Engineer Claims Consumer Reports iPhone 4 Reception Problem Study Is Flawed

BY Jason

Published 13 Jul 2010

iPhone 4

Consumer Reports, a popular product review and comparison organization had announced yesterday that it can’t recommend iPhone 4 due to its widely publicized reception problems.

It is turning out to be a PR nightmare for Apple as mainstream media have also picked up the story. PR experts believe that Apple will have to recall iPhone 4 due to the problem.

Bob Egan, an electromagnetic engineer who has experience in exactly the kind of issues that Apple is facing with iPhone 4 claims that Consumer Reports study is flawed.

Egan explains:

"To even reasonably run a scientific test, the iPhone should have been sitting on a non-metallic pedestal inside an anechoic chamber. The base station simulator should have been also sitting outside the chamber and had a calibrated antenna plumbed to it from inside the chamber.

I have not seen CR’s claim directly that the finger effect reduces the iPhones sensitivity by 20db as reported elsewhere, but unless CR connected to a functional point inside the iPhone that number is fantasy.”

He also points out that the assumption made by Consumer Reports to test the change “by varying the base station simulator levels by varying the base station simulator levels – seems to assume the iPhone receiver and/or transmitter operate in a linear fashion (the same way) across all signal strengths” is a bad assumption.

Bottom line. From what I can see in the reports, Consumer Reports replicated the same uncontrolled, unscientific experiments that many of the blogging sites have done

He adds:

I’m not saying that Apple has no h/w problem and they surely have a s/w issue. But I’m still wondering that if the software signal algorithm was not AFU’d in the first place how many, if anyone would talking about this “problem”

Apple had released a public statement two weeks back to confirm that they’re incorrectly displaying the signal strength, which will be fixed with a software update that will provide users a much better indication of the reception that they are getting in a given area.

Egan notes that it is not known “what part of this problem is Apple’s and what part is related to the AT&T network”. I guess we will soon find out when Apple releases the iPhone software update for iPhone 4 to correctly display the signal strength.

Do you think the issue is being blown out of proportion? What’s your take on the issue? 

[Viewpoints via AppleInsider]