For iPhone 4 users, blog­gers have in­ex­pen­sive idea for strong re­cep­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS AND PERSONAL FINANCE - By Con­nie Guglielmo

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Ap­ple Inc. fan sites have found a cheaper fix for iPhone 4 users than the $29 rub­ber case that the com­pany is sell­ing to min­i­mize an­tenna-re­cep­tion prob­lems: Live­strong bracelets, which sell for about a dol­lar apiece. Web­sites iPhone Guru, The Un­of­fi­cial Ap­ple We­blog and CrunchGear are rec­om­mend­ing that users take a pair of scis­sors to cy­clist Lance Arm­strong’s yel­low Live­strong bracelets or other in­ex­pen­sive plas­tic wrist­bands, cut out holes for the phones’ dock con­nec­tor, head­phone jack and silent-mode tog­gle switch, and stretch the bands around the phone.

Af­ter Ap­ple be­gan sell­ing the iPhone 4 on June 24, users re­ported re­cep­tion prob­lems and dropped calls when they held the lower-left corner of the de­vice in a cer­tain way. The com­pany ad­vised them to hold it dif­fer­ently or buy a case. Ap­ple sells a such case, named Bumper, that sur­rounds the outer rim of the phone and is avail­able in white, black, blue, green, orange and pink.

“Ap­ple sells the Bumpers in six col­ors for a wince-in­duc­ing $29 each,” Aurich Law­son, a writer on technology blog Ars Tech­nica, said

in a post Thurs­day. “For this kind of qual­ity and util­ity you should get all six col­ors for the price.”

Al­though the Bumpers seem to do the job, even users ac­cus­tomed to pay­ing pre­mium prices for Ap­ple gadgets might feel the cost is “a ripoff,” Law­son wrote.

An Ap­ple spokes­woman, Natalie Ker­ris, re­it­er­ated the com­pany’s com­ments that users should buy one of the cases avail­able for the phone or avoid hold­ing the phone “in a way that cov­ers both sides of the black strip in the metal band.”

Live­strong bands are avail­able from Live­strong. org, a non­profit foun­da­tion started by Arm­strong in 1997 to help peo­ple fight can­cer. The group sells a 10-pack of its yel­low wrist­bands for $10, with pro­ceeds used to fund its can­cer sur­vivor and sup­port pro­grams, ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion’s web­site.

Users who or­der a Bumper from Ap­ple can ex­pect it to ship within five to seven busi­ness days, with mail­ing costs start­ing at $4, ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple’s web­site. IPhone cases are also avail­able from ac­ces­sory mak­ers such as Hard Candy Cases and Belkin In­ter­na­tional Inc.

Ap­ple was sued this week in San Fran­cisco over re­cep­tion prob­lems with the new iPhone by cus­tomers who ac­cused the com­pany of un­fair busi­ness prac­tices and false and mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tis­ing. A sep­a­rate com­plaint was filed in Mary­land on Thurs­day, al­leg­ing that Ap­ple and U.S. wire­less ser­vice provider AT&T Inc. were neg­li­gent in mar­ket­ing the phone.

Ap­ple stock fell $3.05 to close at $248.48 on Thurs­day. Shares in the Cu­per­tino, Calif.-based com­pany have gained 18 per­cent this year.

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