Apple Censoring Discussions of Consumer Reports iPhone Review

The iPhone 4 is the best smartphone Consumer Reports has tested, but the company refused to endorse the gadget due to antenna flaws -- a fact Apple really doesn't want you to know.

Apple is censoring discussions of the controversial review on its public message board, deleting as many as six threads on the topic. The censorship was uncovered by -- the Unofficial Apple Weblog -- based on a tip from a reader.

Though deleted from Apple's website, the online conversations are nonetheless still available online, cached by the Bing search engine, noted The deleted comments reflect the concerns of users and prospective owners at an issue that has been dogging the iPhone for weeks: persistent reception issues caused by holding the Apple phone at a particular angle.

The Consumer Reports review questioned Apple's explanation for the glitch, saying it tested other smartphones in its labs, including the older iPhone 3GS, and "none of those phones had the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4."

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the terms of use for the Apple Discussions site notes that, although the company does not prescreen information submitted by users, it "retains the right, but not the responsibility, to edit or remove any Submission, including those deemed by Apple to violate the Agreement."

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It's unclear how debates about the Consumer Reports review violates the agreement, although the terms of use also note that Apple reserves the right to delete any submission -- at any time for any reason.

The comments by the product-reviews publication are only the latest in a pile of complaints about the iPhone 4's ability to handle voice calls. Consumer Reports tested three iPhone 4s and found that touching a spot on the left side of the phone can cause reception to "significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you're in an area with a weak signal."

"Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4," the magazine said in a statement. The conclusion was an about-face for Consumer Reports, which said in a July 2 blog post that the iPhone issues were not yet a reason to forgo buying the device.

In fact, despite the flaws and the lack of recommendation, Consumer Reports rated the smartphone incredibly highly. The Apple iPhone 4 earns a 76 out of 100, placing it above the well regarded HTC EVO phone -- and two points ahead of the iPhone 3GS.