In case for some reason you missed Apple’s press conference earlier today… the quicktime stream of the entire event is now available on Apple’s website.
If you want to watch the whole thing you can, but the gist is that Steve got on stage and told everyone how much Apple loves their users and eventually during the Q&A he gave a half-hearted (in my opinion) apology. The majority of the the press conference was spent trying to explain that this issue occurs on other phones as well, not just iPhone 4s. He presented a lot of facts and numbers about percentages of people complaining (which was surprisingly low) and dropped calls compared to the 3G.
I have mixed feelings about the whole event, having felt that Steve came off a bit arrogant, but perhaps that was just me. In the end, Apple will be offering all iPhone customers free cases (one per iPhone 4) until September 30th. Since Apple cannot possibly produce enough bumpers for every iPhone 4 owner, they will be offering some third party cases for free as well. This information will be announced next week. If you already purchased an official Apple bumper, you can request a refund. If your already purchased a 3rd party case, you’re out of luck…no refund for you. If the free case solution is not satisfactory, then you also have the option to return your phone for a full refund within 30 days with no restocking fee.
Regarding the September 30th cutoff date for free cases, other than being my birthday, Steve said that they will re-evaluate the situation then and see if they have a better solution to the antenna issue. Maybe I’m just being a conspiracy theorist, but I fully suspect that Apple already has a plan (or at least the start of one) for correcting this thing, which would make it a non-issue on phones manufactured (and on the market) by September 30th. If true, then instead of issuing a costly mass-recall to fix it on all existing phones, the newly produced phones would no longer exhibit the issue. If this fix were to go out silently, then new purchasers will still instinctively buy a case just to avoid any possible problems.
By not announcing anything detailed now, Apple avoids having egg on their face if the new fix doesn’t work, and they avoid millions of current owners returning their phone, demanding an exchange for the new one without the issue. I suspect the majority of people will just be happy getting their $29 back or a free case. Its amazing how getting something FREE really brightens up a persons day and makes them forget what they were so mad at.