Consumer Reports' Thumbs Down on iPhone 4 an Old Media Throwback

Categories: Media, Tech
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In a world of viral marketing where everyone with a computer and an opinion is potentially a widely read critic, Consumer Reports' message to hold off on purchasing an iPhone 4 was like something out of the way-back machine.

While there have been class-action lawsuits claiming Apple's new gizmo has a chronically janky antenna, and countless Web scribes have complained thusly, the vote of no-confidence from Consumer Reports has resounded like a canon-shot. In an era of a million little fish on the Web attacking a company like Apple, Consumer Reports is one very big fish. Its game-changing article perhaps shows that "Old Media" is not yet ready for burial.

CR's article was old-school in more than just the notion of an informed, influential class of professionals reporting and disseminating the news (that is to say, journalism). Its engineers, perhaps even staid people with white coats, took apart the iPhone 4 and put it back together in a slow, painstaking process that predates the frenetic nature of the Web.

Its verdict both trumps and reaffirms the complaints that have thus far come to light regarding Apple's latest toy: If you hold the phone just so, you obscure the antenna and lose calls due to a "design flaw."

This adjudication has hit Apple right where it counts -- in the wallet. Its stock has tumbled and industry analysts are noting that the company is "flirting with disaster" if it doesn't take action.

It remains to be seen if that action might follow Consumer Reports' dictum that "Apple - and not its customers -- should fix the iPhone 4." But, after today, it seems a lot more likely.

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