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Apple to give iPhone buyers free cases

July 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Apple Inc. will give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone to alleviate the so-called "death grip" problem in which holding the phone with a bare hand can muffle the wireless signal."We are not perfect. We know that and you know that," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "Phones aren't perfect."

In a news conference Friday, Jobs admitted the newest Apple iPhone has problems, but he didn't go so far as to say he was going to recall the iPhone 4 because of poor reception.

Instead, he says Apple is going to offer the three million owners of the phone a free case or bumper and that should take care of the issue.

"We want to make all of our users happy," said Jobs.

But from the beginning there were complaints about poor reception with the iPhone 4. Then earlier this week Consumer Reports tested the phone and found that the hand touching the external antenna did indeed cause dropped calls. They suggested consumers not buy the phone until Apple fixed the problem.

Consumers aren't sure Apple has done that.

"If I bought a phone that didn't work and someone wanted to give me a pad for it that would not make me happy," said Scott Glovsky of Pasadena.

"Consumers deserve answers and fairness. Providing free bumpers and cases is a good first step toward Apple identifying and finding a solution for the signal-loss problem of the iPhone 4," said Consumer Reports.

Meantime, the free case is available to iPhone 4 owners until September 30. If you already have a case then you can get a refund. And, if you don't like the iPhone 4, you can bring it back undamaged for a full refund. But plenty of Apple customers say they don't see a problem to begin with.

"I think the percentage is kind of overblown based on how many people have it," said Chris Garguena of Pasadena. "Nine out of 10 people I know do not have that issue so that is a pretty good percentage for me."

Apple says they can't make enough cases so they are asking other suppliers to provide them.

The more than 3 million people who have already bought an iPhone 4 can go to Apple's website starting late next week and sign up for a free case.


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