Semi-related: Nintendo is great at this stuff. When Mario Party hit for the N64, a lot of its mini-games required rotating the control stick fast. A lot of players would switch from using their thumbs to using their palms to rotate it faster.
The result? Blisters and redness on the palms of kids across the nation.
What did Nintendo do? They sent out free gloves to anyone that wanted one.
Free rubber Wii controller wrappers.
(... having hard time not calling them controller condoms as I try to describe them)
I have no proof or evidence, just a hunch. I said this before the announcement today, and I think today may give some circumstantial evidence of this fact. Wonder if it's possible to find out when it is that they started working on these bumpers.
Relative to what?
Anyway, those who care enough about fashion will remove the case and only put it on when they need a little extra reception. Or, just as likely, they will flock to the third-party vendor who sells micron-thin transparent cases. That vendor is gearing up as we speak.
Or use the headset and put the phone away in your pocket, the way God intended phone calls to be made.
What? I'm not talking to _you_!
They hunch over slightly, and exaggerate the act of speaking into it... visually emphasizing that they're not just casually strolling along talking to themselves.
I know when I'm listening to comedy audio podcasts and can't help laughing, I make sure I'm holding an in-ear bud in place in my ear, or looking at the blank screen of my phone.
We're a silly lot.
In any case, I've dropped my 3GS phone about a half dozen times, twice from 3 feet. No damage so far; maybe some scratches, but I use a matte screen protector (more easily scratched than the glass) and a custom vinyl backing (edges and corners still exposed). There's some dust now behind the screen from the impacts, but a case might not have prevented that anyways.
If I had to put the 3GS in a case, I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place. But then I prize thinness in phones over other things, since I put the phone in my pocket.
At least the iPhone 4 bumpers are less intrusive and ugly than most 3GS cases. Still a shame to cover the stainless steel edge when they finally brought stainless steel back in the iPhone design.
It also helps, of course, that one's reflexes suddenly become much sharper when one is carrying an expensive piece of hardware. I've made some incredible catches of that phone over the years.
There should be a name for this phenomenon - "the hand of Jobs" or "the reflexive property (of smartphones)", perhaps?
Edit: I have an iPhone and I live in Philadelphia, where the signal is awesome. We're renaming one of our subway stops AT&T station here, even. AT&T has wired our subways so that I can use my bloody iPhone underground, and it's awesome. I'm not sure why I'm getting downvoted for pointing out that the flack was disproportionate but that 16,000 people reportedly had problems with their phone. What do you disagree with, if you're going to downvote that?
Everyone was waiting for a proper response from Apple; hence the low call-in numbers.
(It's fun to play with statistics to alter public perception)
And it doesn't happen 100% of the time for anyone, it's just very visible to some people when they try it, hence the complaints.
Lying to your customers about perception (5 bars always, making the first two bigger) IS a serious problem.
When the Uberphone that was supposed to be mega-awesome has a repeatable hardware issue this IS a serious problem(even if the issue itself is minor, which it's not).
See here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review/2
The most useful statistic Apple provided was the comparison between iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. Dropped calls are about even. As expected.
For me I prefer the iPhone, but it's not as cool as it use to be. This further hurts it's luster and cool factor!
Still, they'll pry my iPhone 4G out of my cold, dead hands... Android - fuh! :)
Taking the line that other phones have the same issue was clever, but in reality it's actually only phones with metal cases that suffer this problem. The plastic cases on other phones (or the "bumper" outer-case in this solution) insulate the user from the circuitry, of course.
What's interesting is that most other top phones (EVO, Nexus One, etc) don't have metal in the cases = no problems. Perhaps Apple needs to realize metal isn't a great material to make un-grounded, wireless, hand-held products from?
Except the Nexus One does have this problem (to the tune of 17 dB of signal loss, according to Anandtech).
Signal theory traditionally operates with log scale because it simplifies math greatly and makes graphs manageable. If you say have noise floor at -30dB, expressing it on a linear graph is not very convenient.
It suffered it's own 3G related issues and also suffers similar signal degradation as the iPhone 4: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/android/thread?tid=0c0...
There was a little bit of buzz surrounding it, but never got quite the same exposure as the iPhone's problems. I'm pretty sure it's 3G problems made the gadget blogs though.
OTH this is very bad news for accessory companies that manufacture cases for the iPhone. They're going to have huge unsold inventory (unless Apple buys from them and they're able to sell to Apple with reasonable margins)
The result is that if you don't have reception problems, you are happy to get a free gift. If you do have reception problems, you get a passable fix or an option to return the phone. Looks like a win win.
And if you argue these phones need cases to protect them, my 3 year old first gen iPhone that never had a case and still looks great disagrees with that sentiment.
I'm right-handed and I pretty much always hold my phone in my left as that leaves my dominant hand for doing anything useful: navigating apps, mousing, one-hand typing, fumbling through pockets, opening doors, etc. Why tie up my dominant hand just to hold something?
I am left handed btw.
There are indeed amateurs working at their PR department. Good luck with getting rid of that instant meme!
Let 1000 flowers bloom and all that...