Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, announced today that the company will not recall the iPhone 4 over antenna issues as many had speculated. Instead, they will offer a free case to anyone who has bought the new iPhone in order to help minimize the problem.
Starting next week, you can apply on Apple’s website for a free case. If you have already bought one, Apple will refund what you paid for it. Alternatively, users have the option to return their phones within 30 days as long as they are undamaged, although as we’ve noted before, this option has always been on the table.
This announcement came during a press conference at Apple’s (Stock Quote: AAPL) headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., that dragged on for well over an hour. Jobs sought to play down the mounting concerns about the newest iPhone, a public relations crisis he referred to as “antennagate.” According to Jobs, all smart phones lose reception when people hold them near the antennae that wraps around the outside of the phone.
“This is life in the smartphone world. Phones aren't perfect. It's a challenge for the whole industry. Every phone has weak spots,” Jobs said according to a transcript of the conference by Engadget. To support this point, Jobs methodically showed how several smartphones, including a Droid and Blackberry, lose reception when held the wrong way.
Jobs argued that the media’s attention on this issue has been overblown. Since the iPhone 4 was released three weeks ago, it has sold an astounding 3 million copies, and in that time, Jobs claims that just 0.55% of all iPhone 4 owners have reported a reception problem with their device. However, as Business Insider points out, that still means 17,000 people have been frustrated enough to call the company.
In the last few weeks, many users have complained that the reception drops significantly when they hold the phone in certain spots. Apple initially blamed customers for holding the phone the wrong way, but later admitted that there may be a software problem which causes the signal bars to drop. Other publications like Consumer Reports went one step farther and argued that there may be a fundamental design flaw with the hardware.