Apple Inc. will give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone to alleviate the so-called “death grip” problem in which holding the phone with a bare hand can muffle the wireless signal, reports the Associated Press. Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the giveaway July 16 during a news conference at the company’s headquarters, even as the company denied that the iPhone 4 has an antenna problem that needs fixing. The more than 3 million people who have already bought the iPhone 4 and new buyers through Sept. 30 will all be eligible. People who already purchased the $29 “Bumper” cases will be refunded. Jobs began the event by saying, “We’re not perfect,” but was quick to point out that no cell phone is perfect. He played a video showing competing smart phones, including a BlackBerry from Research in Motion Ltd., losing signal strength when held in certain ways. Phones usually have an antenna inside the body. In designing the iPhone 4, Apple took a gamble on a new design, using parts of the phone’s outer casing as the antenna. That saved space inside the tightly packed body of the phone, but means that covering a spot on the lower left edge of the case blocks wireless signal. Consumer Reports magazine said covering the spot with a case or even a piece of duct tape alleviates the problem. It refused to give the iPhone 4 its “recommended” stamp of approval for this reason, and it had called on Apple to compensate buyers…

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Maya Prabhu