Iphone 4 Recall In The Offing?

Apple is under growing pressure to recall the Iphone 4 following continued public and media scrutiny over the so called “Death Grip” issue.

Since shortly after it’s launch, some Iphone 4 owners have been complaining that the signal strength drops significantly if you hold the phone in a certain way.

Apple’s first response was to say it wasn’t a problem, then they suggested that the problem was due to the way the reception bars on the phone were calculated and that, in fact, the reception was fine.

It didn’t take long for a few inquisitive nerds to get stuck in though, the most thorough dissection  of the issue I could find was over at anandtech. These guys don’t mess about and they did some pretty serious testing, the upshot of which seemed to suggest that because the Iphone 4 has an external antenna, holding it can effect the signal adversely.

But Apple’s bad luck didn’t stop there, Consumer Reports, one of the most respected consumer reviews and product testing houses in the US did a dramatic about turn after initially giving a positive review. Consumer Reports’ Mike Gikas  said:

“Consumer Reports has confirmed that the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem. Bottom line, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4 until Apple fixes this design flaw.”

Ouch.

But it gets worse,  Cult Of Mac were none too impressed with Apple’s PR, so they got in touch with some experts they described as “crisis communication experts” to get their take on the situation. The experts didn’t beat about the bush, saying things like “Apple will be forced to do a recall of this product”. Some of them even likened the situation to the recall disaster and subsequent PR nightmare suffered by Toyota.

The stock market reaction to this has been swift with Apple’s share price dropping by more than 10 dollars.

No doubt Apple will weather this storm, but what effect will it have on future product launches? Will iPhone fans be quite so willing to queue up to buy the iPhone 5 on launch day or will they wait and see if it works properly first?

Apple have a huge fan base, and they have spent a colossal amount of time and effort cultivating and image of excellence and cool. Whether or not the recent furore takes the shine off remains to be seen.

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