Apple held a last-minute press conference today at its headquarters in Cupertino, where CEO Steve Jobs announced that all iPhone 4 owners will be eligible to receive a free case, which is believed to help offset a drop in reception that occurs when users hold the phone a certain way.
The notoriously tight-lipped company invited only a select number of reporters -- including writers from Gizmodo and TechCrunch -- to the event, and would say only that it planned to talk about the iPhone 4.
Shortly after Jobs took the stage, he told the audience that his company seeks to deliver its customers the best experience possible, but acknowledged that they sometimes make mistakes.
ďWeíre not perfect," Gizmodo's Joel Johnson wrote, transcribing Jobs' speech in a live blog on Gizmodo. "Phones arenít perfect. We know that, you know that. But we want to make all our users happy. If you donít know that, you donít know Apple."
Jobs' used a slideshow in his presentation defending what he referred to as "antennagate" -- the recent furor over the iPhone 4's reception problems. Shortly after Apple released the device users complained that when they held the phone a certain way, covering up a thin black strip on the phones lower-left hand edge, that reception would be lost and calls would be dropped.
Defending his product, Jobs said that competing phones also suffered from lapses in signal strength when portions of their exterior were covered by the user's hand.
Using photographs projected on the screen behind him, Jobs demonstrated how competing smart phones -- the Samsung Omnia and the HTC Droid Eris -- would also lose reception when held a certain way.
"It's a challenge for the whole industry," Jobs said, according to the TechCrunch live blog from the event. "Phones aren't perfect."
In testing, Jobs said, Apple did know that reception would suffer if the phone was held in a way that covered the thin strip on the lower left-hand edge. But, he said, according to Kumparak's live blog stream, "We didn't think it'd be a big problem."
Jobs said the iPhone 4 drops calls more frequently than the iPhone 3GS, but he said, according to Kumparak, that it is "less than one additional call per 100."
In an attempt to calm the storm of complaints, Apple will include a free phone case with every new purchase of an iPhone 4. The case covers the vulnerable spot on the exterior of the phone, which, when covered, results in a drop in signal strength. Jobs said that Apple will also reimburse anyone who has bought the official Apple "bumper" case for their iPhone 4 and will fully refund all iPhone 4 customers who return the device within 30 days.