The question that is on many people’s minds as the iPhone 4 antenna drama plays itself out is “why didn’t any of the reviewers notice this?” After all, we had reviews of the iPhone from the heavy hitters quite a bit ahead of time — seasoned tech journalists who were ostensibly on the lookout for issues like this. Yet I don’t recall reading a single word about sudden signal drops, proximity sensor issues, screen discoloration, or any of the other launch issues. This may be explained by the fact that a sample size of a dozen or two may easily have avoided the launch issues, which clearly do not affect all units.
But it’s also worth considering that a phone, or media player, or game console, or operating system, really isn’t something you can review over a week or two. A restaurant you can review after a meal. A movie you can review after a viewing. A blog post, apparently, you can review just from the headline. But a device that’s going to be a part of your life for a year, two years, or more? Any review posted before, at, or within a few days of launch should properly be considered a first impression.
Flagship devices like mobile phones and media players remain on sale for such a long time, and are used by so many people, that a serious, comprehensive, real-life review really is necessary.