No free bumpers for iPhone users?

Apple apparently has a game plan for dealing with iPhone 4 reception complaints–and it expressly prohibits giving customers free bumpers.

According to a purported list of procedures reportedly leaked to Boy Genius Report, AppleCare representatives are being instructed on how to coach users about the proper way to handle the latest-generation smartphone:

1. Keep all of the positioning statements in the BN handy – your tone when delivering this information is important.

a. The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.
Holding the iPhone a certain way can affect its reception.

b. Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.

c. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand.

d. If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.

e. The use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.

2. Do not perform warranty service. Use the positioning above for any customer questions or concerns.

3. Don’t forget YOU STILL NEED to probe and troubleshoot. If a customer calls about their reception while the phone is sitting on a table (not being held) it is not the metal band.

4. ONLY escalate if the issue exists when the phone is not held AND you cannot resolve it.

5. We ARE NOT appeasing customers with free bumpers – DON’T promise a free bumper to customers.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The latest iPhone went on sale to the public Thursday, and almost immediately users reported a tendency to lose signal strength when holding the phone in their bare left hand. Apple responded by saying this was a common occurrence with any phone and suggested that users “avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”

That’s where the bumper comes in. The Apple Store’s $29 bumper is a piece of molded rubber and plastic designed to fit on the edge of the phone.

A software fix may be in the works and may arrive as early as this week. Users of Apple’s tech support forums reported seeing comments from Apple reps confirming that an iOS 4.0.1 update fix would ship early this week, though those comments and related discussions have since been removed.

Apple on Monday said iPhone 4 sales topped 1.7 million units for the first three days the device was available to customers.

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