Apple starts iPhone 4 case program, free for all owners

In light of the iPhone 4 reception issue that Apple addressed last week, the free case program has opened up as promised. Apple confirmed last week that there was reception issues with the phone when held in a specific way, but isn't limited to just iPhones, but pretty much every phone out there.

To save Apple from recalling over two million iPhone 4 devices, they will instead be giving each and every owner a free case to help solve reception issues. The free bumper or cases is limited to eligibility and availability, and must fall under these certain conditions (PDF):

  • Your iPhone 4 must be purchased before July 23, or 30 days of purchase
  • iPhone 4 owners who purchased before July 23 must apply before August 22, 2010
  • You must purchase your iPhone 4 before September 30
  • You must have an active iTunes or Apple ID to submit a claim
  • Cash, check or gift card purchases must return to the store with their receipt by September 30, 2010

Customers who purchased their bumper or case using a credit card will automatically be refunded, and if you purchased using a gift card through the Apple Online Store, you will be mailed a new gift card for the refund amount.

In order to begin your refund or claim process, download the application through the App Store and select your free case or bumper. Apple will collect specific data including your phone number, model, serial number and IMEI to verify your iPhone 4.

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Well Apple is finally half assing there problem by giving away free bumper cases but they still don't admit the problem of making a faulty item, I wont be surprised when people start milking the whole idea and get free cases for all iphones. But I guess this is a fix for the problem.

Lucas said,
I'm sorry, this does not happen on my Google Nexus One, that's not an excuse.

I assume there's a point to your comment, but I fail to find it.

Metodi Mitov said,

I assume there's a point to your comment, but I fail to find it.

Apple performed a demonstration showing a "death grip" on the Nexus One.

Well I used the bumper app about an hour ago. All ordered. 3-5 week wait.

That being said, I don't 'suffer' the major signal degradation issue anyway. (and no I'm not deluded or a fanboy)

chrispinto said,
Well I used the bumper app about an hour ago. All ordered. 3-5 week wait.

That being said, I don't 'suffer' the major signal degradation issue anyway. (and no I'm not deluded or a fanboy)

I live in Manhattan and I thought the same: I was one of the lucky ones.

However when I went to a small town in Virginia for a business trip I understood why the whole issue is based on 'location'.

If the AT&T's signal strength is not that well in the location you are in whenever you touch that black strip you lose connection.

ricknl said,

I live in Manhattan and I thought the same: I was one of the lucky ones.

However when I went to a small town in Virginia for a business trip I understood why the whole issue is based on 'location'.

If the AT&T's signal strength is not that well in the location you are in whenever you touch that black strip you lose connection.

fair point.

I live right in the heart of central London, so i can see the validity of your point there... I've not gone outside of the city as yet... Guess that will be the real test

I wanna read the T&C first. I would imagine your basically saying you are satisfied with the phone once you order a free bumper.

SK[ said,]I wanna read the T&C first. I would imagine your basically saying you are satisfied with the phone once you order a free bumper.

Thankfully that's not the case for the UK and US , my Japanese/French/German isn't good enough to read their T&C's.

Why does it run out in September? is there a revision coming or something?
Why would those who buy in Oct not get one? they will have the same issue?

ZeroHour said,
Why does it run out in September? is there a revision coming or something?
Why would those who buy in Oct not get one? they will have the same issue?

Either a new revision is coming or they will just include a bumper in the box

chisss said,
they will just include a bumper in the box

Doh! beer has slowed my thoughts, that seems like the obvious thing really as a hardware revision would be bad with the lawsuits.

ZeroHour said,

Doh! beer has slowed my thoughts, that seems like the obvious thing really as a hardware revision would be bad with the lawsuits.

They haven't confirmed bumpers will come in the box. They said they will "re-evalulate" it after the 30th Sept

ZeroHour said,
Why does it run out in September? is there a revision coming or something?
Why would those who buy in Oct not get one? they will have the same issue?

As much press as the issue is getting anyone interested in buying an iPhone 4 should know about the issue before they do. The case program is about placating buyers that are upset about an unexpected issue. I'd bet that Jobs' opinion is that anyone who buys the phone after that point can pay for their own case because they should have know what they were getting into.

Ignoring the argument about weather or not they should have been aware and should or should not have released it, anyone who buys a product already knowing it's defective and expects a free accessory to compensate is a douche.

