Apple recently announced that it will stop issuing free “bumper” cases, no-questions-asked, to all of its iPhone 4 buyers.
From October onward, if you want a free bumper, you’ll have to call AppleCare and explain why your phone isn’t working, and then Apple will send you one.
In case you missed it, Apple’s new iPhone 4 uses an external antenna design that flakes out for some people if you hold your phone in a certain way. Using a case or other material on the antenna seems to solve the problem, which is why Apple was offering free cases after getting a lot of bad press for the flaw.
But there are plenty of other solutions, as we discovered when we ran this feature earlier this year.
For example, the latest purported fix to hit our inbox is the “Antenn-aid,” a vinyl sticker designed to look like a band-aid. “Apple made a boo-boo,” the site advertises. “Make it all better.” Six bandages sell for $5, plus shipping.
The Antenn-aid “may improve signal performance” when placed over the lower-left corner of the iPhone 4 antenna, the site boasts, with the disclaimer that it is “for entertainment purposes only” and that “results may vary.”
But that’s just one option.
Apple is going to give everyone a free bumper or case until Sept. 30, and possibly for the duration of the iPhone 4's life.
That's a quick, simple fix.
If you're looking for more from your case, there will be plenty of options.
Some companies may offer high-end or high-design cases, made with interesting designs or from interesting textures (like wood).
If you're not holding your phone, there should be no problem.
This is the only way you should be using your phone in the car, too.
These guys are best known for their see-through iPhone screen coverings, but ZAGG is now selling 'sides only' kits for $9.99. You can buy a 'full body' kit for $24.99.
(You could also use duct tape like Consumer Reports suggested, but that gets gummy.)
If your skin doesn't come in contact with the lower-left antenna gap, you probably don't have this problem. So don't touch it there, and avoid the 'death grip' technique of holding your phone, and you should be fine.
Steve Jobs allegedly emailed one customer last month, saying, 'Just avoid holding it in that way.'
As Apple demonstrated last week, and as many YouTube users have confirmed since then, pretty much every phone has antenna issues when held a certain way.
But maybe some phones will work better for you depending on the way you hold them.
This could be an iPhone 3GS, if you love Apple's products. Or maybe you'd want to try an HTC Droid Incredible on Verizon Wireless's network.
It's not like you make phone calls on your iPhone anyway. Just keep texting and emailing.
There will be a new iPhone in a year, and you can get that one then.
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