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Apple to offer free cases to iPhone 4 users

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, July 16, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iPhone

During today’s iPhone 4 press conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that due to complaints over the iPhone 4’s antenna issue, Apple will be offering a free case to all customers who purchase an iPhone 4 by September 30. According to Jobs, users will be able to apply for the free case on Apple’s website late next week, and the case will be shipped to them free of charge. Due to the low number of Bumper cases available, Apple also said it will be offering users a choice of cases beyond the Bumpers, but did not specify which cases would be eligible. For iPhone 4 users who have already purchased a Bumper case, Apple will be offering refunds, but will not be refunding those who purchased third-party cases.

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Comments

1

This is a Disaster for a lot of the case manufacturers you feature.  If they are not one of the Free cases Apple give away they will see a huge impact on their business.

Posted by James on July 16, 2010 at 12:25 PM (PDT)

2

I suspect Apple will offer a $30 credit to everyone wanting to buy a case, regardless of the manufacturer.

Posted by Allan on July 16, 2010 at 5:11 PM (PDT)

3

Funny thing is…this happens to ALL cell phones. The iPhone 4 just got bad press because of a mix of an already-existing phenomenon and Apple’s mistake in the signal algorithms. Talk about proof that AT&T’s network sucks…

Posted by Daniel S. on July 16, 2010 at 6:29 PM (PDT)

4

#3, Daniel

Ok, it doesn’t happen to my cell phone, or any phone I’ve ever had.  Sure, i’ve had areas in my town where my reception wasn’t great, that is true of all phones.  But I’ve never had a phone where I wasn’t able to hold it in certain way where if I did it would force me to drop a call.  Now perhaps there was a spot on my phone that I wasn’t supposed to touch that I just never did, but if that’s the case, then Apple shouldn’t have put their “don’t touch” zone in a place that is a natural fit for people to hold it.

Saying “every phone does this” is just a bogus argument.

Posted by Jeff on July 17, 2010 at 6:09 AM (PDT)

5

#1, James

Not sure it is disaster for case manufacturers not featured in Apple’s free case promotion. In fact, you could argue in the long run it may help business. The media hype around this issue has sent the message that if you buy an iPhone 4 you need a case.  The promotion will end after September 30th and Apple will sell millions of more iPhones after that. And, guess what…  the case attach rate on those phones is going to be so much higher than on previous iPhones. The market for iPhone cases has grown significantly now, In the meantime, the free cases Apple will offer will be at the low end and many people will choose to forgo those for more premium models.

Posted by Gary on July 17, 2010 at 7:08 AM (PDT)

6

Thanks APPLE I really like the iPHONE4 I havent had any major problems with it other than a week signal sometimes. I dont plan on returning it either. But could yall send me a bumper when ever you can. I made my purchase on line from your co. THANKS APPLE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. MR BOOKER

Posted by STEPHAN BOOKER on July 17, 2010 at 11:29 AM (PDT)

7

#4 Jeff
The thing is, the vast majority of iphone 4 users could say the same - the iphone 4 only does this sometimes for some people in some places; most people never see a problem.

Posted by alice on July 17, 2010 at 3:30 PM (PDT)

8

Amazing…you’re told to cover up such a beautiful piece of artwork with an ugly case, and you thank the people who created a faulty antenna design.  It certainly is true that Apple can do no wrong to way too many people.  Simply amazing!

Posted by Earldom in Los Angeles, CA on July 17, 2010 at 3:36 PM (PDT)

9

Watching Apple’s FaceTime ad it appears that the majority of the users are holding their iPhone 4 in exactly the way Apple says not to. Will we now see a disclaimer appear at the end stating something along the lines of “FaceTime over WiFi usage requires ‘Grip Position B’ while 3G use requires ‘Grip Position A’ to ensure minimum signal attenuation”.....

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on July 17, 2010 at 4:25 PM (PDT)

10

@10
No disclaimer needed, as the reception issue does not affect WiFi performance. Now, when FaceTime is allowed to work over 3G, then we’ll see.

In daily use, I don’t use the “death grip” so I don’t get dropped calls. I can make the signal degrade, but haven’t lost a call yet.

Posted by Kohyuta on July 17, 2010 at 4:41 PM (PDT)

11

CR: Apple needs to provide free cases. They seem to fix the problem.
Apple: OK
CR: On second thought, that’s not enough.

I’m still scratching my head.

From what I understand, all phones do this to some degree, but the iPhone has a “don’t touch” indicator and antenna performance could possibly be better if you use a case which you can get for free.

Given Apple’s past track record for fixing software bugs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see iPhone 4 performance improve with a software update in the future.

Posted by Tom on July 17, 2010 at 7:52 PM (PDT)

12

Kohyuta,
I am aware they are using two different transmission methods though depending on where your router is located in relation to your wifi enabled device, signal attenuation may also occur.

My ‘disclaimer’ was merely to set the scene for a possible real one in future (like the “3G Coverage may vary” one and many others) -  maybe my attempt at satire was not quite as good as I had hoped…

...between my thinking it up and it being ‘transmitted’, some attenuation occurred?

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on July 18, 2010 at 2:10 AM (PDT)

13

I own two iPhone 4s (one for myself, one I bought for my wife) and I live in a relatively weak signal area (which at times is displayed as five bars on iPhone, at least until the software update).  The problem with the antenna, on my phones at least, cannot be denied.  I can replicate every youtube video out there reliably - from using the ‘grip’ to using a single finger on the gap - bars drop out every time, often to a “no signal” message.  I can place a call that will start as good quality and immediately hear the quality drop out as soon as I bridge the two antennae.  I can replicate this continuously throughout the call (not as much of an issue in a good signal area).  If I bridge the gap long enough, the call drops - every single time, on both phones.  I tried doing this with one of our 3Gs before I activated the second phone, and simply could not replicate any similar issues.  The iPhone 4’s signal reception was poorer every time, even when I just sat them down on a table.

A case does fix most of these problems, and I would have used a case regardless - the ones I ordered finally arrived yesterday.

I love my iPhone 4 and I have no intention of returning it.  Its featureset is such that I’ll live with the antenna issue.  But there are unique weaknesses to iPhone 4 that it seems to me cannot be denied and its a great disappointment.

Posted by Paul J on July 18, 2010 at 6:00 AM (PDT)

14

#7 Alice:

Agreed, there may be other phones that have an issue, but frankly, i’ve never heard about it on the forums I go to dedicated to those phones.  Whereas the apple forum have had a vocal group of people (perhaps minority) having a problem with the 4th iphone.  I’ve got a droid, and while i’m not a “i love android I hate apple” person (I can’t live wihtout my Touch), I do find it interesting that whenever something goes wrong with an apple product, people come out of the woodwork saying, “mine is ifne, there is no issue” when obviously there is an issue for quite a lot of people (like #13, Paul J above).

And I’ll also go on the record that if the new touch comes out in 128 GB and the same form as the new iphone, i’ll be first in line to buy it!  However, an antenna issue isn’t going to bother me in that circumstance.  I’m ok with an MP3 player that is able to play music that may have a slightly wonky WIFI reception, but having a phone that plays music great but is sometimes unable to make calls, that’s another matter entirely. And while it may only impact a minority of people, it seems to be a rather sizeable minority.

Posted by Jeff on July 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM (PDT)

15

My question is what fix (if any) comes after September 30th??? Any thoughts? Rumors? I’ve waited to by an iPhone since it first debuted, and a large part of me is glad I waited. The current model has most of the features I want, but still needs to deal with some big issues.

Posted by BlueHUE in Nebraska on July 18, 2010 at 10:41 AM (PDT)

16

I would guess at that point, you are aware of the potential issues, so buyer beware?  At that point you can either spin the dice, or buy a case.

Posted by jeff on July 18, 2010 at 1:09 PM (PDT)

17

Sometimes I see the signal dropping when I hold the iPhone 4 a certain way but haven’t received any dropped calls because of it. Perhaps it’s because I prefer using a Bluetooth headset (don’t want all that radiation to get to my head!). In any case, I’ll gladly accept a free case. Thanks Apple!

Posted by Surya on July 18, 2010 at 5:04 PM (PDT)

18

#16

Won’t they have coated the metal ring with something by then so this isn’t a problem any more?

Posted by Dick Bacon on July 18, 2010 at 8:06 PM (PDT)

19

#14 Jeff,

I agree with you about the “rushing to Apple’s defense”. But now that I think about it, I can see why many people do it. The media has been filled with stories about this problem. Since Apple is such a hot topic, it seems that whatever the latest buzz is may be the only real info getting to the masses. In my case, letting people that may be potential buyers in a forum know that many users are not experiencing this at all is OK. That is what a forum is for. I check forums all the time before a big purchase for just this type of “real world” information.

With that said, I would not just rush blindly in to say Apple does no wrong. I will give my honest opinion in the hopes it helps someone down the road. And my opinion on this is:

The iPhone 4 does have an antenna issue. I can replicate it to some degree. Generally this means dropping from 4-5 bars down to 2 bars. In some areas where my reception is already 3 bars or less, I can force a dropped call. This does not seem to happen inadvertently as I am both a righty and tend to hold my phone with my fingers and not so much palm. I also use a case on a daily basis to protect from damage. I took it off for the purpose of these tests. The case does stop this issue. Outside of the antenna problem, the phone has been exactly what I expected…the next in a line of solid Apple phones.

Posted by Mitch on July 19, 2010 at 5:51 AM (PDT)

20

I think this is going to be great for cases companies!  Have you seen the bumpers?  They are crap!  This will make people want to get cases that much more.

Posted by Dustin Boyce on July 19, 2010 at 8:02 AM (PDT)

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