Apple offers free cases to fix iPhone 4 'death grip' issue

By on July 16, 2010, 6:05 PM
You asked for it, and you got it. In a press conference today Apple said it would give iPhone 4 owners a free case to help resolve the now infamous "death grip" fiasco. Cupertino plans to offer several cases including those made by third parties, because the company can't make enough of its own-branded $29 "Bumper." Additionally, Apple will refund the money of anyone who has purchased its case, but not those from other manufacturers.

The company acknowledged that the iPhone 4's reception degrades when touching a spot on the left edge, but it defended its latest creation with a series of statistics, saying the matter has been blown out of proportion. Apple noted that while many other smartphones have a similar issue, including the BlackBerry Bold 9700, Droid Eris and Omnia II, the problem is more recognizable on the iPhone 4 because the black seam "marks" the problematic area.


Despite the fuss iPhone 4 owners have made, only about 0.55% have actually called Apple support to complain about antenna or reception problems, and return rates for the new handset are currently about a third of the iPhone 3GS (1.7% against 6%). Apple said it couldn't reveal the number of dropped calls because AT&T refuses to give out exact figures, but the iPhone 4 is claimed to have "less than one additional call per 100 dropped" compared to the 3GS.




User Comments: 35

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Armanian said:

Statistics: a businesses way of dodging a bullet and making normal people oblivious and seem dumb.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Blown out of proportion? I'm not a super tech news junkie, but I like to stay informed, so I don't recall any major news story about Palm or Blackberry phones being held "wrong" and this caused a loss in signal strength.

But I feel bad for Steve, having to accommodate the hoi polloi. He probably wishes that the .55% owners that complain stop buying Apple products so he can bask in the adulation of the other 99.45%.

Guest said:

As someone once said, "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Reloader2 said:

Well 1/200 of 3000000 is still a lot of faults, and I can almost surely say that everyone with the problem didn't call Apple.

On the other hand it's good that Apple gives out free bumper cases to fix the problem.

thatguyandrew92 said:

Reloader2 said:

Well 1/200 of 3000000 is still a lot of faults, and I can almost surely say that everyone with the problem didn't call Apple.

On the other hand it's good that Apple gives out free bumper cases to fix the problem.

It's good, but not nearly good enough.

Guest said:

but not everyone wants to carry such a nice phone in case :)

i use case most of the time due to the nature of my job, but i take my baby Nexus out on weekends :)

and as far as bumpers go, its just ridiculous that i have to have some crap on my phone so that it functions......

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yep... Statistics are only as good as the data gathered (and the math wiz who's manipulating the numbers to show the best light).

If they are basing the numbers on reports, this is a minor fraction of the actual dropped calls. For one, true fanboys would never betray Apple by reporting a flaw in their beloved iPhone... I'm just sayin.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Instead of issuing free cases, Steve might want to look at "handing" out complimentary white iGloves. "Handy" for making all those beloved hipster moves such as the finger-guns + brash wink...and also a nice identification reference for rooftop snipers.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

There is a big fuss about the signal issues being made by news agencies everywhere, so I think Jobs is right that it is "blown out of proportion". I've been following this online and Apple did not handle the issue well from the start, but the amount of people saying that theirs isn't dropping calls (even if the bars drop) is still far greater than the people I've seen saying they've had dropped calls from it. Apple's numbers may be statistically massaged to appear extremely low, but I think the number of people affected is also pretty low.

Another thing is that everyone I know with an iPhone (of any gen) has that thing in some sort of protective case, now I know some people don't, but most people do.

All the 'bumper' does is prevent you from shorting the antennas, so I wonder if just placing a small segment of clear tape over it would fix it. I don't see why it wouldn't, and then all the people complaining about a bumper wouldn't have to use one. Sure it sucks that you'd have to put a piece of tape over a small segment, but you could also just return the phone and get something else.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

For a smartphone that can browse websites better than any, shoot high-res photos and video/teleconferencing, carries one of the best screens ever on a phone, and can extend its functionality in a zillion ways with apps... to me this antenna thing is still a big design flaw on the most basic level, no matter how you paint it.

