How to get a free iPhone 4 case

Apple issues $29 refunds and launches an app that gives customers a choice of 8 free cases

Apple (aapl) on Friday made good on the promise Steve Jobs made -- with some ill humor -- a week earlier. It issued refunds to customers who had purchased its $29 Bumper and it launched a free app that gives iPhone 4 owners who have a problem with its external antenna a choice eight different cases.

If you bought a Bumper, you should have received an e-mail overnight alerting you that your account was being credited.

If you bought an iPhone but not an Apple-brand Bumper, you can download the iPhone 4 Case Program app here.

If you bought a third-party case, you are out of luck.

It has been suggested that the peevishness with which Jobs delivered the message last week  -- "Why don't you give everybody a case? Okay, we'll give you a free case" -- might have something to do with the revenue he was forgoing. Estimates put the profit Apple might have made from the sale of cases in the current quarter at $100 million (5 million Bumpers times $20 profit each).

In any event, iPhone 4 owners who have been experiencing antenna attenuation issues will have to live with them a bit longer. None of the free cases Apple offers ships in less than 3 to 5 weeks.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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