For several years it seemed that Apple were unable to put a foot wrong. Bringing out appliance after ultra-popular appliance has kept the technology company at the forefront of the industry, with the iPhone in particular dramatically dominating the smartphone market. The last few weeks have perhaps slightly tarnished the reputation of the previously perfect company, due to an error in the new iPhone 4 that caused phone signal to be disrupted if you held the device in a certain manner.

To fix the fault and emphasise the point of Steve Jobs that “we care about every user”, Apple is now offering a free case to anyone that has purchased an iPhone 4. This case should fix any signal problems, and is certainly the cheaper option for the company when compared with recalling every phone for repair.

Obtaining your free case is simple; all you need to do is register on the Apple website from the 22nd of July. Unfortunately though, it seems there aren’t enough cases on the shelves at present for every user, so you may be forced to wait for some time while more stock is sourced and created. The free case offer will continue until the 30th of September so ensure you have registered before this date if you yourself are suffering from reception issues with your own iPhone 4.

Apple announced their solution to the problem at a recent press conference, called after negative reports of customer service started to circulate via social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even video sharing website YouTube. Steve Jobs was insistent that this particular problem is not one common only to the iPhone, even showing videos of other smartphones featuring the same issue during the conference itself. Insisting that the problem “has been blown so out of proportion, it’s incredible” Jobs insisted that the entire industry must work to remedy the common fault.

The problem with the iPhone 4 stems from the fact that the phone’s antennas are actually housed within the unique steel alloy from which the phone case is created. When you hold the phone on the left hand side, the gap between two of these antennas is bridged which can dramatically lower the signal received, and may even cause calls to be cut.

The solution is simple and low-tech, and involves placing a rubber “bumper” around the phone itself. This bumper prevents the two antennas from meeting, effectively eliminating the problem altogether.

Customers that still aren’t happy with the solution even after receiving their free iPhone 4 case may also return the phone, so long as it is within 30 days of the initial purchase, for a complete refund.

It seems unlikely that this small error on the part of Apple and the iPhone will damage the company in the long run. However the angry reaction of the public to the slow speed at which Apple actually responded to the issue has certainly dampened the otherwise flawless reputation of the company.