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iPhone 'antennagate' settlement: free bumper or $15

Paul Sakuma/AP

Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the Apple iPhone 4 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Friday, July 16, 2010.

If you were one of about 21 million people who bought an iPhone 4 in the first half of 2010, you may now claim one of two choices in a recent settlement of a class action lawsuit against Apple for its flawed smartphone antenna: a free bumper case (which was offered in 2010 when "Antennagate" raged throughout the land) or $15.

We know, it seems like a pittance for all the angst over the controversy, which stirred animosity as Consumer Reports' refused to recommend the iPhone 4, despite it earning its highest score in the smartphone category. There was a lot of back and forth, as researchers proved there was something to how user grips contributed to dropped calls

As the Rothken law firm pointed out:

The alleged design defects include the antenna embedded in the case, when used and handled in the normal and ordinary course, caused a degraded signal and dropped calls. In addition, software that was meant to provide the display of the strength of the mobile signal via "bars" was programmed in a defective manner. 

Ira Rothken tweeted the update Friday: "We got preliminary approval of class action settlement in the iphone 4 antenna case today over 21 million class members 15 dollars or bumper."

CNET has the details on the settlement, which came from:

18 separate lawsuits that were consolidated into one. All share the claim that Apple was "misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software."

Emails will go to purchasers before April 30, with the claims period open for 120 days.  Apple is again giving free bumper cases to those who didn't take advantage of the offer in July 2010, with bumper cases then priced at $29 (with full refunds available to those who had already bought the case). A quick scan at Amazon shows they're now priced under $2 (including shipping).


The Rothken firm is no stranger to tech-based class action lawsuits, as it has also in recent years filed class action lawsuits against T-Mobile, Microsoft, Sony and Carrier IQ, mostly as it pertains to privacy and sensitive data. 

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

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On Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the Google+ stream.