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