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Verizon iPhone gets dinged by Consumer Reports (Update)

VERIZON/IPHONE“Antennagate” again?

The reception problem that plagued AT&T’s iPhone 4 last summer is also found on the Verizon version of the iPhone, according to Consumer Reports.  The influential nonprofit organization, which publishes guides on everything from cars to TVs, said Friday that holding the Verizon iPhone “in a specific but quite natural way” can cause the phone to drop calls.

Consumer Reports tested the device against five other Verizon smartphones — Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Droid 2 Global, HTC Droid Incredible, LG Ally, and Motorola Droid X — and said “the only phones in which the finger contact caused any meaningful decline in performance was the iPhone 4.”

The Verizon iPhone 4 launched earlier this month, but there has been no hue and cry about its reception, as there was with the AT&T device. “There has been no such outpouring of complaints about the Verizon version of the phone,” Consumer Reports noted. However, the tech blogosphere did take note of the problem when the phone went on sale.

Last July, a few weeks after the launch of the iPhone 4 with AT&T, a clearly irked Apple was forced to hold a special press conference to address the issue. Although it denied there was any problem with the phone, Apple gave out free cases — which fix the problem — to anyone who wanted them. The executive in charge of iPhone engineering left Apple weeks after the controversy erupted.

Consumer Reports said because of the reception issue, it will not include the Verizon iPhone in its list of recommended smartphones, despite its high ranking.  “The phone performs superbly in most other respects,” the magazine said.

What did not happen at the Verizon iPhone launch

USA/After years of rumors and breathless anticipation, Apple’s iPhone is finally coming to the network of Verizon Wireless. But because Verizon is launching a version of the device that has been available from rival AT&T for more than half a year, there was little new technology on display to excite the gadget geeks and Apple fanboys.

And the show failed to deliver on some of the more intriguing rumors that have been kicking around about the event, which was announced suddenly last Friday and thus managed to steal plenty of thunder from the Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas, where most tech reporters were camped out.

Here’s a quick rundown of what did NOT happen on Tuesday

    No white iPhone – Like a Yeti, the white iPhone seems to exist only in legend. The company has repeatedly delayed the launch of the device, saying at last check it was due this spring. No one is sure exactly why the White iPhone is proving so difficult to produce. But some had expected (or perhaps hoped) to see it appear Tuesday as part of the Verizon announcement, but it was not to be. No LTE – Verizon has launched a new high-speed wireless network in markets covering 110 million people with a new technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE), and has promised 10 new gadgets using that network by mid-year. But the iPhone 4 is apparently not one of them. “Clearly some people wanted LTE,” said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall. No Steve Jobs – No one was quite sure whether the Apple CEO himself would appear on stage at a Verizon-staged event. Some in the Apple blogosphere were skeptical, and they proved correct. It was Tim Cook, Apple’s COO — certainly no slouch, but not someone who commands the sort of spotlight that’s Apple’s head honcho does. For those accustomed to Apple-hosted events, Jobs’ absence was felt: “This was not a Jobs-worthy event. But I thought for sure they’d throw them a bone with a white iPhone,” joked BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis

Verizon’s iPhone antenna ‘death grip’ proof?

vzapplOn the face of it, the iPhone 4 unveiled by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is pretty much the same device that AT&T has been selling. It costs the same, and features essentially the same bells and whistles — with the nice addition of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows up to five other devices to share its wireless signal.

But the blogosphere quickly picked up on one intriguing change in Verizon’s iPhone: the all-important antenna, which wraps around the device. You can see some pics from Gizmodo here, highlighting the differences between iPhones offered by Verizon and AT&T.

You will recall that the antenna for AT&T’s iPhone was the source of quite the uproar last summer, when some users complained of poor reception and dropped calls when holding the device a certain way.  The issue unexpectedly snowballed, giving rise to such memorable phrases as “Antennagate” and “iPhone 4 death grip.” Of course, none of it seemed to dent iPhone sales.

Liveblog: Verizon set to launch the iPhone. Finally.

