Free Cases for iPhone 4 Death-Grip Issue

During the iPhone 4 press conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced major results of investigation done for the iPhone 4’s death-grip issue. Apparently, Jobs told that a very small proportion of customers only experienced the issue, this is a bit confusing on how this issue is brought up and recent 3M of iPhone  4 sold internationally and in the U.S.

Here is some of Apple’s step taken to solve the current issue:

– iOS 4.0.1 fixes the signal strength display issue by recalibrating the “bars” displayed, and all customers should apply the software update.
– Apple will provide all iPhone 4 customers who purchase their phones by September 30th a free case. Customers will be able to choose from Apple’s own bumpers, as well as third-party cases sourced from other vendors. Customers who have already purchased a bumper can receive a refund. Apple’s site will begin taking orders for the free cases beginning late next week, and the company will re-revaluate the case situation as it gets closer to the September deadline.
– Any customer who is still unhappy with their iPhone 4 can return it, provided it is undamaged, within 30 days of purchase with no restocking fee charged.
And to give you more on what happen during the press conference, here is MacRumor’s Q&A coverage.
Q&A with Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Bob Mansfield
Q: How’s your health, Steve?
A: Fine! I was on vacation in Hawaii, but this was worth coming back for.
Q: Any changes to future antenna design?
A: Steve: We’re still working on this. We’re happy with the design. Maybe our wizards will come up with something better, but we don’t think there’s a problem here.
Q: I can’t get my BlackBerry Bold’s signal to drop like the iPhone 4’s.
A: Steve: You may not see it in certain areas.
Q: Why does this happen with just a single finger? It doesn’t require a full grip.
A: Bob: Your body is a pretty effective signal absorber. So when you touch it, you attenuate the signal. But when you grip it, you can attenuate it even more.
Q: Were you warned about this issue?
A: Steve: I assume you’re talking about the Bloomberg article. It’s a crock. I’ve challenged them to prove it. I’ve talked to Ruben (the antenna engineer who supposedly warned Jobs during the design process) and he agrees it’s bullshit.
Q: Will you apologize for investors?
A: Steve: We are apologizing to our customers. We want investors for the long haul. To those investors who bought the stock and are down $5, I have no apology.
Q: Do Apple customers have to choose between form and function?
A: Steve: No. We try to have our cake and eat it too.
Q: Refunds for AT&T contracts too?
A: Steve: I believe so.
Q: Is there anything you could have said during the iPhone 4 launch keynote to lower expectations?
A: Steve: I’ve thought about that a lot. We didn’t fully understand if there were problems. We might have set the expectations that all smartphones have weak spots. One of the things we’ve learned by being a leader in the smartphone world is that we have to educate. So we needed data, and we’ve got that now. You could make a really big smartphone that doesn’t have this problem, so big you can’t get your hand around it, but no one’s going to buy that. We’re not perfect, and we’re working our asses off.
Q: Why the September 30th deadline for free cases?
A: Steve: It’s so we can re-evaluate. We don’t know what solutions may come up by then. Maybe Eminem will come out with a band-aid that goes over the corner and everyone will want that.
Q: If you bought a third-party case, can you get a refund?
A: Steve: We’re not going to refund third-party cases. It’s a very small number because we didn’t share designs with case makers, but now we wish there were more out there! Case makers have a history of disclosing designs we share with them, so we don’t share. If people know what’s coming, they stop buying the old version.
Q: Do any of you use bumpers on your iPhone 4s?
A: All three executives hold up their phones…no bumpers or cases. Steve: I don’t, and I get better reception. I don’t see the “death grip” issue.
Q: What have you learned here?
A: Steve: One is how much we love our customers and how much we want to take care of them. We were stunned, upset, and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff, but we didn’t know enough to be able to address it. If we’d done this event a week and a half ago, we wouldn’t have had half the data we have today. We’re engineers, and we want to solve real, hard problems. I don’t think we could have done this faster…we’ve had cots in the labs, cars here all night. We’ve been living here. But’s human nature to tear down successful people. I see it happening to Google, a great company. Haven’t we earned the credibility and trust that we’ll take care of our customers? The reaction has been overblown, and we could use your help with this.
Q: Did you consider a recall?
A: Steve: When you love your customers, nothing is off the table. But we want to be data-driven. We sent engineers to people’s homes to test equipment and take logs. And we didn’t bash down any doors!
Q: How about return rates at Apple stores?
A: Tim: Very lower, lower than AT&T’s numbers.
Q: The New York Times says there might be a software fix. Is that true?
A: Steve: We just talked about how the iPhone 4 only drops 1 call per hundred more than the 3GS. Go talk to the Times, because they’re just making this stuff up. Scott Forstall comes on-stage: It’s patently false. We can continue to tune the way the baseband interacts with the network, and we do that all the time, but the Times’ statement is untrue.
Q: What kind of financial impact do you expect?
A: Tim: We’ll wait for our Q3 financial results conference call next week to discuss that.
Q: I use my iPhone in heavily-congested San Francisco. Does the handset have any role in congestion management?
A: Steve: I’ll let Scott answer that one, but I’ll say this…when AT&T wants to add a tower in Texas, it takes three weeks. When they want to do it in San Francisco, it takes three years. No one wants it in their backyard. AT&T is investing, but it takes time.
Q: A couple of years ago you released an iPhone software update that improved reception. How does that relate?
A: Steve: We came to the realization about 8 years ago that we didn’t want to get into a business unless we controlled the primary technology. And we did that with the iPod, and moved on to the iPhone, where he can frictionlessly distribute software updates because we control it. And now everybody’s copying us. But to answer your question, the formula for calculating the bars has been off since the beginning, so I’m not sure I understand your question.
Q: Well, you supposedly fixed this problem two years ago, and now you say it’s been a problem all along.
A: Steve: They’re probably unrelated. I honestly don’t remember the issue you’re talking about.
Q: You’ve been communicating with customers a lot via email. How has that impacted how you’re dealing with the issues?
A: Steve: I’ve always done that…my address it out there. But I get a lot of email and can’t respond to all of them. People have started posting them on the web, which is a bit rude, but now they’re even making them up. But I want to communicate with our customers.
Q: Regarding free case offer, will it extend outside U.S., and will it be extended past September 30th?
A: Steve: Yes, and we’ll evaluate things as far as any possible extension.
That wraps up the Q&A. Steve thanks everyone for coming and asks “Has this helped?” Says he wishes it could have been done in the first 48 hours, but then you wouldn’t have had as much to write about.
If you think that you’re not happy with the free cases offered by Apple, check out our list of third party iPhone cases that we listed as the best iPhone 4 accessories.

Comments Closed

Comments are closed. You will not be able to post a comment in this post.