updated 03:20 pm EDT, Fri September 10, 2010
'Small' group of people said to need cases
Claiming that iPhone 4 antenna problems are proving "even smaller than we originally thought," Apple says it is officially discontinuing the free case program as introduced in July. "A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free," the company writes. "For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010."
To get a free Bumper after the deadline, people will have to contact AppleCare for help. The company is also returning to a normal refund policy for phones bought after the 30th. Under recent terms, people were allowed to return any undamaged iPhone 4 within 30 days of purchase, and without a restocking fee.
Apple has yet to mention any plans to permanently correct the iPhone 4's flawed antenna design, which can cause signal loss if the device is held in a particular grip. A recent report hinted that Apple would introduce an overhauled phone on the 30th, likely insulated to eliminate the need for a case. No other rumors have emerged to support the idea.