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Apple fires up Antennagate settlement payout

You may be due a princely $15 – get on it!

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If you bought an iPhone 4 – the model that sparked the now famous "You're holding it wrong" Antennagate dust-up – and you didn't accept Apple's free wraparound Bumper, it's now time to collect your fifteen bucks from Cupertino.

That less-than-massive payout is the result of a class-action settlement reached between Apple and a gaggle of plaintiffs who filed lawsuits alleging that the iPhone 4 was a defective product.

Antennagate, Reg readers will remember, was caused by numerous reports that the iPhone 4's externally mounted antennas would crap out if the gap between them was bridged. The outcry grew so great that then-CEO Steve Jobs called an unprecedented press confab to toss ice water on the firestorm of criticism

"There is no Antennagate," he bluntly told his audience, adding that, yes, holding a smartphone in such a way as to cover an antenna would, in fact, attenuate a signal – but that such attenuation was common to all mobile phones.

"Most smartphones behave exactly the same way," Jobs said at the time. "This is life in the smartphone world: phones aren't perfect. It is a challenge for the phone industry, and we are all doing the best that we can."

Nevertheless, Jobs offered any iPhone 4 owner who wanted one a free Apple Bumper case, which prevented a user from bridging the antennas. If you took one of those free Bumpers, you're not part of the $15 settlement; if you didn't, Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton would like to make your acquaintance, courtesy of Cupertino.

If you are or were an iPhone 4 owner, you should soon receive a copy of the settlement notification, which details all of your options for acceptance or rejection of the offer. To apply for your $15, you simply need to go to the website launched Thursday for that purpose, and fill in the requisite claim form by August 28 of this year. Alternatively, you can call 877-417-7234 (toll free) and request a hard-copy claim form.

By the way, if you're an iPhone 4S owner, your reception is likely better than that of the iPhone 4 – at least that's the conclusion reached by Consumer Reports, the product-testers that had no love for the iPhone 4.

The courts still need to approve the settlement at a hearing to be held this July 13. However, if the settlement is, indeed, approved, there may be appeals. If so, such a process may take over a year.

As to when you might actually receive that $15, Mr. or Ms. iPhone 4 owner, the settlement notice provides advice, not dates. "Please be patient," it says. ®

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