Apple iPhone 4 vs Consumer Reports

July 19, 2010

For the record.

Post-Mortem: No Hair Shirt for Steve Jobs – By DAVID CARR – July 18, 2010 (New York Times)

By now, most people know what happens when your fingers come in contact with the lower left-hand corner of the iPhone 4 — are you there? — but it took the touch of an old-line, nontech tester of technology to get Apple to admit as much.

When Steve Jobs took the stage on Friday to defend the iPhone 4 against criticism that it had reception problems, he made his feelings about the press abundantly, peevishly clear.

“This has been blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible. It’s fun to have a story, but it’s not fun to be on the other side,” he told reporters.

Even as he apologized and acknowledged that there was indeed a problem, he was joined by Scott Forstall, a senior vice president at Apple, who attacked an article in The New York Times that blamed an interaction with the phone’s software as “patently false,” and then Mr. Jobs went on to call a Bloomberg article that suggested the company knew about the problem last year a “total crock.”

In general, he suggested that media organizations were just making blood sport of a company that had sold three million handsets in just three weeks: “I guess it’s just human nature, when you see someone get successful you just want to tear it down.”

Anybody who expected Steve Jobs to wear a hair shirt when he took the stage was bound to be disappointed. That the company responded at all is a testament to the power of at least one part of the press. When he got to the heart of what the company was going to do about the controversy, he cited Consumer Reports saying, “The bumper solves the signal strength problem” and its suggested remedy of free cases for all. “O.K., let’s give everybody a case,” Mr. Jobs said.

The iPhone’s antenna problems might have remained a dust-up between Apple fanboys and skeptical bloggers except that Consumer Reports — that stolid, old-media tester of everything from flooring to steam mops for the last 74 years — came out with a report detailing the issue and concluding that “due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.”

How did Consumer Reports make Apple blink? Read the rest of this entry »