Nexus1974 said,
Anyone got any thoughts on what the best free case on offer is?

Looking at at Apple Bumper or PixelSkin HD case.


dude don't get the bumper... it's just a rubber band that goes around it... it's useless IMO as far as phone protection goes...
PixelSkin seems like it will be hard to take it and remove it from your pocket... I was thinking the clear cases maybe the Incase snap case

So when can we get the free bumper in the UK?
The link that is in the article goes to iTunes, but can not find the page.

bomberh said,
So when can we get the free bumper in the UK?
The link that is in the article goes to iTunes, but can not find the page.

Same thing here, the link doesn't work

boo_star said,

Uhm..

From what I understand, the deadline today is for instant bumper. Anyone getting a free bumper after that needs to have had the iPhone 4 for at least 30 days (Possibly to avoid people getting bumpers and returning phones, hence the announcement today and the deadline today) before they can get a bumper for free.

Metodi Mitov said,

From what I understand, the deadline today is for instant bumper. Anyone getting a free bumper after that needs to have had the iPhone 4 for at least 30 days (Possibly to avoid people getting bumpers and returning phones, hence the announcement today and the deadline today) before they can get a bumper for free.

I think you're misunderstanding the announcement, pre July 23rd customers are being given 30 days from today. Everyone else has 30 days from the date of purchase to apply

boo_star said,

I think you're misunderstanding the announcement, pre July 23rd customers are being given 30 days from today. Everyone else has 30 days from the date of purchase to apply

Your iPhone 4 must be purchased before July 23, or 30 days of purchase
iPhone 4 owners who purchased before July 23 must apply before August 22, 2010

I certainly could have misinterpreted it, mainly due to the weird phrasing with the first line.

I love that some "jphone5" owners say they can't replicate the "death grip". Didn't APPL itself say every phone suffers from signal degradation when held in a certain way, which is, indeed, true.

The real question for them to answe is: does your phone suffer from the "touch grip"?

I wonder how many answer that honest (i.e. without sentiments)?

Tola1005 said,
I love that some "jphone5" owners say they can't replicate the "death grip". Didn't APPL itself say every phone suffers from signal degradation when held in a certain way, which is, indeed, true.

The real question for them to answe is: does your phone suffer from the "touch grip"?

I wonder how many answer that honest (i.e. without sentiments)?

I'm standing in Picadilly, London with full signal strength. After holding the phone with the "death grip" I only loose 1 or 2 bars, it changes.. Even indoors I haven't managed to loose signal completely. May be it's just a batch that's faulty? Or only in the US that there's problems?

Tola1005 said,
I love that some "jphone5" owners say they can't replicate the "death grip". Didn't APPL itself say every phone suffers from signal degradation when held in a certain way, which is, indeed, true.

The real question for them to answe is: does your phone suffer from the "touch grip"?

I wonder how many answer that honest (i.e. without sentiments)?

I haven't noticed any signal degradation in the phone I currently use. (iPhone 3GS) What difference does it make whether it does or not, though? I have been using it for a good year now and have never had call issues, barring standing in an underground garage where any phone's signal would be sketchy at best.

Metodi Mitov said,

I haven't noticed any signal degradation in the phone I currently use. (iPhone 3GS) What difference does it make whether it does or not, though? I have been using it for a good year now and have never had call issues, barring standing in an underground garage where any phone's signal would be sketchy at best.

That would be because the iphone 3gs was not designed with a defective antenna placement. Your argument lacks solid evidence, as we are talking about iphone 4, which is a different design, and thus suffers from different problems.

shakey said,

That would be because the iphone 3gs was not designed with a defective antenna placement. Your argument lacks solid evidence, as we are talking about iphone 4, which is a different design, and thus suffers from different problems.

The question was if my phone was suffering from the issue, not whether an iPhone 4 was. I was wondering why the question was asked, but eh... thought I would answer anyway.

they should recall the device and fix the source of the issue not cover it up and hope it don't act up again but typical apple won't.

