Apple Defends iPhone Antenna, Offers Free Cases
Apple held a press conference on Friday to bring some clarity to the issue surrounding the iPhone 4's antenna issue. First, Apple presented a lot of data defending the iPhone 4's performance. In general, says Apple, users aren't calling AppleCare to complain, users aren't returning it in large numbers, and the data suggests that it doesn't lose any more signal strength than a number of competing products from other manufacturers (such as BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II). Despite the evidence that suggests the iPhone 4's performance is on par with other devices, Apple wants to make all of its customers happy. First, Apple recommends that all iPhone owners update to iOS 4.0.1 to update the formula used to calculate signal strength. iOS 4.0.1 became available on July 15. Second, Apple is offering one free case for each iPhone 4 through September 30. Apple said that since it can't make its own branded bumper cases fast enough, it will offer a free case (from a pre-approved selection) to iPhone 4 customers at the time of purchase. Those who've already bought a case can register online for a refund of the case purchase price. Third, Apple says that any customer who is still unhappy with the iPhone 4's performance after testing it with a case can return it with no penalties. Apple has waived the standard re-stocking fee it charges for returned items within 30 days from the time of purchase. Apple said that it is tracking some problems with the iPhone 4's proximity sensor in some units. It says the problem will be solved with "the next update." Apple CEO Steve Jobs didn't clarify exactly what that meant. Jobs stressed that the company has been working hard to determine the cause of the problem, and believes that the antenna performance of the iPhone 4 is good. Jobs said that the company cares about its customers and wants to make them happy. During the Q&A session, Jobs apologized by saying, "To our customers who are affected by the issue, we are deeply sorry, and we are going to give you a free case or a full refund." Apple also made several other announcements. Apple said that the white iPhone 4 will start shipping in limited quantities at the end of July. At the same time, the iPhone 4 will launch in 17 additional countries starting on July 30.
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