iPhone 4 Signal Problems: Should Apple bumpers be free?

By Peter Chubb - Jun 26, 2010

The iPhone 4 was released to the public on Thursday, June 24, 2010 and since then has been marred with a number of problems. These include yellowish stains on the display – which has now gone away – and losing signal. However, in a strange twist Steve Jobs said that we were holding our phone wrong and that a Bumper case would solve the issue. (Our hands-on of this problem)

This has led a number of us iPhone 4 owners to say that Apple should now offer us one of these cases for nothing – why should we have to spend another $20 $29 just for the phone to perform this basic function? And it seems that discussions on the Apple Forum agrees.

We did a simple search on Google “site:discussions.info.apple.com Apple bumpers be free”. As you can see there are a number of results – this certainly shows that people want a Bumper for free. However, it looks as though the iPhone maker does not agree with you as all the discussions have been deleted.

I remember reading somewhere – forgive me as I cannot remember where – that the FCC should now get involved. The reason is because you should not have to rely on another product to make certain that the original product – the iPhone 4 – can work in the manner that it was intended too.

Some people believe that Apple knew about this issue, which is why they have decided to sell a Bumper for the very first time. Surly this cannot be true, what do you think?

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Also See: In-car iPhone 5, 4/4S holder options – Hands-on review

  • oc.

    Apples contract with AT&T is until December of 2012. Its funny how ever since AT&T got the iphone, every other month someone says "its been leaked that Verizon is getting the iphone in (insert random date here)' and yet it hasnt happened. Thats cuz Verizon is CDMA and is considered limited technology. AT&T's GSM is limitless and supports simultaneous talk and web which all other services requires you to be on WIFI to do so. Verizon will not get the iphone until January 2012 at the soonest if they actually make the switch to GSM, which would be in their best interest if they ever plan on getting the iphone.

  • Disapointed applefan


  • Nathaniel

    I'm not buying a bumper case, instead I'm buying a much better case for the same price: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/ac
    I'm not paying $30 for something that is about $2 at the most. So if you have an iPhone 4, buy a different case rather than the cheaply made bumper.

  • samsid

    I posted the following comment on Apple's forum – we'll see what happens…

    "When I hold the iPhone 4 as prescribed in the iPhone user guide on page 36 (or 21 depending upon the view of Chapter 2 – Basics) for typing text, I lose all 2G and 3G network service. Therefore while using the phone in this mode I am unable to send the text message I have written, send the email I have just written, browse to the web page I have just attempted to browse to or receive any calls during this time.

    For the record I am holding the device as prescribed by Apple in their documentation. I am not holding it wrong, gripping it tightly or any other nonsense."

    Link to the manual:

  • Mark

    To all the comments here.. It's us who make Apple so unethical. Just stop buying these expensive apple junk products and avoid at no cost. We're so better of with standard Android and HTC phones who are real phones (which does the phone job effectively) and not pocket computers (which does not do any good for basic phone functionalities).

  • When it comes to the bumpers from the meritline.com site that @Kyletwit suggested for 2.99, the quality is pretty crappy. The price is still too high for the apple version but the quality is pretty good. I just thought it was a piece of silicon or rubber band at first but it is actually a piece of hardened rubber with softer rubber edge with metal buttons. The lines for all the jacks are cut perfectly and after trying it on I ended up buying one. But if he ends up giving these things out I'd better get a refund!

  • glaaem

    A long time ago, I used to be an Apple fan. I even owned an Apple II+ However, over the years, they have become a monopoly unto themselves. I think Wozniak was the one who was compassionate and kept Steve Jobs in line. Just like him not wanting flash on the device has nothing to do with a security risk. It has to do with him and Apple making more money, since he wants you to purchase all content. Kind of sad when you think about how he treats customers and fans of the products. Everyone rags on Microsoft, yet it seems that Apple is sacrosanct. I have Verizon and now it has been leaked that Verizon will get the iPhone in Jnauary 2011. I'll wait a few months past that when they work out all the bugs. My wife wants an iPhone, so I might relent and let her get one. As for me, the jury is out. It's a nice device, but if no gflash, then I'll get an Android. Screw Steve Jobs!

