Apple's free bumpers: There's an app for that

You won't have to wait in line at a store to get your free case. You will have to download an app and wait 3-5 weeks for delivery. All told, not bad.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
Apple made it pretty easy for iPhone 4 owners to claim their free case. Just run the app!
Apple made it pretty easy for iPhone 4 owners to claim their free case. Just run the app! Apple

As most people in the known universe are aware, Apple recently announced plans to give a free case to any iPhone 4 user who requests one (and to refund the purchase price to those who already bought one--a process that is apparently now under way).

What we didn't know until today was how Apple planned to handle the giveaway. Would you have to fight traffic on a special Web page? Bring your iPhone to an Apple Store? Chant "antennagate" 10 times while standing inside a pentagram?

Turns out Apple went the app route: the iPhone 4 Case Program lets you choose and order your freebie right on your iPhone 4. Neat.

All you do is run the app, sign in with your iTunes account, choose from the available Bumpers and cases, then enter your shipping address. Plan on waiting 3-5 weeks for your case to arrive (not so neat).

A couple of important notes: if you bought your iPhone 4 prior to today (July 23), you have until August 22 to claim your freebie. Buy it from today onward and you have 30 days. The program ends September 30.

What do you think? Was Apple smart to take the app approach? Would you have preferred being able to walk into an Apple Store and walk out with your Bumper?