Apple Pulling Plug On Free iPhone 4 Bumper Program

If you’re an iPhone 4 owner and haven’t scored your free bumper case, you’ve only got a couple weeks left to get one. Apple has announced that it is pulling the plug on the free bumper program at the end of September.

The free bumpers were a make-good from Apple in the wake of Consumer Reports’ announcement that it couldn’t recommend the phone because of the “Death Grip” design flaw, which significantly decreased users’ reception when their hand covered one particular spot on the iPhone 4’s edge.

But in a statement posted on Apple.com, the company once again downplayed the gaffe in its explanation for ending the bumper program:

We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.

Our smarter siblings at Consumer Reports responded to this announcement thusly:

Our tests found the Bumper successfully mitigates the iPhone 4’s reception issue, which was a weak point in the phone’s otherwise-stellar performance in our tests. And we agree with Apple that not all iPhone 4 owners will experience reception difficulties with the device.

But putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us. We therefore continue not to recommend the iPhone 4, and to call on Apple to provide a permanent fix for the phone’s reception issues.

Apple curtails its free case program for the iPhone 4 [Consumer Reports]