SAN FRANCISCO, CA (NBC) - When Apple engineers and executives take center stage in San Francisco later today to address antenna and signal problems with its iPhone 4, don't be surprised if they show a bumper that fits around the phone and say "That should take care of the problem".
They'll be backed by Consumer Reports, who slammed the iPhone 4 earlier this week and posted its dreaded "Not-Recommnended" rating on the phone. They tested the bumper theory and found it worked.
"With the bumper, the iPhone doesn't seem to suffer the signal loss that we reported earlier," says Consumer Reports Electronics editor Mike Gikas.
The bumper retails for about $29.
Owners might be asked to return their phones for a hardware fix. In either case, critics say consumers shouldn't have to pay.
"Now that it's out in the open, any costs required in fixing it is obviously Apple's burden to bear," says MSNBC.com tech editor Wilson Rothman.
Long lines met iPhone 4's debut last month, but complaints soon followed. That lead Consumer Reports to its admittedly odd conclusion about a smartphone that it still calls "superior" to all others.
"This is a phone that deserves to be recommended provided this little problem is fixed," Gikas says.
Critics say just getting Apple to admit there's a problem is an accomplishment. The company first blamed users for holding the iPhone the wrong way.