Apple launches free bumper program

Jul 23, 2010
Finance

Apple (AAPL) released instructions on how iPhone 4 owners can claim a free bumper. And that nifty Flipboard app? It may not last too long. All this and more in today’s App Industry Roundup. Bumper program starts A week after Apple apologized about the iPhone 4’s antenna problems, the company introduced its free bumper program. Starting […]

Apple (AAPL) released instructions on how iPhone 4 owners can claim a free bumper. And that nifty Flipboard app? It may not last too long. All this and more in today’s App Industry Roundup.

Bumper program starts

A week after Apple apologized about the iPhone 4’s antenna problems, the company introduced its free bumper program. Starting today, iPhone 4 buyers can apply for a free bumper — or case by a third-party supplier — by following Apple’s plan. The first step is to download the iPhone 4 Case Program app and then follow the instructions displayed on the app.

You’ll be given a choice to select a bumper or a free case. There are a few things to keep in mind: If you bought your iPhone 4 before July 23, you must apply by Aug. 22. Otherwise, you need to apply within 30 days of buying your iPhone 4. The deal expires Sept. 30.

That expiration date is a bit of a mystery. By then, will bumpers ship with the iPhone 4? Or will we see a fresh antenna design on a reworked iPhone 4?

As for cases, they are just now hitting the market for the iPhone 4. (Apple doesn’t provide case makers with prototypes before products are released, hence the delay.)

I did a quick scan of cases and here’s what I found. I do not know what cases will be available for Apple’s give-away (perhaps someone can put a comment at the end after downloading the app?) but here’s a sample from the big guns, Belkin and Griffin. (Those companies have built sizable businesses catering to Apple iThing owners since the iPod launched in 2001.)

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Belkin currently sells about 10 iPhone 4 cases (all under $30) while Griffin has five (most less than $30). The PR bin in my email inbox also uncovered a nice looking iPhone 4 Vent Gel Case, for $17, from AGF, and the iPhone 4 Ballistic HC Series Case, a rugged model for the active iPhone owner — but it is $50.

You can bet there will be plenty of choices very soon, whether you get a case or bumper free from Apple, or buy one on your own. For the first time, you need a case to make a call — not just protect your phone.

The Flipboard hype raises new question

Primarily, is the Flipboard iPad app legal? That question was posed by Gizmodo and others Thursday, a day after much hype surrounded the launch of this innovative new reading app.

Here’s the issue, according to Gizmodo: “Flipboard, the new iPad app that renders links from your Twitter feed and favorite sites in a beautiful, magazine-style layout, has a problem: it scrapes websites directly rather than using public RSS feeds, opening it to claims of copyright infringement.”

The problem is that Flipboard “scrapes” the Web for content and does not ask for permission to use. With RSS feeds, you are served a link to a story, not the complete story. But Flipboard pulls art and stories, and even if it looks lovely, could be a serious issue for publishers. Furthermore, the site removes original ads and has plans to sell its own, according to this Boing Boing take on the issue, which notes the app “carries a high probability of going down in beautifully-paginated and typeset flames.”

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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