HTC, Motorola, etc. Has a 14 day exchange policy on it if you dont like it and a 30 day if it is defective and after that we send it to the company for repair be it BlackBerry or Motorola or whatever.
Now here comes along Apple who will NOT allow you to excahnge it for another model if you dont like it, and if its defective even within 30 days we have to say politely to our customers "were sorry you must go to the nearest Apple Store to have your phone serviced and or exchanged" Which ROYALLY angers the consumers as the closest Apple store to our location is over an HOUR away. Does this seem fair and or right. Also in regards the the Apple warranty. In Canada (I cant speak for the U.S.) you get 90day over the phone tech support (35.00$ for each support call after that) and a one year mfg warranty. Or you can purchase the 89.99 "Apple Care" which gives you one year of phone support and a two year warranty. So Apple further gouges the consumer with the 35.00 fee after three months to ask a simple question over the phone, each time they call!
Further to this and Ive seen EVERY phone come in with a problem be it BlackBerry, or HTC or Motorola they all do come in with an issue at times. But what I find the most amusing is the one we see come in MOST often with problems is (yup good guess) the I-Phone. Most common complaint(s) Reception.... freezing...
Another great one.... and this is classic.... no other company (that Ive seen this far so correct me if I AM mistaken) forces you to "register" your phone with them. Not Apple not the "Great and wonderfull I-Phone" if you do not register your phone with Apple I-Tunes withing a week or two period suddenly your phone locks itself out, untill you sync it with I-Tunes, another complaint were forced to deal with on the consumer end.
My two cents... the I-Phone is over rated junk.... yes yes I'm sure I'll get flamed by all the I-Phone lovers and you are entitled to your opinions but from my viewpoint Apple and the majority of its products are flawed and they seem to care little for those that buy them, their attitude is often to say the consumer is the ignorant one in the end of it all. I'll stick to my BlackBerry.... its works, and it does everything I need and ask of it, my only iffy spot on my device is its browser which needs some work, other than that I'm quite happy with a well designed product that never gives me trouble, and I was with HTC Windows device before going to BlackBerry so before anyone says im biased, I'm not Ive used many a different device.
Posted by: Wayne | Jul 13, 2021 11:13:54 PM
I have no problem as long as the issue is solved. Considering other phones I have a top end blackberry world phone which has also been causing reception issues, not due to coverage. and the track ball and a few of the parts have caused me problems. similar with my expensive samsung. Most phones have their issues, and for both my phones I have covers anyhow. The other concern I would have is consumer reports own reliability which appears to have serious errors in their reports. I had previously cancelled my subscription due to what I feel is inferior analyzing. Like anything people have their views and thoughts. Remember the auto industry?
Posted by: gyom | Jul 14, 2021 2:28:21 PM
I have a Blackberry. It's not perfect, but it's better than an Iphone. I've tried so many times my friends Iphone and I don't like it. Also, There's so many losers with Iphones. They think they're hot because they have an Iphone but they look like no life people who spend all their money on their phone. Ttttttsssssssss.
Posted by: FertilAid for Men | Jul 20, 2021 11:55:55 PM
IPHONE 4 is the best! I love its graphics =) Really amazing!