Over the weekend, Apple delivered on promise and unveiled its iPhone 4 Bumper case giveaway and refund policy program. The program offers complaining iPhone 4 customers the option to receive an official Apple iPhone 4 Bumper case or any of seven third-party cases from partnering manufacturers at no charge whatsoever. Of course, users must be located in a country or territory where Apple sold the iPhone 4 during launch, and these include the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.
In order to keep its system tightly under control as usual, Apple requires customers to download an iPhone Case Program app from the App Store. The application will request the customer to sign in to their iTunes Account and choose from an assortment of Apple, InCase, Belkin, Griffin and Speck case bumpers for their devices. Once a free purchase is made, the application sends the iPhone 4 serial number to Apple’s activation servers and prevents it from being used for another free case purchase. Trust us – after purchasing the Griffin Reveal Black Graphite case, we tried logging out and signing in as a different iTunes Account holder, but the process wouldn’t go through a second time on the same device.
In addition to these eligibility requirements, Apple also requires customers to have purchased an iPhone 4 before September 30, 2010. Now, it’s interesting that the company mentions a particular cut-off date for the case program, as this could imply several outcomes. One theory that several sources believe suggests that the iPhone 4 is undergoing a silent recall where units manufactured during or after Week 27 (July 5th – July 9th) may have a nonconductive coating on the metal antenna bands on the sides of the phone. The other theory, in modest contrast, suggests that Apple will never be able to fully address signal attenuation loss with the iPhone 4, and that the September 30th cut-off date is simply the end of its subsidy contract with third party case suppliers.
Regardless of Apple’s true intentions, we have also received word that the company is refunding Bumper purchases automatically. In other words, it should mean that those customers who haven’t downloaded the iPhone Case Program app from the App Store, but did purchase a Bumper, will be reimbursed through a convenient array of options – cold hard cash, a check, or a gift card at an Apple Retail Store.
Below are the free iPhone 4 bumpers and cases available to choose from: