Apple will give away a free bumper to all iPhone users affected by the antenna issues that have led to widespread dropped calls, a move the firm says will solve the problem.
While the news will no doubt come as huge relief to customers, one upshot affecting the trade is that the large number of third party iPhone case manufacturers may now find themselves with less of a market for their own products – depending on how the specifics of the offer pan out next week.
Steve Jobs made the announcement at an impromptu press conference today. Unfortunately only a select few journalists were invited to Apple’s headquarters for the announcement – however the below is true according to a number of live bloggers including Mac World, Arstechnica, and the New York Times.
Apple initially did its best to play down the fracas surrounding its iPhone 4 antenna issues, by claiming the dropped reception issue affects a tiny minority of users, with 0.55 per cent of users complaining to AppleCare.
The conference started by playing a YouTube video entitled The iPhone Antenna Song – a video which essentially implied the media have overreacted.
When Steve Jobs emerged, the CEO opened with: "You know, we’re not perfect. And phones aren’t perfect either. But we want to make all of our users happy. And if you don’t know that about Apple, you don’t know Apple."
After reeling off some stats about how well the iPhone 4 has performed so early in its life cycle, Jobs went on to say that ever since they heard about the antenna issue, they have "been working our butts off to come up with real solutions."
Jobs appeared to go into remarkable detail on similar antenna issues affecting HTC and BlackBerry phones – reiterating the company line that this sort of complaint is common on all mobile phones – as is evident in its leaked complaint procedures.
While admitting the firm knew about the potential problem in development, Jobs claimed it was unavoidable. "We haven’t found a way around the laws of physics… yet," he (presumably) joked.
He went on to announce that, as of next week, users will be able to pick a case from the Apple website and it will be shipped to them for free.
A particularly emotive Jobs finished his speech, saying: "We love our users. We really love ’em. And we try very hard to surprise and delight them. We work our asses off for them. And it’s great. And we have a blast doing it.
"We do all this because we love our users. When we fall short, we try harder. We pick ourselves up, figure out what’s wrong, and we try harder. And when we succeed, they reward us by staying our users, and that makes it all worth it."
Earlier this week, the problem gained the attention of the US Government, with Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, reportedly writing to Steve Jobs urging Apple to come up with a "permanent fix" to the problem at no cost to customers.
Image courtesy of ArsTechnica.