Apple is offering buyers of its iPhone 4 a free case to address the reception issues caused by the antenna’s placement on the handset, despite the fact that Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a press conference at the company’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters this morning that the antenna problem had been blown out of proportion, and that the majority of users appeared to have no issues with reception on the device. Om live-blogged the news conference if you want to catch up on the details.
Although Jobs said that the number of complaints was relatively low (just one half of one percent), he added that Apple “wants to make all its users happy” and therefore the company is offering free “bumper” cases that cover the spot on the phone’s exterior that is said to cause the antenna issues when it is held a certain way. Our own Kevin Tofel would likely agree with this strategy. Apple will also offer a free refund within 30 days of purchase if a user is not completely satisfied, Jobs said, and will waive the normal “restocking” fee in such cases.
The Apple CEO also said that the company has sold more than 3 million of the new phones in 3 weeks, and noted during his presentation that Apple engineers had found antenna-related issues with a number of other smartphones, including the BlackBerry Bold from Research In Motion and the Droid Eris from HTC. And Jobs reiterated that the company’s engineers had discovered during their tests that the software being used to display signal strength on the new phone was not correct — or as he put it, “we screwed up with our algorithm.” The latest OS update fixes that problem, he said (which is a separate issue from the grip-related antenna problem).
Some users who talked about the Apple news on Twitter and elsewhere said that the antenna issue was a tempest in a teapot, and that the company had handled it as well as it could have — but others said the offer of a free case was a cop out, and that Apple was trying to sidestep a serious issue with its phones. What do you think? Let us know by answering our poll, or by posting a comment.
Meanwhile, here’s a video of the humorous “Antenna Song” that Apple played before its press conference started: