After days of being pilloried for the iPhone 4's antenna problems, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage in Cupertino, California to respond. Jobs announced during the iPhone 4 press conference Friday that every iPhone 4 user will get a free Apple Bumper to help mitigate antenna problems. This will apply to every user worldwide who buys an iPhone through September 30. iPhone 4 owners who have already purchased one of the $30 bumpers will get a full refund. Users who don't like the bumper solution and are still unhappy with the iPhone can bring it back for a full refund instead.
The antenna issue first popped up as the iPhone 4 began to ship in the US. Users began narrowing down the problem to how the phone is held, with the problem occurring when users bridged the gap between the antenna sections on the bezel. Although Apple issued a software update on Thursday to help adjust user expectations when it comes to signal strength, the signal drop still occurs.
That's where the bumper comes in: in most cases, the bumper shields the hand from bridging the antenna and reducing signal strength. Although the iPhone 4 will still suffer some interference when you hold it a certain way, Apple clearly believes the free bumpers will address the issue for a large majority of users.
During the press conference, Jobs went to great pains to point out that the iPhone 4 is not alone in having this issue, showing videos to the press of numerous phones from other manufacturers dropping in signal when held in a certain way.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed during the press conference that only one half of one percent of iPhone 4 owners had complained to AppleCare about the issue. That works out to about 15,000 (give or take) of the 3 million people who have purchased iPhone 4s thus far. Jobs also said that fewer people have bought iPhone 4 cases than 3GS cases, and insisted that the iPhone 4 drops fewer than one per 100 calls more than the iPhone 3GS.
In addition to the free bumpers, Jobs also said Apple plans to issue a fix for the proximity sensor problem that is causing some users to accidentally hang up calls when they put the device up to their heads.
We called Apple's iPhone bumpers a ripoff at $30, but it's hard to argue with free. Those of us on staff who already have bumpers plan to apply for the refund.
Source: ars technica