Apple to give free bumpers or full refund to iPhone 4 buyers

16 Jul 2010

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said all iPhone 4 buyers up until 30 September are entitled to a free bumper which should fix antenna problems on the phone. From 30 July, more than 17 countries – including Ireland – will get the iPhone 4.

Jobs said at a press conference at Apple’s headquarters that the company has sold 3 million of the devices in the last three weeks and said that despite the coverage of the antenna issue, the device has received the highest satisfaction levels for any iPhone.

Jobs held the press conference to tackle the issue of antenna problems. In recent days, Consumer Reports, after testing three different iPhone 4s, caused a storm when it said it could not recommend the iPhone 4 smartphone.

Jobs addresses iPhone 4 reception issue

At the conference, Jobs said that Apple had been “working our butts off” to figure out the problem and pointed out that the antenna issues that apparently occur if a user holds the device a certain way also occur on other competing smartphones.

He said that Apple engineers, plus 18 PhD scientists, tested the iPhone 4 against other smartphones like the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris and the Samsung Omnia and said those devices also suffer the same problem.

Jobs said that despite the negative press coverage about the antenna issue, calls to Apple Care about antenna or reception issues was 0.55pc.

Comparing the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 3GS using AT&T return rates, Jobs said the 3GS return rate was 6pc, while for the iPhone 4 it has just been 1.7pc.

Jobs points out iPhone 4’s positives

Jobs said the iPhone 4 drops less calls than the iPhone 3GS – less than one in a hundred – and he said that he received 5,000 emails from users telling him the new device works perfectly.

He said that upgrading to iOS 4.01 helps to fix the problem as well as using the metal bumpers that can be attached to the device.

He said that the policy now is to give everybody who bought an iPhone 4 and everyone planning to buy the device a free bumper between now and 30 September.

Those who have already bought bumpers will get a full refund. Because Apple can’t make enough of the bumpers itself it will work with third parties to source free cases for users. The entire programme will be managed via the web.

Users who are still unhappy will be entitled to bring the device back to Apple and get a full refund.

As well as the device going on sale in 17 additional countries from 30 July, Jobs announced that the coveted white iPhone 4 devices will begin shipping at the end of July.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com