iPhone 4 antenna issue may limit customer adoption
This week Consumer Reports released the results of its tests on the iPhone 4 and found that because of the antenna issue it can’t recommend the iPhone 4 . Quite a few customers who were fortunate enough to purchase the iPhone 4 experienced similar issues with the antenna. So with all the hype surrounding the iPhone 4 does the consumer report relegate the iPhone 4 from front runner to also ran?
What is the defect?
The iPhone 4 comes with a thin metal plate that surrounds the outside of the phone and this plate is the actual signal antenna which the iPhone uses to communicate with the wireless network. What many users have found is that when you hold the iPhone 4 the signal strength degrades significantly. Consumer Reports found that the actual problem is between the two antennas (see upper image) – when you place your finger between the gap of the two antennas the signal strength drops a whopping 20 decibels which is enough to drop a call.
Are there any solutions?
Apple’s response has been simple – don’t put your finger between the two antennas – hold the phone differently!! Not the best solution if you ask me.
Consumer Reports actually came up with a temporary fix in the interim – place a non conductive strip of tape (like duct tape) over the gap, this limits the effect your finger has on the signal strength of the phone. It isn’t the prettiest of solutions but it does work.
Is this the end of the iPhone 4?
Hardly. Even Consumer Reports has the iPhone 4 as one of its top picks for cell phones because of all the great features and improvements over it’s predecessor. However, because of the antenna defect it won’t give the iPhone 4 a clear recommendation.
If Apple can fix this issue with a software update to iOS4 then no harm done, however, if this defect can only be fixed with a hardware upgrade then that can become very costly to Apple.
So what do you think – get the iPhone 4 or stick with iPhone 3Gs (with the iOS4 upgrade)?