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Verizon is set to launch the iPhone today — January 11, 2011 at 11am ET. Cheeky.

Will antennagate be fixed? Will Verizon launch a 4G version by summer? Will Steve Jobs make an appearance on stage or by hologram? Can Verizon Wireless’ network survive the crush? Will AT&T customers in San Francisco stop dropping calls?

We’re live blogging and analyzing the event today. Joining us for the liveblog from New York will be NPD analyst Ross Rubin, Gartner’s Michael Gartenberg and Ritsuko Ando, Reuters correspondent. Sinead Carew of Reuters will also be on scene in New York covering the announcement.

Apple secrets at center of insider trading case

APPLE/The blockbuster insider trading case that shook Silicon Valley and Wall Street on Thursday likely gave Steve Jobs, Apple’s famously secretive CEO, a healthy case of heartburn this morning.

Four people were arrested on charges of leaking tech secrets to hedge funds–including details about Apple’s iPad months before Jobs took the tablet computer onstage with him to formally show off to the world.

According to the complaint, in October of last year, Walter Shimoon — who worked for Apple supplier Flextronics — was recorded in a phone conversation leaking information that tech geeks around the world lust for.

Apple: think different, apologize different

Apple AntennagateNot many companies can get away putting out an expensive product with a pretty big technical glitch and still have sales zoom to the stratosphere.

Unless of course, you happen to be Apple.

The company held a rare press conference on Friday, where Chief Executive Steve Jobs addressed issues that the antenna on the iPhone 4 is not exactly up to snuff.  Depending on how the user holds the phone, the signal could drop. Lefties are particularly hard hit by this snafu.

So Jobs offered up iPhone owners a free case to help alleviate the problem, and, after being pressed on it during a question and answer session, issued an apology to customers.

Poll: Did Apple get it right?

APPLE/IPHONE

Apple is giving iPhone 4 users a free phone case to address growing complaints about reception problems that have hurt the company’s shares and image.

Was Apple's offer of a free case the right response?

    Yes No

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Does the free case offer make you more or less likely to buy an iPhone 4?

    More likely Less likely No difference I already own an iPhone 4

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Has the controversy over iPhone 4 reception made you less likely to buy one?

    Yes No No difference

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Do you plan to return your iPhone 4?

    No Yes I've already returned it I don't have one

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If you sell iPhone, they will come… and sit in filth

iphone launch att
Five days after thousands lined up around the world to nab the iPhone 4 at Apple stores around the globe, the lines are back. Now its customers who ordered the smartphone from retail stores run by AT&T, the exclusive U.S. provider for the iPhone.

Shoppers braved the early morning heat, and Times Square grime, to get their hands on this version of the phone, which is already a huge hit, selling 1.7 million units in its first 3 days on the street.

Hardware love aside, blogger Kevin Tofel says that AT&T’s new upgrade policy and phone data  pricing plan played a significant role in spurring customers to order the device.

Entrepreneurs swarm at iPhone launch

In New York, the annual launch of iPhone upgrades has morphed from being a odd meeting of tech-geek-love into an  giant marketing opportunity for scrappy business-minded folks looking to promote a small business.

Hey, why not? Where else can you find hundreds of potential customers, stuck in line for hours with wallets deep enough to buy a pricey piece of hardware, a swarm of TV news cameras as well as myriad other member of the media (including yours truly), and minimal security?

As far as the business of the day — Apple selling a new phone; customers buying them — the iPhone 4 launch was business as usual. The real show in New York was on the periphery, watching entrepreneurs at work hawking websites, phone-swapping services, a radio station, vampires and more. Is there an economy growing here?

Apple iPhone launche$, everybody i$ happy!

During these economic and political hard times, it’s nice when people can get together to rejoice about something wonderful. You know: the good times.

Such was the case this morning at Apple stores around the nation, where still-employed Apple workers sold phones and stuff  (and clapped a lot), and eager shoppers bought the new iPhone 4 for $200, and signed up for — or renewed — contracts to pay AT&T $2,400 or more over 2 years.

Woo hoo!