What was touted as the most successful product launch in Apple's history has quickly turned into a PR nightmare. Shortly after the much anticipated iPhone 4 went on sale, a number of blogs uncovered a problem with device's antenna -- simply touching a spot on the phone's lower left side could cause the signal to significantly degrade. Apple downplayed the issue claiming that the iPhone was erroneously calculating and displaying reception bars, promising that a fix was on the way. But that's not expected to do much in the way of avoiding lost signal.

This week Consumer Reports jumped in on the matter with a new brief that supposedly confirms, after extensive testing, that the problems are real. And even though it also assigns Apple's newest phone the "highest rated" score as the best smartphone currently available, it's conclusion was that it "can't recommend" buying the iPhone 4 until Apple addresses its antenna issues with a free fix. The report also takes some heat away from AT&T's much criticized network.

Consumer Reports said it had tested other smartphones in its labs, including the previous iPhone 3GS model as well as the Palm Pre, and found that none showed the same loss of signal as the iPhone 4 (while also noting that applying a piece of duct tape to cover the lower left hand side of the phone solves the signal attenuation problem). Curiously, Apple seems to be censoring discussions of the controversial review on its public message board at discussions.apple.com.

Despite reviews pointing out the phone's signal problem, demand isn't slowing down -- the device has been in short supply since it went on sale June 24. If you're among the iPhone 4's early buyers don't hesitate to share your experience thus far.