If you're in the UK and you bought a bumper online with a debit card, beware. I phoned them up today (like my email told me too), was on hold for 30 mins and then was asked questions that i've never been asked before like my IBAN number and Swift number?! Numbers i'm going to have to ask my bank for, however after being on the phone to Apple for 30 minutes on a 0845 number, I wasn't happy with finishing the phonecall without my £25 back... sigh.

brettuk said,
If you're in the UK and you bought a bumper online with a debit card, beware. I phoned them up today (like my email told me too), was on hold for 30 mins and then was asked questions that i've never been asked before like my IBAN number and Swift number?! Numbers i'm going to have to ask my bank for, however after being on the phone to Apple for 30 minutes on a 0845 number, I wasn't happy with finishing the phonecall without my £25 back... sigh.

Bank transactions (Which is what a debit card essentially does) are different from credit card transactions in that the receiver doesn't get the details like bank account and such (And I believe payment gateways don't store that information either). Otherwise E-Bay + PayPal would be the best place for scammers to try and get your details so they can pull money off your bank account. As such, you need to provide an account number for them to send the money to. I'm a bit surprised you don't have your bank account information, though. I don't know about the UK, but I'm quite certain that Bulgarian (Also in the EU, so using IBAN as well) banks provide Swift + IBAN upon opening the account. Worst case scenario, you should have a document that you signed when you gave your money to your bank to open the account that will have the required information.

# You must purchase your iPhone 4 before September 30
# Cash, check or gift card purchases must return to the store with their receipt by September 30, 2010

Does this mean the iphone4 will actually be fixed sept.30 and not require a bandaid?

P1ckles said,

Does this mean the iphone4 will actually be fixed sept.30 and not require a bandaid?

More like it means that they will stop giving cases away for free at that point.

Metodi Mitov said,

More like it means that they will stop giving cases away for free at that point.

I've wondered the same too, but no answer forthcoming.

Tola1005 said,

I've wondered the same too, but no answer forthcoming.

Anyone who has bothered to watch the press conference (or read quotes from it) would know that Apple is continuing to investigate the problem, and has said they will decide by then what they are going to do for future phones.

Even with the antenna gate problem the are still selling lots of phones. Why? I personally don't have a problem with my iPhone 4, but ordered the free bumper anyways...

Looks like if you already purchased a bumper from apple's online store you just get a refund. I got this email last night

Dear Apple Customer,

Apple recently announced that iPhone 4 customers who purchased an iPhone 4 Bumper are eligible for a full refund.

As of today, we have automatically processed your refund.

Thank you for choosing Apple.

Sincerely,
Apple Online Store Support

Shadrack said,
Looks like if you already purchased a bumper from apple's online store you just get a refund. I got this email last night

Has anyone who has received a bumper refund tried to get one of the cases through the App? I'm tempted to try... but all the cases are like $20, and the bumper was $30 so i don't want them to recharge me for the bumper if I select a Belkin case... X)

Deviate_X said,
Three apple stories in a row is getting a bit noisy, why can't they be grouped together in the future

Sorry? I don't see three Apple stories in a row.. can you elaborate? You can always email editors@neowin.net if you wish to contact us

Andrew Lyle said,

Sorry? I don't see three Apple stories in a row.. can you elaborate? You can always email editors@neowin.net if you wish to contact us

BBC iPhone app article, white iPhone manufacturing problems, and this free case article, all within 4 hours.

That's what he means of course.

andrewbares said,

BBC iPhone app article, white iPhone manufacturing problems, and this free case article, all within 4 hours.

That's what he means of course.


Those aren't in a row also, we don't merge stories that aren't very similar because it's confusing to people. If someone doesn't like a certain product, they can always filter it out

Deviate_X said,
Three apple stories in a row is getting a bit noisy, why can't they be grouped together in the future

I'm sorry... but I see 6 Microsoft stories on the main page... I don't see you complain about that... stop being such a hater

So the band aid is put on the defective phone... oh what some will do to have whatever is that is "it". I think most would be safer and better just returning it for a full refund until they actually fix the defective part of the phone.

shakey said,
So the band aid is put on the defective phone... oh what some will do to have whatever is that is "it". I think most would be safer and better just returning it for a full refund until they actually fix the defective part of the phone.

Yeah, why pay so much for a defected phone? The users should teach Jobs a lesson that he is serving the customers, not the customers are stupid and blindly buy all defected stuff he puts out there. People should not buy iphone 4 right now. Wait for a real fix, something like glass-coating of the antenna on the phone's side. Or wait until iphone 5 releases. When the sale suffers, Apple will wake up. People. Don't be stupid. If you want to support apple, buy a Mac or iPad to help them. Don't buy the defected phone.

shakey said,
So the band aid is put on the defective phone... oh what some will do to have whatever is that is "it". I think most would be safer and better just returning it for a full refund until they actually fix the defective part of the phone.

