Apple news services
updated 7/23/2010 11:02:14 AM ET 2010-07-23T15:02:14

While those who want a white iPhone 4 must wait until later this year, anyone who purchased the first wave of black iPhone 4s can apply for a free bumper or case starting now — via Apple's App Store.

The novel approach to handling the bumper issue comes a week after Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the company would offer free rubber bumpers to anyone who bought an iPhone 4 in order to fix a problem caused by the antenna, which is built into the phone's outer casing.

The bumpers help prevent signal loss and dropped calls, which some iPhone 4 owners have complained about. Jobs said last week that only 0.55 percent of iPhone 4 owners have called tech support about the issue — "not a large number," he said.

Customers who already purchased a bumper case can apply for a refund until Sept. 30. For those who already applied for one, refunds are being processed now, Apple said Friday.

Customers who buy an iPhone 4 before Sept. 30 (and haven't purchased a bumper case) can apply for a free iPhone bumper or choose third-party cases through the Apple App store, according to the company website. Those who purchased an iPhone 4 before July 23 must apply by Aug. 22. To apply:

1.    Download the iPhone 4 Case Program app from the App Store.

2.    Launch the app on your iPhone 4 and sign in using your iTunes Store account or Apple ID.

3.    Select Bumper or case.

Apple said after Sept. 30, it will reevaluate whether the free bumper program will be continued.

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