  • simon

    Again why should they? its apple playing games as they did with the 3g iphone they new there would be massive demand but make sure there are not enough you cant order these online so the ques look great in the papers as we all wait outside the shops crap tariffs massive cost of the phone yet they sit back and just smile if the faults were on any other phone it would fall on its face Apple know they can get away with this

  • Pete

    I'm an iPhone 4 owner and am thoroughly disgusted by both Steve Job's response and Apple's lack of corporate response so far! Unless a firmware update can resolve this issue the product should be recalled. It's worth noting that the efficacy of such an update can easily be checked with an online speed test.

    To suggest that a customer spend an additional £30 (or $30) to allow a £500 device to function as intended, is offensive. UK consumer law states that 'goods must be reasonably fit for purpose'. In this instance, the intended purpose is primarily that of a mobile phone. The phone should therefore function in this capacity within reasonable circumstances; being held in the hand (in whatever manner) does not constitute unreasonable circumstances!

    Even an offer of free 'bumpers' would not be acceptable; the iPhone is a product that has been heavily marketed on it's design aesthetics – I expect it to function in the form it was advertised as having.

    IMPORTANT: Any UK users attempting to 'fix' the issue themselves should note that such efforts may void your warranty!

  • Well its good this hoax about recalling the iPhone 4 didn't happened. http://j.mp/iphone4-going-down-recalled

  • Karen

    free for sure. I have an iphone 4 & iphone 3g – my 3g always has 4 bars at home – signal is all over the place with the 4. $30 is ridiculous for a piece of rubber and a slap in the face to consumers. With the growing droid market, they better be nice to their customers.

  • Steven Q

    I agree with other users, I think it is very arrogant for Steve Jobs to tell us to hold our phones a certain way or pay him $29 for a bumper. I hope everyone raises enough crap about it that he wished he had rephrased what he said. I agree with other users the bumper should retail for no more than $4.99 for a cheap piece of plastic. Come on…

  • Anil

    Why dont you all return your handsets, and buy it again in a month or two (once they fix all the issues)… Apple will be forced to rectify the issue if you all return it.

    In the UK, You can return a item within 30 days to a retail store if its faulty, which in this case it is.

    I would personally return it, then buy it again in a month or two once all the kinks have been fixed.

    This is disgraceful from Apple,

  • Jim C

    Apple's initial response to the antenna issue is like a person buying a bag of M&Ms, getting sick from the green ones, and then Mars Co. saying, "Just don't eat the green ones". The problem: You're supposed to be able to eat them all! You paid to do so!

    Just like you paid for the iPhone 4 to hold any way you want….

  • For $29 you should get all of the colors of bumpers. They cost less than $1 each to make easily. That way you could change them depending on the day and whatnot. $29 for one is stupid expensive. Meritline.com $2.99 bumpers ftw.

  • Why wouldn't they hand them out free? Like come on, they may RETAIL for $30, but they would cost 50 cents MAX to make. If it calms a bunch of angry customers, why not?

  • panoet

    I've tired to hear this topic on every blog related to "iPhone" 🙁

  • Marc M.

    I believe the reception issue was known and done on purpose, to promote the need for the bumper, basic up-sale. The issue at hand is a very common and basic principle of wireless technology. It would be hard for me to believe that all the engineers and designers at Apple would not have experienced this during development.

  • Keith

    I agree with everyone that the bumpers should be given out for free do to the defect.

  • Ray
  • Saz

    I was more disappointed that when i uploaded my new phone all my old photo folders disappeared!!! wouldn't have been an issue but the computer they came from crashed some time ago so that was my backup haa!

  • Travis

    The bumpers retail for $29, even worse than the $20 posted on here. If I were Steve Jobs, I would offer the bumpers free to anyone who was returning the phone because of that issue. If it turned worse, I would just hand them out with each sale to avoid further complications.

  • Joshua Garrett

    Even nintendo gave us free hand straps and rubber covers when people wouldn’t stop throwing the wiimotes into their tvs. And that wasn’t their fault lol.