Flawed test?

Bob Egan writes a post about how the Consumer Reports iPhone 4 antenna study is flawed

Mr. Egan seems to have left out the part of the Consumer Reports test where they also tested the iPhone 3GS and a Palm Pre, both on the at&t network. In fact, he says:

And we don’t know how the observed effect is, or is not, similar to other devices.

Well, actually, we do. The iPhone 4 was the only phone to suffer from the antenna issue in their test. So no matter how “uncontrolled” and “unscientific” the tests were, I think Mr. Egan has a little more explaining to do before he can call the tests “flawed.”

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Consumer Reports confirms the iPhone 4’s antenna problem

Consumer Reports has just confirmed what Engadget and the rest of the world already knew: the iPhone 4 has a serious design flaw. I hope Apple takes Consumer Reports’ advice and comes up with a free fix, but even if they don’t, I’ll still probably get an iPhone 4 when my local Apple store has them in stock. I always have a case on my iPhone anyway, so the reception issue shouldn’t be much of a problem.

It’s getting to the point where Apple is looking foolish for ignoring the design flaw and blaming it on the software. Now that just about everyone has confirmed and independently verified the issue, it would be nice if Apple acknowledged it too. I don’t think there’s any way in Hell they’re going to do something as drastic as recall millions of iPhone 4s, but they could at lease start handing out some free bumpers.

I wish I could turn off multitasking in iOS4

I’m starting to realize that I don’t want some of the apps on my iPhone to save the state they’re in when I leave them. In fact, I wish I could specifically exclude some apps from the multitasking feature altogether.

Facebook is an example of one I wish would completely quit when I close the app. I want it to start fresh each time I open it (which is rare these days), not show me the picture from someone’s wall I was looking at five days ago when I last used the app. Another example is two apps I use on a daily basis: Foursquare and Gowalla. Now that they’ve turned on the fast app switching “feature” in iOS4, when I return to the app, say, when I’ve arrived at a new place where I want to check-in, I’m looking at the same page from the last time I was using the app. This usually means the app is open to the last venue where I checked-in. When that happens, I have to back out of the screen to get back to a list of nearby places, and sometimes I have to manually refresh the list. I would prefer it if I could tell the app to always open to the places screen and refresh the list.

I know that as life problems go, these are small ones, but it bugs me that a company that tries to focus on making things as simple as possible for the end-user has now made things more difficult. Apple says we don’t need to manage the apps in the multitasking tray, that iOS4 is smart enough to do it for us, but that just isn’t the case.

Here’s what I mean: Before iOS4 fast app switching, when you quit an app it quit completely. You would press the home button and that was it. Now, to fully quit an app you have to click the home button once to get back to the springboard, then double-click the home button to reveal the multitasking tray of apps that are in a saved state, then press and hold one of those apps until they all go into jiggle mode, then press the red button in the top left corner of any app you want to completely kill (see picture above). Big difference.

It would be nice if in the settings for each app, we could toggle on or off the “multitasking” APIs that app is using. That way I could tell Foursquare and Gowalla to start fresh each time I launch the app, whether I’ve deleted it from the multitasking tray or not, and I could tell Facebook to always quit when I leave the app and never even appear in the multitasking tray. Even better would be the ability to set a timeout feature where an app saves its state for a defined time period, but quits completely if you don’t return to it within that time. But that would involve giving the end user more control over their iOS4 device than Apple is comfortable with.