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Same Old Problems New Provider Apple Antenna Cell Issues Hit Verizon iPhone 4

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Oops, Apple did it again: Verizon customers may have the new iPhone service but online consumer complaints spread as iPhone 4 cell phone users claim the same antenna problems as AT&T customers who were forced into a duct tape fix.

Reports of the iPhone 4 problems are popping up all over the web, while the cell phone giant remains as mum during this round as it did with AT&T users. User reports -- and testing being performed by testing sites online – are indicating that the newest iPhone drops signal strength when the device is held in certain ways. It appears there’s no way out: holding the iPhone handset in a one-handed position is said to affect cellular signal strength, while holding the device with two hands in landscape view seems to create a Wi-Fi problem.

Does Apple care? Probably not particularly. At least not right now, while Verizon iPhone 4 sales are racking up in the millions.

Some reviews of the Verizon iPhone claim that the cellular handset’s antenna problem has been fixed. Other reviewers claim they can’t replicate the antenna problem. Through it all, anticipation of the Verizon service shows that sales keep plugging away: sales of the new Verizon iPhone cell, through the newest provider, are expected to top a million bucks within one week.

Apple seems to be taking the route that if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist – or, maybe more appropriately, if you don’t acknowledge it, the problem doesn’t exist. Avi Greengart, analyst with Current Analysis, has given his two cents – and wise two cents they may be: Greengart says that even if the iPhone 4 antenna problem reports are true, "Apple doesn't feel like it was a problem on the AT&T phone." Customers who were forced to duct-tape their phone in efforts to fix the antenna issue obviously felt differently.
Greengart says that a certain hand grip on the AT&T phone can affect the Apple iPhone cell phone’s signal, but that "a case solves it." The industry analyst also says that Apple feels the antenna design on the first iPhone 4 has offered "better reception."

No word on Greengart’s possible, future move to Apple.

Reports regarding iPhone signal-strength problems -- with the original iPhone 4 – began from the get-go after initial release. Apple first suggested that its phone’s signal issue, occurring most often when the phone’s user placed a hand or finger near the antenna on the lower left side of the handset, was not reality. The iPhone-maker suggested that faulty software was incorrectly showing more bars than it should have, for a given signal strength.

It wasn’t until customers were finally fed up and Consumer Reports magazine addressed that the company wouldn’t recommend the phone device because of the antenna and signal-strength issues. The Consumer Reports non-profit issued its argument on behalf of consumers, that "it's the company's [Apple’s] responsibility to provide the fix -- at no extra cost to [iPhone] consumers."

It was Consumer Reports that discovered the famous iPhone “fix”: a wrapped piece of duct tape or "other thick, non-conducive material [placed] over the antenna gap" in order for consumers to be able to solve the problem themselves. Consumer Reports engineers then performed individual tests on three separate iPhone 4 phones that had been purchased at separate retailers in New York – and the iPhone 3G model. The other iPhone 3G cellular and a tested Palm Pre didn't show signs of the problem afflicting the newer iPhone 4.

Only after the rather embarrassing reveal by Consumer Reports did Apple CEO Steve Jobs throw together a press conference – where Apple promised to offer iPhone consumers a free bumper case for every purchased iPhone 4, a refund for any case already purchased by a consumer to fix the antenna problem, or full refund for the return of an undamaged iPhone 4.

Gizmodo said not to buy one of the new iPhone 4's available through AT&T -- but, ironically, not for the exact reason that people are complaining about. The Gizmodo tech site suggested that Verizon's iPhone 4 just might cause the cellular provider similar network issues that AT&T customers experienced. Of anyone, Gizmodo is probably the most on-target -- it predicted the downfall to early adopters and consumers. The site couldn't possibly have predicted that the problems would have to do with the iPhone handset itself -- after all, who would guess that any company would put out the same poor or defective product, twice?

Only Apple could do it, and still be alive -- in fact only Apple could put out a defective product and still be raking in the millions. No, Apple probably doesn't care about your two-year contract or phone that doesn't work right, but Consumer Reports might and wacktrap does too -- add your story here.


Apple Corporate Office
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
United States
Phone: (408) 996-1010
37° 19' 54.876" N, 122° 1' 52.5432" W
Consumers Union owner of Consumer Reports Magazine
101 Truman Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10703-1057
United States
Phone: (914) 378-2000
40° 58' 12.2016" N, 73° 52' 21.3636" W
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