Consumer Reports says it won't change its recommendation that people not buy the iPhone 4, despite Apple's recent claim that dropped calls linked to the smartphone's antenna design are a problem for only a "small percentage" of customers.
The nonprofit magazine dedicated to independent reviews of consumer products has taken issue with Apple's recent decision to stop offering free protective cases for its latest iPhone after Sept. 30. The cases prevented a person's fingers or hand from touching a spot on its external antenna that could cause calls to drop.
Consumer Reports said Monday on its blog that it agreed with Apple that not all iPhone 4 users will experience reception difficulties.
"But putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us," the magazine said. "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."
Apple said last week it would no longer offer iPhone 4 buyers a choice of seven cases, including some from third-party manufacturers, at no charge. Instead, for those "small percentage" of customers who may need to cover the smartphone's antenna, the company would only offer its Bumper, which is a frame-like cover that runs along the edge of the phone.
Apple has never acknowledged a design flaw in the iPhone 4. During a July 16 news conference to address the bad press, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said the iPhone 4 dropped only one call per hundred more than its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS. Jobs also claimed that all smartphones have similar problems.
Customer complaints drew media attention to the iPhone 4's problems, which eventually became known as "antennagate" in the industry.
Nevertheless, iPhone 4 sales have remained strong. In announcing financial results less than a week after Jobs' news conference, the company announced that iPhone shipments in the second calendar quarter had risen 61% from the same period a year ago to 8.4 million units. Jobs at the time said the iPhone 4 was the "most successful product launch in Apple's history."
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