Looking to put a cap on the negative press that threatened to derail the wider international launch of the iPhone 4, Apple has announced it will give all new and existing iPhone 4 owners a free bumper case to solve the much-hyped “death-grip” problem. And if you've already shelled out for a case, Apple will reimburse you.

At a press conference on Friday, Apple’s Steve Jobs pointed out that the iPhone 4 is far from being the only phone that suffers from reception problems when held in a certain way. Jobs said the company actually knew about the drop in bars during testing the iPhone 4 and didn’t think it would be a problem as it s a common problem among smartphones.

Playing a video that showed a variety of phones’ signal strength dropping when held in a certain way, it’s not hard to see why Apple seems to feel a bit hardly done. With all the interest it was inevitable that the company would need to address the problem, which is just what it did on Friday.

The free bumper offer will apply until September 30, 2010. At which time Apple says it will re-examine the situation. Whether this means the company plans a hardware fix isn’t clear.

With the iPhone 4 set to hit an additional 17 countries on July 30, Apple is no doubt hoping the free bumper offer will help generate some positive press to offset the recent negative coverage. However, for many who have been waiting with baited breath for the release of the new device, the problem probably won't even be on their radar.

The full conference can be viewed at Apple's website here.

View gallery - 5 images