CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone antenna flunked lab tests at Consumer Reports, earning a "we can't recommend" rating from the product reviewer. There's good news however: Duct tape will fix the reception problem.
The big blemish on Apple's newly redesigned iPhone has been a faulty antenna that gets knocked out when the phone is held by users. It's been a problem for Apple since the phone went on sale last month. Making the situation more curious, Apple has told users to hold the phone differently, then, more recently, that its signal strength meter was faulty. But Consumer Reports confirmed what many users already know. The antenna is flawed.
"When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone's lower left side -- an easy thing, especially for lefties -- the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area with a weak signal," Consumer Reports said in its report. "Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4." Apple shares dropped $3 or 1% after Consumer Report issued its review. Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment. On July 2, Apple wrote a note to iPhone customers explaining the signal meter glitch. But the company seems unconvinced that there is a widespread antenna problem. "We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same -- the iPhone 4's wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped," Apple said in the July 2 note. Beyond the antenna issue, Consumer Reports was impressed with the iPhone 4's overall performance. But the review urged the company to respond to the problem. "Apple needs to come up with a permanent -- and free -- fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4," Consumer Reports wrote. --Written by Scott Moritz in New York.