On Monday, Consumer Reports announced that it was unable to recommend the iPhone 4, the latest handset in Apple's storied iPhone line. In a review posted to the magazine's website, staffers pointed to persistent reception issues, and confirmed that when the iPhone 4 is held on the lower left side, signal quality is "significantly" degraded.
"We did, however, find an affordable solution for suffering iPhone 4 users: Cover the antenna gap with a piece of duct tape or another thick, non-conductive material. It may not be pretty, but it works," the Consumer Reports reviewers wrote.
"If you want an iPhone that works well without a masking-tape fix, we continue to recommend an older model, the 3G S," they added.
(Previously, several bloggers had suggested stretching a silicone gel LiveStrong bracelet around the iPhone 4. The bracelet reportedly works just like the expensive cases sold at Apple outlets – and the masking tape – adding a layer of dampening to the iPhone 4's finicky external antenna.)
For its part, Apple has blamed the iPhone 4 problems in part on a software malfunction. In an open letter to iPhone 4 customers earlier this month, Apple said that the reception problems with the iPhone 4 had little to do with the actual antenna and almost everything to do with the formula used to calculate how many bars the iPhone displays.
"Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong," Apple reps wrote in the widely-ridiculed letter. "Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars."