Apple Offers Free Cases To Fix iPhone Problems

Apple announced Friday it would give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone. CEO Steve Jobs announced the giveaway to alleviate problems with the phone's antenna. Users had complained if you hold the phone a certain way, signal strength is drastically reduced.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

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And I'm Michele Norris.

The Apple company has been hammered in recent days with complaints about a problem with the latest iPhone. And today, CEO Steve Jobs held a press conference to respond. Jobs said it was a small problem and blamed the media for blowing it out of proportion.

Here's NPR's Laura Sydell.

LAURA SYDELL: Steve Jobs joked about what some have called antennagate. He admitted there is a problem, but he also showed videos of other smartphones having the same issue. That is, if you grab the phone in a certain way, the signal bars show a decrease.

Mr. STEVE JOBS (CEO, Apple): We didnt think it'd be a big problem because every smartphone has this issue.

SYDELL: Jobs also laid out some statistics. The Apple CEO claimed that their own tests showed that the iPhone 4 only drops one call more per 100 than the iPhone 3. The real problem, he said:

Mr. JOBS: Maybe everybody thought we were perfect, and they saw this as an example where we weren't, and it was fun to jump on it. I can tell you right up front, we are not perfect.

SYDELL: Apple will now give everyone who wants it a temporary fix - a free case for the iPhone, which seems to stop the signal issue. He also said anyone who isn't happy can return their phone within 30 days and cancel their AT&T contract. Jobs made a big deal about how much Apple loves its customers.

Jeff Holmes, CEO of the public relations firm the 3marketeers, thinks Jobs handled the issue pretty deftly.

Mr. JEFF HOLMES (CEO, 3marketeers): He made that very, very clear, they love their customers and they will do anything to make right by them.

SYDELL: Holmes thinks Apple may have lost some credibility over the issue. Apple also released a little song about the incident.

(Soundbite of song, "iPhone Antenna Song")

Unidentified Group: (Singing) If you don't want an iPhone 4, don't buy it. If you bought one and you don't like it, bring it back.

SYDELL: Well, an awful lot of people seem to like it. Apple reports that it has sold more than three million phones in less than a month.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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