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Is Apple's iPhone 4 Bumper Case Offer Enough?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Friday confirmed that Apple will offer free bumper cases to iPhone 4 users to mitigate ongoing antenna issues with the phone.

The hastily arranged press conference, which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes, featured Apple CEO Jobs, and as expected, included no suggestion from Apple that the problematic iPhone 4 would be recalled.

Instead, Jobs and Apple indicated that an application form will be posted to Apple's Website next week, and iPhone 4 users will be able to enter their information and select a bumper case of their choosing from one of several vendors.

According to MacWorld and numerous other reports, Jobs spent a lot of time during Apple's presentation suggesting that reception issues are a problem for many smartphones, and demonstrating that when phones like the HTC Droid Eris and RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9700 are gripped a certain way, their reception bars drop, too.

"This is life in the smartphone world," Jobs reportedly told the crowd. "Phones aren't perfect."

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek Jobs also admitted that that Apple knew of the iPhone 4's signal loss when it was held a certain way, but didn't think it would be an issue for consumers. So-called "Antennagate," Jobs said, has been "blown so out of proportion, that this is incredible."

Jobs also told attendees that 0.55 percent of all iPhone users have called AppleCare with an antenna issue. According to Jobs, the return rate for iPhone 4, at 1.7 percent, has been less than one-third the rate for iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4's predecessor.

The public dustup over Apple's iPhone 4 design problems continued well into this past week, when Consumer Reports said it wouldn't recommend iPhone 4 because of the antenna design flaw, and later recommended to Apple that it provide plastic-and-rubber bumpers or some kind of casing to consumers. Other observers, including federal lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), criticized Apple and urged a quick fix, at no charge to consumers, for the antenna problem.

In a statement released shortly after the press conference ended, Consumer Reports described Apple's move as a "good first step."

"Consumers deserve answers and fairness," said the statement, which was e-mailed to CRN. "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."

According to reports, Jobs said that when people have problems with Apple's products, Apple takes it "personally."

"We all read those stories," he said. "And we care."

Has Apple done enough to respond to iPhone 4 issues? Leave a comment in the CRN community and let us know.

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