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Apple slips Antennagate victims $15 each. The lawyers get $16m

But hey, don't forget the free iPhone 4 case, right?

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Apple has sent out $15 cheques to fanbois whose iPhones suffered from dicky phone reception.

The Cupertino idiot-tax operation agreed to dish out the small payments after punters lodged a class-action lawsuit over the iPhone 4 "Antennagate" flaw.

When the smartmobe went on sale in 2010, its users complained about poor mobile network connectivity, prompting Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs to issue a rare public apology. He admitted: “We are human and we make mistakes sometimes.”

The tech titan agreed to give out free rubber "bumper" cases to anyone upset by the dodgy signal quality, but that wasn't good enough for some users.

Apple did not reveal exactly how many American iPhone owners will get a cheque. It sent out the payment this week with this letter:

Re: Apple iPhone 4 Settlement Class Action Distribution Payment

Dear:

Enclosed is a check in the amount of $15.00 representing your settlement award in the Apple iPhone 4 Settlement Class Action Settlement. The amount of your settlement award has been calculated pursuant to the terms of the Settlement that was approved by the court.

Pursuant to the terms of the Settlement, the enclosed check must be cashed by July 16, 2013; after that date, the check will be void and will not be reissued.

You should consult your tax advisor or accountant as to the tax treatment of the settlement award you are receiving under this Settlement because the Settlement Administrator and the attorneys representing parties in the case cannot provide you with tax advice.

Very truly yours,

Apple iPhone 4 Settlement Claims Administrator

Any iPhone 4 owner who cashes in the $15 cheque is still entitled to a free bumper, according to a website set up to publicise the class-action sueball.

According to The New York Times, Apple will wind up paying out $53m to settle the case, plus $16m to the plaintiffs' lawyers. ®

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