"Antennagate" did more than start the annoying trend where we add "gate" to the end of every Apple bug, it also sparked a class action lawsuit. Even though Apple maintained that the problem only affected a small number of iPhone 4 users who were holding their devices wrong, they eventually agreed to a settlement. On Wednesday, the co-lead counsel of the class action lawsuit announced that iPhone 4 owners could cash in on their claims.
Ira Rothken tweeted: "The iPhone 4 Antenna Class Action Settlement website is up if you want to make a claim or get info please visit iphone4settlement.com."
Apple has agreed to give eligible iPhone 4 users a free bumper case or a $15 cash payout. If you have already received the case you're not eligible for the $15.
Those "well placed and anonymous sources" are at it again. The tech blogs Chip Hazard and West Coast Gadgets have kicked off a whole new set of rumors by claiming that the iPhone 5 is in the hands of AT&T and Sprint beta testers. Chip Hazard's "well places sources" in AT&T mobility revealed that beta testers have been testing the iPhone 5 since July 6. Citing no sources, West Coast Gadgets announced that Sprint beta testers will be spotted in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, New York City, and Chicago starting this Monday.
Why is Apple purportedly using 3rd party testers? According to another tech blog, AT&T and Sprint are ensuring another Antennagate doesn't happen by checking for reception and connectivity. The author also points to Apple's own internal testers losing an iPhone last year, but wouldn't giving out more devices to 3rd parties increase the chances of a repeat, and more leaks? With all the so-called "inside sources" releasing so much information, it seems like Apple is having a hard enough time keeping their own people quiet these days.
The fact that cellular devices emit radiation is nothing new, and the debate over how much exposure is harmful is far from settled. Tawkon has developed an app for BlackBerry and Android devices to help those concerned about the issue. The company was hoping to bring an iPhone version to the App Store but the software was rejected by Apple.
Tawkon has made the app available on the Cydia app store for jailbroken iPhones and is appealing to customers to help urge Apple to lift the ban. Reports have indicated Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself responded to the company with a short email stating simply, "No interest."
The independent magazine Consumer Reports is warning Verizon customers to "mind the gap" on the left side of their iPhone 4. They have tested the device and determined that the Verizon model iPhone 4 is prone to the same reception issues and dropped calls as the AT&T version they tested last summer. The problem occurs in areas with weak signals when the phone is held a certain way.
Gripping the left side of the iPhone 4 and bridging the black antenna gap on the lower left side of the device lowers performance and can drop calls in these weak signal areas due to signal attenuation. The problem was widely reported on the AT&T network and Apple offered free Bumper cases to affected users. Consumer Reports, reporting on their Electronics Blog, stated that an Apple Bumper case alleviated the problem.
Antennagate could be coming to a Verizon Wireless location near you. Turns out when Apple said any changes to the Verizon iPhone 4 antenna were simply to accommodate the CDMA network, they meant it. Some were hopeful that visible changes in the external antenna design would improve reception problems when the phone is gripped in specific ways.
Now that the Verizon iPhone has made its way into the hands of consumers there are reports of the same reception issues that AT&T customers experienced. Holding the iPhone in specific ways that cover the sides of the device cause a drop in signal strength due to the external design of the antenna.
Purported next generation iPhone 5 parts have been revealed by two independent smartphone repair outfits. This unreleased iPhone features four antenna separation gaps in the silver frame, one at each corner of the device. In contrast, the iPhone 4 only has three of these black lines.
Although these changes to the iPhone frame are likely a redesign of the antenna, it's not clear if the changes are to accommodate the Verizon Wireless LTE network or simply to reduce the attenuation issues experienced by some users. Apple decided to distribute free cases to iPhone 4 owners last year due to complaints that the iPhone 4 dropped calls when held a certain way.
Apple's free iPhone 4 case program and app may have smoothed over any lingering doubts over the new antenna design with consumers. Consumer Reports, however still has a bone to pick with Apple over the end of the program, scheduled for September 30. Starting in October, Apple will no longer offer third-party cases to iPhone 4 users.
The company will continue to offer free Apple Bumper cases, but only to those customers who contact AppleCare support with antenna problems. Those purchasing an iPhone 4 by September 30 will still have 30 days to claim their free case under the original program using the iPhone 4 Case Program app.
Chinese news source Caixin reports that China Unicom will indeed offer the iPhone 4 for sale on September 16. This is Apple's second iPhone release in China in under a year. October of 2009 saw the launch of a special iPhone 3GS model that shipped without Wi-Fi functionality due to Chinese regulations. The iPhone 4 slated for China Unicom's network this fall is said to have Wi-Fi.
Grey market iPhones are popular in China, with millions of units in operation. China Unicom allows users with any iPhone that supports its network to purchase data plans. The lack of Wi-Fi and high prices may have kept iPhone 3GS sales lower than expected. iPhones imported from other countries can sell for half the price.
Apple fans are still waiting for a white iPhone 4 release date as Apple claims to have encountered manufacturing difficulties. The device was delayed twice, even after Steve Jobs announced white iPhone 4 availability would come by the end of this month. It could be that the press conference about the iPhone 4 antenna has more to do with the white iPhone delay than the painting process.
Apple is offering iPhone 4 owners a free case to alleviate antenna reception problems until September 30. Speculation is now rampant that the company will use this time and the already long white iPhone 4 delay to implement improvements to the antenna design. A change would make it unnecessary to offer free iPhone cases to owners of the white model, especially if the white iPhone 4 release is delayed until October 1st.
Millions of Apple customers who have already purchased an iPhone 4 Bumper case have been promised a refund by Steve Jobs over the antenna problems affecting some users. The company has started automatically sending refunds to those customers who ordered the Bumper online. Email notifications are being sent out as well, detailing the refund processing.
The email reads, “As of today, we have automatically processed your refund. You have also been refunded for any Shipping or VAT charges that may have been applied to your order.” Credit cards are expected to show the refund on accounts within 3-5 days after processing.