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Apple offers bumpers to remedy iPhone 4 issue

Response to reports of reception loss on iPhone 4

Apple iPhone 4

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced that all iPhone 4 owners can claim free bumpers to tackle reception issues.

The announcement was made at an emergency press conference that responded to claims about the Apple iPhone 4’s reception dropping when held in a certain way.

It follows tests conducted by Consumer Reports in the US – they proved that the bumper frame remedied the loss in reception reported by many iPhone 4 users.

Apple isn’t perfect

Jobs admitted that Apple wasn’t perfect but said that all smartphones suffered from the same signal issues. He singled out the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and the Samsung Omnia II as examples and he stated that Apple hadn’t ‘figured out a way around the laws of physics yet’.

For help choosing the best mobile phone, check out our lab-based mobile phone reviews

Jobs reiterated that the iPhone 4 provides better reception than any iPhone to date if held in the correct way and stated that there had been fewer returns than with the iPhone 3GS. 

However, he admitted that the iPhone 4 cuts off 1% more calls than its predecessor, putting it down to more iPhone 4s being sold without cases – and that cases act in a similar way to the bumpers that iPhone 4 owners can claim.

Owners of the iPhone 4 will be able to sign up for the bumpers through the Apple website from next week. Jobs said that as there weren’t enough Apple bumpers to go round, bumpers from third-party manufacturers would also be offered.

Get a full refund on your iPhone 4

Apple iPhone 4 with bumper

The Apple iPhone 4 with a black bumper surrounding it

If iPhone 4 owners aren’t satisfied with this solution, they can take their iPhone 4s back to the place where they were bought and get a full refund.

If you own an iPhone 4 and want a full refund, read our guide on how to return your faulty iPhone 4.

Steve Jobs also said that Apple was working on a software fix for the issues regarding the proximity sensor. Which? tests have found the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor less sensitive than that on the 3GS, which can lead to cutting out of calls.

Ben Stevens, senior Which? researcher, said: ‘Steve Jobs blamed the issue on users holding the iPhone 4 in the wrong way rather than the phone’s design. This announcement comes in the wake of Jobs saying that one of the best things about the Apple iPad is that there is no wrong way to hold it.

‘Many owners of the iPhone 4 will have been attracted to it by its sleek design, and may now be put off by having to fit extra bulk to their slim device to stop signal loss.’

Join the debate

If you would like to comment on the issues surrounding the iPhone 4, get involved in the debate at Which? Conversation.

Matt Bath, Which? Technology Editor, will be appearing on Newsnight tonight to discuss the iPhone 4 on BBC2 at 22:30. If you miss the programme,  catch up on the news through the BBC’s iPlayer service.

The white iPhone 4 will be available at the end of July.

Matt Bath, Which? technology editor speaking on Sky News 14 July 2010


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