Apple rolls out free case program for iPhone 4 owners
CEO Steve Jobs had promised the move last week
Computerworld - As promised last week, Apple Inc. today launched a free case program for iPhone 4 owners who are having reception problems with the popular new smartphone.
Apple set up a Web page and a specialized iPhone app that tells iPhone 4 owners how to get a free protective case known as a bumper, which encircles the metal antenna band that surrounds the iPhone 4's outer edge.
The iPhone 4 Case Program applies to iPhone 4s bought before Sept. 30, and it requires iPhone 4 users to download a special application from Apple's App Store to get a free case. In addition to enabling users to select rubber bumpers, the app also offers users a choice of several plastic cases from third-party vendors.
iPhone 4 owners must sign in with an Apple ID to get access to the case selection, and once a case or bumper has been chosen, the app no longer allows you to look at the cases. In other words, buyers must choose wisely, since it doesn't looke like they'll have a chance to change the order after they make a decision.
Apple says the estimated shipping time for the cases is three to five weeks.
For those who already bought Apple-branded iPhone 4 Bumpers -- which originally sold for $29.99 -- Apple says it is already refunding the purchase price, plus taxes and shipping fees. Customers who bought bumpers from an AT&T store must fill out a rebate form (download PDF) to get a reimbursement.
Today's move comes a week after Apple CEO Steve Jobs led an unusual -- and hastily called -- news conference to explain why the iPhone 4 appears to have reception problems when held a certain way and to offer free cases to iPhone 4 owners. That event, held at Apple's headquarters last Friday, highlighted reception "problems" of several smartphones from other vendors, with Jobs stressing that all of them have reception or signal issues of some sort.
Apple continues to highlight antenna performance issues online.
Complaints about the iPhone 4's reception surfaced within hours of its debut, as buyers complained that touching the external antenna -- embedded in a steel band that encircles the case -- often resulted in dropped calls or caused the signal strength indicator to plummet. Apple acknowledged that holding the iPhone 4 a certain way could weaken the signal, but told consumers to hold their phones differently or buy a case. It also later released an update to the smartphone's operating system that more accurately shows signal strength.
The concerns about the new phone prompted Consumer Reports to warn that it could not recommend the iPhone 4 to buyers.
Despite the public relations black eye caused by the reception problems -- a Microsoft exec last week compared it to Windows Vista -- Apple officials this week said the company continues to see strong demand for the device, which went on sale on June 24.
Even so, research firm IDC says the brouhaha around reception issues has prompted some current iPhone owners to delay upgrading to the new smartphone.
The iPhone 4 is offered in 16GB and 32GB models for $199 and $299, respectively. And, according to Apple's online store, an iPhone 4 bought today isn't expected to ship for three weeks.
On a related note, Apple today also released a short statement saying that the white version of the iPhone 4 will now not be available until later this year.
Ken Mingis is managing editor for news at Computerworld and also oversees the site's Macintosh Knowledge Center. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @kmingis, or subscribe to Ken's RSS feeds:
articles | blogs .
- Apple has bigger plans than just song ID with Shazam deal
- Automakers show off in-vehicle Wi-Fi, new smartphone interfaces
- First-to-market means diddly when it comes to smartwatches
- Apple slates WWDC for June 2-6, sets up ticket lottery
- Nadella to Cook on Office revenue sharing: Drop dead
- Microsoft scraps 'Windows-first' practice, puts Office on iPad before Surface
- iOS tops Android for Web browsing in U.S. and other developed nations
- Microsoft's free OneNote vaults to top of Mac App Store chart
- Apple discounts iPhone 5C 8%-9% in five markets via storage cuts
- Microsoft's OneNote strategy: Battle Evernote, or something bigger?
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!