Stung by ongoing media criticism and consumer complaints
over the iPhone 4’s antenna, Apple has announced it will offer a free case to the more than
3 million people who have bought the device since its launch three weeks ago – and anyone who buys one for the next two-and-a-half months.
Users who have already purchased a bumper or case for the
device will receive refunds – and the free case offer will extend to anyone who
buys an iPhone 4 through Sept. 30. It also is offering a full refund for people
who return their iPhone within 30 days of purchase, waving the restocking fee.
The refund offer will not include people who bought
third-party cases for their systems – a punishment, of sorts, for those third
parties who sometimes leak word of new Apple products.
“Case makers have a history of showing off their new cases for our new
products,” said Jobs. “The case vendors haven’t had a history of helping to
keep our work under wraps.”
“We’re not perfect,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “Phones
aren’t perfect. We want to make all our users happy.”
Apple assumed a very defensive position in the press
conference, pointing out the antenna flaws of several other smartphones and
saying that the heart of the problem was that “smartphones have issues” –
likely not the answer people were hoping to hear.
Apple implied that “Antennagate” (as Jobs called it) was
mostly a media creation, as the company has not received a significant number of
complaints to its AppleCare center (just 0.55 percent, according to Jobs) and
the return rate of the phone is just 1/3 that of the iPhone 3GS.
“We’ve been around for 34 years… haven’t we earned the credibility and
the trust of the press?,” he asked. “I think we have that from our users. I
didn’t see it exhibited by some of the press as this was blown so far out of
proportion. I’m not saying we didn’t make a mistake — we didn’t know that it
would have these issues, we didn’t know we were putting a bull’s eye on the
phone… but this has been so overblown.”
Jobs refuted reports that Apple was told the phone’s
design had flaws before it shipped, calling the Bloomberg report “a crock”. He
also mentioned that the awaited White iPhone will ship at the end of July.