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iPhone 4: Apple claims signal problems are "not unique to the iPhone", offers a free case

Apple has responded to iPhone 4 criticism in an emergency press conference, saying "“We’re not perfect"

Apple is giving all iPhone 4 owners a free case for their phone. Steve Jobs made the announcement as he fought back at criticism of the iPhone 4 in a bullish emergency press conference at Apple HQ today, which he opened with the words “We’re not perfect. Phones aren’t perfect... But we want to make all our users happy."

Apple called the emergency press conference to defuse the controversy over the new phone's reception issues. Holding the iPhone 4 in a certain way can cause the phone to lose signal. Rumours of a recall have been swirling, but Apple has decided to keep the antenna design as it is and instead offer cases.

Apple will offer a range of cases, including Apple's own bumper, to iphone 4 owners until 30 September. If you already have a case, Apple will offer you a refund. Here's a selection of some of our favourite cases, and oh heck, why not, here's some more. We've contacted Apple to confirm the details for UK customers.

Jobs claims that Apple has invested over $100 million in antenna testing in the last five years, and in recent testing of the bar bug "one of the first things we learned: it’s certainly not unique to the iPhone." He demonstrated a similar drop in signal on a BlackBerry Bold 9700, a Samsung Omnia 2 and an HTC Droid Eris, saying it's "It’s a challenge for the whole industry". We imagine that's news to the rest of the phone industry, which seemed to be getting by just fine.

Jobs also confirmed the white iPhone will finally arrive in the US at the end of July.

Apple launched an update for the iPhone's operating system software earlier today. iOS 4.0.1 adjusts the signal strength indicators on the phone's screen, which Apple reckons should give a more accurate depiction of the signal strength. To get the update, sync your iPhone with iTunes. Owners of older models like the 3G and 3GS should also find iOS4's performance improves with the update.

Is a free case the answer to your prayers? Is Apple back in your good books? Or is this a case of too little, too late? Comments are below. Finally, the 'death grip' has even inspired a song, as used by Apple in the conference: