Apparently the buzz about an iPhone 4 design flaw that caused reception problems  has gotten too loud for Apple to sidestep any longer. At an Apple conference held today, Steve Jobs has announced all iPhone 4 users will receive free cases to help mitigate the I-touched-my-iPhone-4-in-the-wrong-place-and-the-call-got-dropped problem. (I guess you no longer need duct tape.) However, Jobs mentions Apple did not create enough bumpers to give to everyone, so a third party will be sourced for the cases; presumably this means users won’t get official Apple “bumpers” but will get some sort of case.
To get this case, iPhone 4 users will need to apply via Apple’s website starting July 22 or visit an Apple store. Users will be able to get a free case until September 30, 2010; it is estimated to cost Apple $180 million to supply cases to all 3 million iPhone 4 users (which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the $1.5 billion it would have cost for a recall).
Furthermore, Jobs declared iPhone 4 users that are unhappy with the phone will be able to receive a full refund; this full refund offer will be open until September 30, 2010. How to go about this refund is not too clear at the moment, but it will probably be either via Apple’s website or via an Apple store.
Interestingly enough, Jobs provided some statistics at the Apple conference claiming the reception problem has been blown way out of proportion. He claimed only 0.55% of iPhone 4 customers complained to Apple Care about the problem, and only 1.7% of all iPhone 4s sold has been returned so far (compared to the 6% of the iPhone 3GS which were returned). Jobs also mentioned the reception problem is a common problem in the smartphone industry, and provided a video comparing the iPhone 4 reception quality to other smartphones such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700.
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