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Friday, September 10, 2010, 11:35 am PT (02:35 pm ET)

Apple announces iPhone 4 Case Program will conclude on Sept. 30

Customers who buy an iPhone 4 after Sept. 30 will not be able to request a free case through Apple's "Case Program," but they will be able to contact AppleCare to request a free Bumper.

While the Sept. 30 date had already been revealed when the program was announced, Apple said at the time it would take the opportunity to reevaluate the situation. But on the official iPhone 4 Case Program site on Friday, Apple announced that it will not extend the program in its current incarnation.

In addition, it will no longer offer the 30-day return with no restocking fee for unsatisfied customers.

"We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought," the site reads. "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. We are also returning to our normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after September 30. Users experiencing antenna issues should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case.

In July, after reception with the iPhone 4 had garnered a great deal of publicity, Apple held an event at which it announced it would give free cases to iPhone 4 buyers through Sept. 30. Eventually, the company released a free application on the App Store that allowed customers to choose a case, including an Apple-branded Bumper, or a number of third-party options.

Last month, an executive with a Mexican wireless carrier claimed that Apple would release a new iPhone 4 with revised hardware to address the antenna issue at the end of September. However, the company has made no indication that it has a hardware fix for the issue in the works.

When the iPhone 4 launched, users discovered that they could reduce the reception of the device and, in areas of weak reception, cause dropped calls by covering the bottom left of the handset. In addition to announcing the case program, Apple, at its press conference in July, stated that all phones experience reception issues when held incorrectly.