Sans-the small sections of a handful of 4g cities, the iPhone 4 is the fastest 3G phone out there. I'm talk >3mbps everywhere I try, while the other guys can't break 1mbps. On top of that, best phone ui, and best apps available. For most people, the antenna problem isn't an issue (only 0.55% of users actually called in). For people who have the issue, apple is providing a full refund or a case. Seems like the people with the biggest problem are the apple trolls who don't even own the damn phone.

Shadrack said,

Sans-the small sections of a handful of 4g cities, the iPhone 4 is the fastest 3G phone out there. I'm talk >3mbps everywhere I try, while the other guys can't break 1mbps. On top of that, best phone ui, and best apps available. For most people, the antenna problem isn't an issue (only 0.55% of users actually called in). For people who have the issue, apple is providing a full refund or a case. Seems like the people with the biggest problem are the apple trolls who don't even own the damn phone.


The iphone itself does not make the speed of the network better.... and sprint 3g phones reach those speeds easily as well.
I think the real problem is the defective antenna design. Doesn't matter what numbers apple says has been called in, it is a defective product, that affects all the phones. Those who accept a case band aid fix though deserve what issues this phone gives them.
Just because people don't like a defective phone and a band aid fix, does not make them apple trolls. It makes them quality wanters... or maybe quality trolls... but this is something apple brought upon themselves by releasing such a product in such a state.

shakey said,

The iphone itself does not make the speed of the network better.... and sprint 3g phones reach those speeds easily as well.
I think the real problem is the defective antenna design. Doesn't matter what numbers apple says has been called in, it is a defective product, that affects all the phones. Those who accept a case band aid fix though deserve what issues this phone gives them.
Just because people don't like a defective phone and a band aid fix, does not make them apple trolls. It makes them quality wanters... or maybe quality trolls... but this is something apple brought upon themselves by releasing such a product in such a state.

The two times I held an iPhone 4 in my hand, I did my best to 'death grip' it and reproduce the problem. No luck after about 15 minutes of trying. It seems like it has either been fixed behind the scenes or there was a defective batch that Apple didn't want to replace. Or maybe I'm just not conductive enough? Either way, if I could buy it at the promo price, I probably would have, though there's the whole bit of wanting a WP7 Sony-Ericsson.

Metodi Mitov said,

The two times I held an iPhone 4 in my hand, I did my best to 'death grip' it and reproduce the problem. No luck after about 15 minutes of trying. It seems like it has either been fixed behind the scenes or there was a defective batch that Apple didn't want to replace. Or maybe I'm just not conductive enough? Either way, if I could buy it at the promo price, I probably would have, though there's the whole bit of wanting a WP7 Sony-Ericsson.

I'm gonna have to say you're "lying" (note emphasis to mean "not telling the [u]real[/u] truth").

Per APPL, every phone suffers from signal degradation when held in a certain way, and indeed, it is true. So your claim on the "death grip" is wrong.

No the real question is: does your phone suffer from the "touch grip"? Be honest with yourself when you answer that question.

Tola1005 said,
Per APPL, every phone suffers from signal degradation when held in a certain way, and indeed, it is true. So your claim on the "death grip" is wrong.

And, naturally, Apple "conveniently" failed to mention that the signal degradation on the iPhone 4 is worse (many times worse in some cases, no pun intended) than the other tested smartphones, per the piles of websites who tested this issue. Mere mention that ALL smartphones suffer from the issue is not as important as to why the IP4 seems to have a crappier signal degradation. Now if the signal degradation was within the same range as the other phones, then Apple and Jobs would have a pot to **** in.

Metodi Mitov said,

Or maybe I'm just not conductive enough?

I've been wondering if that might acutally have something to do with the different results that different people seem to get when testing this. I haven't had a chance to try one myself (I need to stop by the local Apple store or an AT&T store that has live demos to try it), but I do know that different people's skin have varying amounts of resistance.

Tola1005 said,

I'm gonna have to say you're "lying" (note emphasis to mean "not telling the [u]real[/u] truth").

Per APPL, every phone suffers from signal degradation when held in a certain way, and indeed, it is true. So your claim on the "death grip" is wrong.