"Blown out of proportion"? Yes, and no. Everything Apple is blown out of proportion by media, so if you take the good why not the bad.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Julio said:

For a smartphone that can browse websites better than any, shoot high-res photos and video/teleconferencing, carries one of the best screens ever on a phone, and can extend its functionality in a zillion ways with apps... to me this antenna thing is still a big design flaw on the most basic level, no matter how you paint it.

"Blown out of proportion"? Yes, and no. Everything Apple is blown out of proportion by media, so if you take the good why not the bad.

Spot on Julio, Apple completely blows the good out of proportion using the media anyway, "the retina" display is a good one, but yet when they have an actual design flaw that Steve Jobs actually called "cool engineering" yet turns out it drops enough calls to be noticed throughout the media yet they say we're blowing this out of proportion?! Well at least they have recognised something is wrong I guess.

This also Explains why the wi-fi wouldn't work on the stage for stevey, must have been holding it wrong

Guest said:

so the doctor is giving away bandaids now instead of setting the bone and putting a cast on it?

Cheap asses...

julianignacio said:

I agree with Julio that a design and manufacturing error in the most basic sense can by no means be discarded as "blown out of proportion". Zero defects should be expected from Apple, specially with the price they charge for their products.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

...[ ].... carries one of the best screens ever on a phone, and can extend its functionality in a zillion ways with apps..
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Apples commitment to using IPS screen tech, is the only thing that impresses me.

"Blown out of proportion"? Yes, and no. Everything Apple is blown out of proportion by media, so if you take the good why not the bad.
Blowing things out of proportion to their own advantage is what Apple does best, it's about time they enjoyed the experience used against them.

"I'm a PC, now explain to me how you could possibly use, or even evaluate 220,000 apps for that stinking phone".

Now that I think about it, it would seem that a piece of tape is the best iPhone application ever.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Oh, and I forgot to mention this... for all their denial, you can expect a reworked/fixed antenna solution on a silent iPhone update later on.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Some thoughts on our fast paced, ever changing world

Oh, and I forgot to mention this... for all their denial, you can expect a reworked/fixed antenna solution on a silent iPhone update later on.
Ahem....., "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time". by Abraham Lincoln.

This just in.........."you can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough" (Joseph Levine)

Guest said:

Right you are. But here's what everyone needs to know about the iphone: it's great at everything but making phone calls. That's the rub, imho. Fix that--whether by making a deal with Verizon, or whatever--and iphone will rule the world.

Guest said:

It's just ridicilous that they're fixing the problemw ith bumper cases. They look so sucking to me actually. That's why I do'nt by apple products anymore. I'm buying the phone, first I have to payy additional cost to make it work, then they remove it and gives the fix for free. With the bumpercase iphone doesnt look that good.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Seems that all the phones used in the latest conference were on at&t network. Even if it wasn't the antenna, wouldn't that imply its the network? I'm wondering if he used different phones from different respected service providers would the antenna issue look even as half assed cleaned up as it is?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It's just ridicilous that they're fixing the problemw ith bumper cases. They look so sucking to me actually. That's why I do'nt by apple products anymore. I'm buying the phone, first I have to payy additional cost to make it work, then they remove it and gives the fix for free. With the bumpercase iphone doesnt look that good.
That's why quitting buying Apple products is like quitting smoking, it's much easier if you never start in the first place.

foreverzero89 said:

Reloader2 said:

Well 1/200 of 3000000 is still a lot of faults, and I can almost surely say that everyone with the problem didn't call Apple.

