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iPhone 4 cases and Apple’s antenna solution

After numerous complaints of iPhone 4 reception problems — reports of which were initially rebuffed by Apple — Steve Jobs announced an actual solution to the issue during a press conference: A free iPhone case. But what if you just don’t want to wait for your freebie iPhone cover, or want something a little more unique? Here are some options for you!

iPhone 4 skins = Photo by Andy Warycka -

In wake of “antenna-gate,” Apple has agreed to provide all iPhone 4 owners with free iPhone protective devices — whether you choose the standard bumper-style rubber/plastic rim cover made by Apple, or another one of the “select” iPhone case styles that are covered by the freebie offer. (That is apparently part of Apple’s new bumper-to-bumper warranty.) Download the free app you need to get your free case right here at the iTunes store.

iPhone 4 bumper case from Apple

Bump it up

So if you don’t want a bumper case or just can’t wait until your free iPhone cover arrives, you have some options to help avoid the signal attenuation that occurs when you hold the iPhone 4 in a certain way (i.e. with your bare hand actually touching the phone).

Better than the duct tape fix — and less oogy than the condom iPhone cover — one or more of the options we have outlined below should keep you (and your prized possession) covered for now… and might even be useful to provide extra protection even after your get your free case.

Here are six cool options for iPhone 4 covers/cases/skins:

1. Fitted & fashionable

Speck offers an expanding range of iPhone 4 cases, including color-coordinated cases with fabric-backed panels. If you’re a houndstooth kinda girl (as seen in illustration #2) or if plaid is more your style, Speck’s hard-shell matte iPhone cases may be the fashionable solution to your iPhone antenna issues!

Cost: $30 plus shipping.

2. The skinny skin

Simple clear protective skins are always a wise option for iPhones, even if you have a traditional cover already.

iPhone 4 covers

For example, one of the skins available very shortly after the debut of the iPhone 4 was from BestSkinsEver, which featured separate skins for the back, front and the sides. (The company notes, “With the side pieces of the Skin applied to the metal band around the phone, customers have reported the cellular reception loss is significantly reduced when holding the phone by the lower left corner.”)

Cost: $8 for the total body skin, and shipping is $2 or less.

3. Suit up

Here is a slender TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) skin that offers extra protection — and a little bonus style — for your iPhone 4. The MiniSuit iPhone 4th Gen Skin Case (#1 above) manages to be non-slip, but unlike sometimes-sticky silicone cases, the MiniSuit can still slide easily in and out of your pocket.

Cost: $10 plus $4 shipping, via

4. Golden oldies

While it doesn’t offer a perfect fit, many silicone cases sold for the iPhone 3 series actually fit on the iPhone 4 just fine. Don’t try using the more rigid covers, however — only the jello-like rubbery covers will work, since they’re able to adjust to the newer model’s boxier shape. Note: They do not have a keyhole-shaped cutout to accommodate the second camera on the back of the phone… but that little problem can probably be fixed with a pair of sharp scissors. (In the photo at the top: An iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 tucked in a iPhone 3G case, and iPhone 4 with no case.)

Cost: About $3 at for the model shown at the top of the page.

5. A bamboo box

Grove bamboo iphone 4 case

At both the top end of the price range and of the cool range are the American-made bamboo iPhone cases from Portland, Oregon’s Grove. Carved from 100% solid Moso bamboo and available in two finishes, these cases can also be custom engraved, or pick one of several artist-created designs.

Cost: $69 for the plain case and $89 for the custom or artist series, plus another ten bucks for shipping.

6. A rainbow of cases

Looking for something in a specific color or with a funky design? Sourcing Map may just have the answer.

Though we haven’t personally tried any of their cases yet (seen as #3 above), the company specifically states that these inexpensive iPhone 4 covers were custom made for the latest model.

Cost: From $2 to $4 on average (not including shipping).



More about the iPhone 4 and beyond

How to extend your iPhone’s battery life

Top 10 iPhone apps for dating

The new Apple iPad: Magical?


Top photo by Andy Warycka (

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