No the real question is: does your phone suffer from the "touch grip"? Be honest with yourself when you answer that question.

The phone was at full bars in downtown Chicago. My own iPhone 3GS was getting 3 bars at the same location, when held next to the iPhone 4 (Both on AT&T, obviously). When I did try to 'death grip' the 4, it lost a bar at a point, but regained it quickly without me having to move my hand at all, so it probably wasn't caused by that. I checked the software version, and sure enough, it was 4.0.1 (i.e. the one with the 'fixed' formula for calculating bars) the same as my 3GS, so I doubt it would have dropped calls due to a single bar as the only case I'd have issues with calls is when my 3GS is down to one bar. All in all, I was seriously considering buying one right then and there, but eh... contract isn't over yet and I didn't want to pay $120 extra.

Metodi Mitov said,

The phone was at full bars in downtown Chicago. My own iPhone 3GS was getting 3 bars at the same location, when held next to the iPhone 4 (Both on AT&T, obviously). When I did try to 'death grip' the 4, it lost a bar at a point, but regained it quickly without me having to move my hand at all, so it probably wasn't caused by that. I checked the software version, and sure enough, it was 4.0.1 (i.e. the one with the 'fixed' formula for calculating bars) the same as my 3GS, so I doubt it would have dropped calls due to a single bar as the only case I'd have issues with calls is when my 3GS is down to one bar. All in all, I was seriously considering buying one right then and there, but eh... contract isn't over yet and I didn't want to pay $120 extra.

How about everyone stop saying "death grip". The Iphone doesn't suffer from a death grip, it suffers from a single finger touching a simple spot. No gripping involved. Other phones need "death grips" ya, but the iphone 4 just needs a "death touch" .
They did state that those in good reception areas should not lose the calls, but where the signal is not so great, you will be prone to call drops when "touching" the spot.

shakey said,

How about everyone stop saying "death grip". The Iphone doesn't suffer from a death grip, it suffers from a single finger touching a simple spot. No gripping involved. Other phones need "death grips" ya, but the iphone 4 just needs a "death touch" .
They did state that those in good reception areas should not lose the calls, but where the signal is not so great, you will be prone to call drops when "touching" the spot.

Fine, death touch... and still... downtown Chicago is a good reception area? News to me. Especially since my 3GS can barely hold onto 3G + 3 bars.

Beastage said,
So they finally make a good looking phone one that doesn't need to be covered and this happens...

I lolled.

Doesn't need to be covered? It's about 90% glass so unless you want a smahed iPhone or your very careful your going to want some form of protection on it.

DomZ said,

Doesn't need to be covered? It's about 90% glass so unless you want a smahed iPhone or your very careful your going to want some form of protection on it.

Yes. Phone insurance. I hate phone cases.

Beastage said,
So they finally make a good looking phone one that doesn't need to be covered and this happens...

I lolled.


First: not everyone needs this case. It depends on where you live.
Second: yes, this is what happens if you push technology to the extreme, especially regarding battery life. That's what led to all this in the first place.

Northgrove said,

First: not everyone needs this case. It depends on where you live.
Second: yes, this is what happens if you push technology to the extreme, especially regarding battery life. That's what led to all this in the first place.

What? It is the antenna, not battery. And there really isn't anything "extreme" about the iphone 4, except that it was released how it was.

DomZ said,

Doesn't need to be covered? It's about 90% glass so unless you want a smahed iPhone or your very careful your going to want some form of protection on it.

First off this bumper doesn't protect the glass. It offers about 1 centimeter if distance from the rim of the bumper to where the glass sits. It isn't a case. Case usually has a FULL backing. That is why it is called a bumper. Your cars bumper wraps around the front and back, doesn't cover the top or bottom of car. Apple is offering full bodies cases too however, but they are all ugly. The Belkin one is clear and that would provide protection you are speaking of. However it doesn't protect the front. The design was to be pretty, not longevity. If you drop it there is no rubber or plastic to absorb the shock. Thus the glass could/will shatter. The bumper isn't going to prevent the glass from shattering if dropped hard enough or it strikes the ground flat or you drop it on top of a rock or similar hard object. That is what cases protect against.

The bumper doesn't look that bad, it just makes iPhone 4 look plain like every other phone on the market. Aesthetics have always been more important than form and function with Apple products.