If you know the name Consumer Reports, chances are that it's for its involvement in Antennagate last year, when the iPhone 4 was revealed to have a design weak point that caused signal attenuation when held in a certain way.
Well, Consumer Reports is back, and after repeating its testing procedure on the new CDMA Verizon iPhone 4 has reached the same conclusion, and has refused to endorse Apple's all-conquering handset for a second time.
When the original GSM iPhone 4 was first launched last year, it didn't take long for the complaints to start: the phone, when held in a certain way, would inexplicably lose signal and drop calls. Apple didn't do its cause any favours by ignoring the claims for longer than it should, and then angered people further when it did finally respond by suggesting people were simply “holding it wrong”.
For many people the US industry mag Consumer Reports finally hit the nail on the head when it concluded that the iPhone 4 was the only handset it had tested to behave in such a way, and therefore they couldn't recommend it with a clear conscience.
It was a high-profile rebuke, and no doubt played a part in Apple finally relenting and issuing free rubber bumpers for the iPhone for a limited time.
For many people that killed the issue, and iPhone sales certainly didn't suffer. Indeed, when the CDMA version of the Jobsian Wonder finally made its debut on the Verizon network in January, most people assumed the antenna issue had been fixed, as nobody was talking about it.
Most people, but not Consumer Reports. After conducting similar tests with the Verizon iPhone it's now come to the same conclusion as before: “we are not including the Verizon iPhone 4 in our list of recommended smartphones, despite its high ranking in our Ratings”.
Of course, given the Verizon iPhone is US-only, you could justifiably ask whether it even matters for us here in the UK. But in the bigger scheme of things, the better question to ask is whether Antennagate actually matters.
Despite all the uproar at the time, people happily accepted the free bumper offer, and continued to buy iPhones. It was judged phone of the year by the GSMA, and as far as we know the Verizon iPhone 4 hasn't developed its own underground legion of haters. Consumer Reports can say what it likes, but the iPhone's appeal seems undiminished.