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Apple issues statement on iPhone 4 'antenna-gate' lawsuit settlement

After settling a class-action lawsuit over the "antenna-gate" controversy that surrounded the iPhone 4 in 2010, Apple has issued a statement declaring the $15 payouts apply to a "small number" of people.

"This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated that they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4 and didn't want to take advantage of a free case from Apple while it was being offered in 2010," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said in a statement to The Loop.

The settlement offers users either a free iPhone bumper case, which the company sells for $29, or they can instead opt to receive $15 in cash. Those who held out for the lawsuit essentially gain nothing, as Apple's original settlement to users in 2010 was to give away free bumper cases to iPhone 4 buyers as well.

In fact, though the iPhone 4 free bumper case program technically ended on Sept. 30, 2010, Apple quietly still offered free cases after that deadline to customers who contacted AppleCare support with reception issues. Those involved in the lawsuit only gain the new option of accepting $15, which is about half the value of the bumper case.

Apple's settlement applies to 18 separate lawsuits that were drawn together into one class-action complaint. Apple was accused of "misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sales and servicing of its iPhone 4."

Apple initiated the giveaway after complaints about loss of signal when covering the bottom left corner of the iPhone 4 gained a considerable amount of media attention. Apple responded by stating that all smartphones experience some form of attenuation when held in a certain way.