On the other hand it's good that Apple gives out free bumper cases to fix the problem.

the bumper thing is a band-aid, not a fix. this is a damned joke!

foreverzero89 said:

Julio said:

For a smartphone that can browse websites better than any, shoot high-res photos and video/teleconferencing, carries one of the best screens ever on a phone, and can extend its functionality in a zillion ways with apps... to me this antenna thing is still a big design flaw on the most basic level, no matter how you paint it.

"Blown out of proportion"? Yes, and no. Everything Apple is blown out of proportion by media, so if you take the good why not the bad.

agreed, the iphone is phone, FIRST AND FOREMOST, so why can't that work flawlessly?

Guest said:

Seems that all the phones used in the latest conference were on at&t network. Even if it wasn't the antenna, wouldn't that imply its the network? I'm wondering if he used different phones from different respected service providers would the antenna issue look even as half assed cleaned up as it is?

steve sobs had problems even at the conference, youtube it.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

How many of you people complaining this isn't a good enough fix actually have one? If you do have one, are you experiencing more dropped calls than before? If you are, are you willing to accept the 'bumper fix'? Are you willing to return it?

The bottom line here is Apple is getting railroaded for a problem with their phone (which apparently happens with a lot of phones, and I just tested it on an older Blackberry Pearl where I lost 3 bars) when you can just return the damn phone if you are unhappy.

Guest said:

Julio said:

"For a smartphone that can browse websites better than any"

Oh, you mean websites that don't have Flash, right?

kakarot27 said:

ive heard from some people that cases dont solve the problem so ??????????????

Guest said:

(which apparently happens with a lot of phones, and I just tested it on an older Blackberry Pearl where I lost 3 bars

Don't talk the bullshit, show me a phone (not iphone4) that drops the call when you touch it. YOU CAN'T RETURN IT TO THE APPLE. IF YOU RETURN IT, YOU WILL BE LEFT WITH 3 YEARS AT&T CONTRACT, BUT WITH NO PHONE. BUMPERFIX DOESN'T FULLY FIXES THE PROBLEM.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Same! spoke to a friend who said that it didn't fix anything! he already had bought a case anyway but even so, he still gets the issue.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Don't talk the bullshit, show me a phone (not iphone4) that drops the call when you touch it. YOU CAN'T RETURN IT TO THE APPLE. IF YOU RETURN IT, YOU WILL BE LEFT WITH 3 YEARS AT&T CONTRACT, BUT WITH NO PHONE. BUMPERFIX DOESN'T FULLY FIXES THE PROBLEM.

I'm not going to post a vid for a guest, but I went from holding it with a couple fingers to holding it with it more in my hand and it watched the bars drop. Didn't try it when I was talking to someone to see if it would drop a call though, I imagine it would though if I was in an area that didn't have 5 bars to begin with.

P.S. Settle down on the caps, nobody likes to read that.

aj_the_kidd said:

The reality is that most people who opted for a case prior to this announcement won't actually request a refund, considering the demographic that actually bought the phone, plus the total cost of the refunded cases and the freebie cases will be insignificant to Apple.

As far as Apple is concerned, they have admitted fault and are provided a free solution, so any further complaints on this matter will not be taken seriously and is now the users problem. Apple's PR guys really earned their money, looks like this problem will just go away after all.

avoidz avoidz said:

Absolutely spot-on comment.

codybryant said:

It is only a temporary solution. They must try to fix it permanently.

siiix siiix said:

dont understand why anyone would buy this junk, its not that good of a phone for 2010, sure the 2g was ahead of its time , but now its just a snob phone with very little to offer for the money... there are 100's of better choices for fraction of the money... apple really got lazy with this model, its junk

aj_the_kidd said:

Dude, come on, its still a good phone, not everyone who bought the new iPhone was just looking for a new fashion accessory or is a mindless Apple fanboy. In terms of usability (not so much in making calls ), functionality and specs its definitely one the top 5 phones in the world today.

Guest said:

no no you're totally wrong, you have 30 days to break the contract with at&t too, stop looking for ways to complain and ****ing return your phone now and stop whining like a *****

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