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Taiwan protests Apple's iPhone 4 free case denial (UPDATE: Also Brazil)

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised iPhone 4 buyers they would receive a free case for their device did he mention any limitations to the deal? We can’t recall he did, but it looks like Apple’s quietly creating a few obstacles to customers attempting to get hold of a free case, at least in Taiwan.

There a leading city politician is attempting to kick start a letter-writing campaign as he tries to force Apple into honoring its free case pledge to Taiwan iPhone buyers.

In Apple’s reaction to ‘antenna-gate’ we can all recall Jobs said all those who purchased an iPhone 4 by the end of September would get a free case from the company. But in Taiwan, iPhone 4 buyers who download the app Apple insists those attempting to secure their free case use to make their application are dismayed to find Apple’s system rejects any emails from or addressed to Taiwan.

That’s left 50,000 users frustrated — Taiwan’s top three carriers — Chunghua Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, and FarEastone Telecom — began selling the iPhone 4 on September 17.

Politician Kao Chia-yu is angry because Apple is honoring the deal in countries other than Taiwan. The move has also seen local consumer watchdogs rail that central government should force the carriers to provide the sleeves if Apple continues to deny these. We’re hopeful Apple will simply update the app to enable customers in Taiwan to apply for the cases it offers customers everywhere else.

In a sense it is a moot point. Apple claims the antenna attenuation issue that sparked the need for free cases affects very few iPhone units and will cease the case deal at the end of this month. In a statement, the company said,

“We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought. A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010.”

Interestingly, in comments below we find that iPhone 4 purchasers in Brazil and South Africa are also having problems with the app. That’s an Apple fail in my book, an insult to its international customers. There’s a protest website here.

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