Mossberg reviews Apple iPhone 4: The best device in its class, despite poor AT&T reception

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“I’ve been testing the iPhone 4 for more than a week. In both hardware and software, it is a major leap over its already-excellent predecessor, the iPhone 3GS,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“It has some downsides and limitations—most important, the overwhelmed AT&T network in the U.S., which, in my tests, the new phone handled sometimes better and, unfortunately, sometimes worse than its predecessor. But, overall, Apple has delivered a big, well-designed update that, in my view, keeps it in the lead in the smartphone wars,” Mossberg reports.

“The most important downside of the iPhone 4 is that, in the U.S., it’s shackled to AT&T, which not only still operates a network that has trouble connecting and maintaining calls in many cities, but now has abandoned unlimited, flat-rate data plans,” Mossberg reports. “Apple needs a second network.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hear, hear!

Mossberg continues, “However, on at least six occasions during my tests, the new iPhone was either reporting ‘no service’ or searching for a network while the old one, held in my other hand, was showing at least a couple of bars. Neither Apple nor AT&T could explain this. The iPhone 4 quickly recovered in these situations, showing service after a few seconds, but it was still troubling.”

“Just as with its predecessors, I can’t recommend this new iPhone for voice calling for people who experience poor AT&T reception, unless they are willing to carry a second phone on a network that works better for them,” Mossberg reports. “For everyone else, however, I’d say that Apple has built a beautiful smartphone that works well, adds impressive new features and is still, overall, the best device in its class.”

Full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: The AT&T millstone around Apple’s neck pollutes what should be a wonderful review. Read it and weep, Mr. Jobs. Then wise up – unless you continue to want your beautiful products to be obscured and marred by inept, greedy third-parties whose exclusive deals outlived their usefulness at least a year ago.


  1. Not everyone lives in NYC and SF. I’ve had an iPhone since day one three years ago and find it just as good, if not better, than any other mobile phone I’ve had phone wise…here in Central Texas.

    I know AT&T;has had clogged ‘tubes’ in places, but where I live, everything’s fine.

  2. Well, I live I. St. Louis, Missouri, and my iPhone is the worst cell phone I’ve ever owned for making calls. I get dropped half the time. My secondary phone doesn’t drop at all, and it’s AT&T;as well. At some point, I’m going to have to start blaming the iPhone and not AT&T;.

  3. AT&T;provides good service in my neck of the woods, Verizon doesn’t. I take my iPhone to Europe and Asia with some frequency. International data plans aren’t cheap but at least they work. I’ll be back to Northern California in August so I’ll give a shout-out if connectivity for me just stinks.

    State-side competition will be good when/if it occurs in 2011. Until then, I won’t complain much. My “unlimited” data plan with AT&T;seems to be grandfathered. We’ll see. New iPhone should arrive sometime tomorrow.

  4. MDN needs to shut the f#*k up about At&T;. Apple entered into a “contract” with At&T;and they are honoring that contract. Steve is not a fool, as MDN is hinting at in their take, and I would assume he has a plan to get away from At&T;as soon as thecontract will allow. Yes, At&T;’s network sucks… get over it. This is how it is gong to be up until Steve has a chance to bolt from them.

  5. once again, I have had excellent performance from ATT for the three years i have had my iPhones. no complaints and each one of them has been the best phone i have ever owned. Still have the Verizon blackberry, and it drops calls constantly with slow data. so, in my neck of the woods at least, i have had the reverse of the common wisdom.

  6. GSM “the world standard” is holding the iPhone back as there is NO overall reliable GSM carrier in the US. To cover the US reliably Apple NEEDS to get a CDMA version to market ASAP!

  7. Partners of Apple tend to get better. Since Verizon has its own set of problems, I’d be nice if AT&T;continues to improve.

    Otherwise, people should somehow convince AT&T;to compete/backstab Apple, would would cause its eventual demise. (see Dell, MS, Adobe…)

  8. Not to worry iPhone lovers in poor reception areas, the reason that AT&T;is giving early renewals is because they know that their exclusive contract in near its end. As in the next six months.

  9. I live in eastern pa between phila and Baltimore have had an iPhone from the first model .dropped calls less than 1% over 3 years .if you don’t live in ny or sf and I have visited those places several times with very few problems ,I think the service is the same as my verizon buddies.bottom line it makes a phone call just fine. I can’t wait till it’s on verizon or whoever and then see hoe their networks handle it!

  10. Q for MDN: Please tell us the exact day and time you abandoned your long held position that lord Jobs was omnipotent.

    This is bigger news than some announcement that a new version of his phone is going on sale. Thank you very much.

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