What a strange press conference held by Apple this morning. Soothing words from Steve Jobs, free cases for buyers of the new phone and a refund if you don't want to keep the phone. But there is no quick fix for the reception problem, which Steve Jobs maintains is common to a greater or lesser degree in all smartphones.
Despite all this fuss, and despite the scare headlines in the general press, I doubt that this issue will have any effect on sales of iPhones. It certainly wouldn't worry me (if I could actually get my hands on an iPhone 4) because I'm a confirmed case addict. I wouldn't consider using shiny new iPhone without a case because I like to keep my gadgets pristine in the hope of getting a good resale price. A naked iPhone is just too slippery and vulnerable to be used day to day. And it seems clear from all we've heard, that a case completely solves the problem.
Steve Jobs' theory is that the lack of iPhone 4 cases has meant that more users have discovered this reception glitch by holding the phone in the bottom left-hand section of the case. When the 3GS arrived most buyers took away a case, or were able to use the case from their previous model. However, since Apple kept iPhone 4 away from case manufacturers until the last minute (in an effort to preserve secrecy), few cases were ready in time. The result is that many more people were using the phone without a case and had noticed the reception problem.
My prediction is that all this hoo-haa will soon die down. The vast majority of owners will be happy with their phones, especially since most of them will eventually want to add a case. Next week's financial results from Apple will underscore the success of iPhone 4 and I doubt that today's measures, including the free cases, will make much of a dent in profits.