Apple Must Offer Free iPhone Fix, Watchdog Says

Consumer Reports believes Apple's response to device's antenna problem is inadequate and that a no-charge repair should be forthcoming.
Consumer Reports has taken another swipe at Apple. A day after saying it couldn't recommend the iPhone 4 for purchase due to its finicky antenna, the product testing outfit said Apple should provide customers with a free fix for the glitch.

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"Apple suggested owners mitigate the problem by holding the phone differently or purchasing a case. But those solutions put the onus on consumers and skirt Apple's obligation to offer a product that works consistently and reliably out of the box," Consumer Reports staff said in a blog post Wednesday.

"We think it's the company's responsibility to provide the fix," the blog said.

It's the second time this week Consumer Reports has blasted Apple for failing to acknowledge and take responsibility for iPhone 4's antenna problem. The venerable product testing outfit said its engineers tested three iPhone 4s, and all exhibited the so-called "grip of death" problem.

"Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4's signal strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software," Consumers Reports staffer Mike Gikas said in a separate blog post Monday.

Many iPhone 4 buyers said the signal falters if the device's bottom left corner is covered by the palm of the user's hand—a situation common if it's handled by lefties. Reports suggest the problem arises because grasping the phone in such a manner covers a particularly sensitive part of the antenna.

Apple has claimed the issue has nothing to do with the antenna, and is in fact a malfunction in the way the IPhone 4, as well as the iPhone 3GS and all other iPhones for that matter, displays signal strength. The company has said it plans a firmware update to fix the signal bars, but has yet to produce a physical fix for the antenna.

"We encourage Apple to step forward soon with a remedy that fixes the confirmed antenna issue, and not one that requires additional consumer expense," Consumer Reports said in Tuesday's blog post.

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