Free iPhone 4 Cases Available Now

Looks like Apple’s Tim Cook meant it when he told shareholders that most programs submitted to the company’s App Store are approved within a week. Just seven days after CEO Steve Jobs promised to put together a program to allow iPhone 4 customers to get a free case, the iPhone 4 Case Program app is now available for download. (Yeah, Apple probably could have come up with a better name for the app, but what do you want for free?)

The app can only be installed on an iPhone 4, and is designed to be used just once; enter some info, order your free case, and close the app. In addition to the company’s own Bumpers, Apple is offering a handful of cases from InCase, Griffin, Speck and Belkin.

If you’ve already bought a Bumper, you can request a refund (customers who bought a Bumper directly from Apple and paid by credit card should get automatic refunds). If you’ve already bought a third-party case, even one of those currently being given away by Apple, you’re apparently on your own for now. As Consumer Reports puts it:

There’s no information on if and how those who have bought a third-party case for their iPhone 4 might ask for a refund. The announced plan does not mention such refunds, but Jobs said at the news conference that those who bought third-party cases can write to Apple to ask for their money back and “we’ll consider the request.”

You have 30 days from your purchase date (or until August 22 if you’ve already bought an iPhone 4) to request a free case, and you need to purchase your iPhone by September 30 to be eligible, though, as CR points out, “Steve Jobs said the company would re-examine the program at that time, and extend it or come up with “a better idea.”

The Apple iPhone 4 Case Program: What you need to know [Consumer Reports Electronics]