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Apple deletes discussion threads about Consumer Reports and iPhone 4

Numerous threads pertaining to Consumer Reports' testing of the iPhone 4, which found reception issues, were removed from Apple's official online forums Monday.

Nonprofit consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports said Monday morning that it could not recommend the iPhone 4 due to reception issues that are a result of the design of Apple's latest handset. As first noted by TUAW, numerous threads about the news were started on Apple's official online forums, but were quickly deleted by moderators.

While at least six threads were deleted, some were saved in caches and can still be viewed. The report noted that Apple has been known to delete threads that may be unflattering toward its products from the official online discussion forums.

"Sadly, this isn't the first time we've heard about Apple deleting discussion board threads on topics which are unflattering to Apple's products. It's closer to the fiftieth time," author TJ Luoma wrote. "In fact, we've heard so many reports about this happening that it seems safe to call this standard operating procedure for Apple's discussion boards. That's not to say that there are no negative threads on the discussion boards, but the ones that are there are the ones that Apple's moderators have decided to leave active."

Earlier this month, Consumer reports initially reported that it did not experience signal issues with the iPhone 4, and it found no reason not to buy the handset. But on Monday, the organization did a 180-degree turn, and advised customers not to buy the handset.

The updated conclusion was reached after the nonprofit tested three iPhone 4 handsets inside a controlled radio frequency isolation chambers. The test found that other phones, including the iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre, did not experience the same signal-related issues of the iPhone 4.

Apple has said that any mobile phone experiences reception issues when held improperly. It has also said that users can use any case that covers the metal exterior band of the phone, which also acts as its antennas, with a case to prevent conduction through the user's skin.

Earlier this month, Apple revealed that the iPhone 4 calculates bars of signal strength incorrectly, and a software fix is expected to be delivered in the coming weeks. Apple's iOS allots nearly 40 percent of its total possible reception levels to five bars, from -51dB to -91 dB. But the distance from four bars to one bar of reception is much less, from -91dB to -113dB. But that issue is unrelated to hardware, which is where Consumer Reports found fault with the iPhone 4.