Archive for September, 2010

Apple To End iPhone 4 Free Bumper Program

September 14, 2010

As expected, Apple has announced it is winding down its iPhone 4 free bumper program at the end of the month, although it appears a bumper would still be available to those who file a complaint with AppleCare. According to a statement on its website,

We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.

Although Apple claims the antenna attenuation issue is insignificant, we reported last week that customers can now see for themselves precisely how the signal strength of the phone is affected by the manner in which the device is gripped. It is unclear what has changed since July to cause Apple to discontinue this program. As PC World asks,

Without knowing the real numbers behind how many users are impacted, though, it seems that it is in Apple’s best interests to simply continue the free case program. If the number of affected users is truly so small, what is the harm in extending the free case offer?

If you own an iPhone 4, and are interested in participating in our lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, please email me at dan@wardlawdc.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Dan Ward

Test your iPhone 4’s Antenna Reception

September 9, 2010

Months after debate began over the iPhone 4’s antenna design and reception, it appears there is now an easy way to test the antenna for yourself. Gizmodo is providing instructions on how to activate an iPhone 4’s “field test mode,” which replaces the phone’s signal bars with a numerical measure of signal strength.

You just need to follow these two easy steps:

• First, upgrade your iPhone 4—or any iPhone—to iOS 4.1.
• Dial *3001#12345#* into your phone.

Done. The signal bars will be replaced with a number (like -85). The more negative the number, the worse the signal is. Example: -110 is worse than -85. Once activated, you can switch between signal bars and number by touching on the number.

Try the test mode now. Then use a finger to connect the two metal bands on the lower left corner, over the black plastic strip. That will short-circuit the magical gap and bring the phone’s signal down quite significantly.

To get out of the field test mode, just hit the home button.

This test confirms earlier reports by many, including Consumer Reports, that the iPhone 4 suffers from a critical antenna design defect that causes the phone to lose signal strength when held in a typical manner.

In other news, an analyst firm in Minneapolis has concluded that Antennagate has taken a significant toll on sales of the iPhone 4. According to a telephone poll conducted by the firm,

“We found that the antenna issue has impacted the purchase of 20% of people who are aware of the iPhone 4 antenna issue,” the analyst firm said in an email bulletin.

[…]

Apple could lose up to $0.11 in September earnings per share due to the antenna issue, Piper Jaffray said.

If you own an iPhone 4, and are interested in participating in our lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, please email me at dan@wardlawdc.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Dan Ward