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7/23/2010
12:57 PM
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iPhone 4 Bumper: There's An App For That

Apple makes good on its promise to give a free case to antennagate victims.

Apple on Friday released a downloadable app that allows iPhone 4 customers to order a free bumper designed to protect the smartphone from the so-called "grip of death bug."




Image Gallery: Apple iPhone 4, A True Teardown
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

The app, downloadable from the iTunes store, fulfills Apple CEO Steve Jobs' promise of a free case for all iPhone 4 buyers. Apple is also offering refunds to those who previously purchased the $29 wrapper.

The offer came in response to complaints that iPhone 4's signal falters if a certain part of its exterior antenna—on the lower, left corner of the device—comes into contact with the user's hand.

The bumper works by insulating the smartphone from interference caused by human skin.

Still, Jobs' offer of a free case for all iPhone 4 buyers wasn't enough to win Consumer Reports' seal of approval for the device. "Consumer Reports believes Apple's offer of free cases is a good first step," staffers at the product testing outfit wrote in a blog post Friday.

"However, Apple has indicated that this is not a long-term solution, it has guaranteed the offer only through September 30th, and has not extended it unequivocally to customers who bought cases from third-party vendors. We look forward to a long-term fix from Apple.

As things currently stand, the iPhone 4 is still not one of our Recommended models," Consumer Reports said. Jobs has insisted that concerns about iPhone 4's antenna are overblown.

He said at last week's press conference that all phone antennas are subject to human interference. In fact, he claimed that iPhone 4 antenna's weak spot is visibly noticeable by design. "We pretty much threw a red flag on it with these lines. X marks the spot," said Jobs.

Jobs also said that Apple will roll out iPhone 4 in 17 countries starting July 30, and that the company is working on a software update that will fix a bug in the device's proximity sensor.

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