Expect credit for free bumper, not recall, from Apple on Friday

Jul 16, 2010
Finance

What will Steve Jobs offer iPhone 4 owners who have trouble making phone calls? We expect an iTunes credit to buy a bumper, not a recall. Also in today’s App Industry Report, when will Jobs bring Swype to the iPhone? Pardon our error As we await Apple’s (AAPL) highly unusual but certainly warranted press conference […]

What will Steve Jobs offer iPhone 4 owners who have trouble making phone calls? We expect an iTunes credit to buy a bumper, not a recall. Also in today’s App Industry Report, when will Jobs bring Swype to the iPhone?

Pardon our error

As we await Apple’s (AAPL) highly unusual but certainly warranted press conference today, speculation is rampant about what Steve Jobs — or someone else — will say about the iPhone 4’s antenna problems.

Several questions have been raised since the infamous Consumer Reports piece on Monday that advised people not to buy the iPhone 4 poured gasoline onto a smoldering fire of complaints. Now, we wonder what Jobs knew of the antenna issue before the product was released. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that engineers were aware of an antenna problem, but “Jobs liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development,” according to the report, citing unnamed sources. Further, because of Apple’s secretive nature, AT&T (T) did not have enough time to test the device before its release.

Frankly, it’s doubtful Jobs will mention any of this today, even as he acknowledges there is a design flaw. So what will Apple do?

Here’s what I think:

  • There will not be a recall because there is simple fix to the problem: Put a cover on the phone. (Or, gasp, a piece of duct tape.)

  • Apple will offer people who bought an iPhone 4 a $30 iTunes store credit. That equals the cost of the bumper Apple sells for the iPhone 4. Apple will offer iTunes credit because many iPhone 4 owners already own a bumper (or some other case) and getting a second won’t make them happy. (If you recall, Apple provided iTunes credit for the very first iPhone buyers in 2007 who paid $599 for the phone, only to see the price fall by $300 roughly two months after release.)

  • For people who buy an iPhone 4 after today, a free bumper will come with the phone. Jobs will then explain why it’s wise anyway to give your fine iPhone 4 a little protection.

READ  Apps That Can Be Used to Reduce Costs

Those are the short-term solutions. In the future, I think we will see additional, more dramatic changes.

For one, since the white iPhone 4 has yet to be released, it’s a good bet it is already being remade for an antenna design that does not wrap around the iPhone. And, since that work may be underway, the current iPhone 4 is also being redesigned with a new antenna. Jobs could announce Friday that new versions of the iPhone will ship soon.

That, of course, could jeopardize current sales but a short-term hit is better than the lingering fiasco Apple is now contending with.

What others think

Of course, there are many opinions on what will happen today.

  • Scott Kleinberg, who writes the iPhone Therefore I Blog report, offers his 10-point plan on how Jobs should approach today’s news conference. I love the first several points on how Jobs will first defend the product.

  • Gene Munster, a top Apple analyst, believes Apple may offer an in-store coating for the iPhone 4, just one scenario pointed out in this Forbes piece.

  • Apple should issue an apology, writes veteran tech writer and Appolicious managing editor Brad Spirrison. “By taking accountability and acknowledging where it went wrong, Apple can restore its setting as the most admired company on the planet,” he summarizes after carefully plotting out recent missteps by the company.

  • Apple will not recall the iPhone 4, says the New York Times, and that a second software fix may solve the problem.

  • Apple legend Steve Wozniak doesn’t care about the antenna woes. “If you can afford it, carry a second Verizon phone for backup. Another option is to carry a Verizon mifi and rely on Skype on your iPhone,” The Cult of Mac reports.

READ  Top iOS Apps for Legally Reducing Taxes

Don’t forget the Motorola Droid X

It’s pretty unlikely that Jobs will announce any new apps today, but one sure hopes a Swype app is coming for the iPhone. The new typing technology is a key feature of the Motorola Droid X, a top-notch Android phone that went on sale Thursday at Verizon (VZ). Once you start Swyping, you don’t want to go back.

If there’s been a winner in this week’s iPhone 4 flame-out, it clearly is the wireless carriers and phone makers that are supporting and producing Android-based phones. It’s been a great year for Android and it will only get better, in part due to Apple’s woes.

Search for more

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.

    Home Apps Games