Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Steve Jobs’ live briefing and press conference about the iPhone 4 reception issue triggered live Twitter and blog coverage by tech journalists en masse on Friday.

And websites worldwide – including and Local Tech Wire – were posting updates almost as soon as at all.

Yet Jobs, despite bowing to growing public and media pressure to not only hold a live media event but offer Apple iPhone 4 buyers a $29 free case, insisted the entire issue was over hyped and not that big a deal.

"We’re not feeling right now that we have a giant problem we need to fix," Jobs said, according to wire reports.

"This has been blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible."

Others, including some frustrated iPhone 4 buyers, would disagree,

In the same event, Jobs seemed to concede that point when he said that Apple was “stunned and upset and embarrassed.”

So, let’s try to get this straight: The issue is “blown so out of proportion” yet Apple is “stunned and upset and embarrassed”?

The entire iPhone 4 episode has been a public relations nightmare for Apple, and Jobs at least is trying to set things right. Many devoted Apple customers will remain loyal, and the iPhone 4 is setting records for sales.

Yet as more and more people migrate to wireless phones and consider the latest 4G phone options, Apple may be giving these future buyers and customer switchers pause. (One can bet AT&T – the iPhone exclusive provider in the U.S. – doesn’t think the issue was overblown. AT&T is taking its own PR hits for problems with its network that preceded the iphone 4 mega rollout.)

Behind Jobs on the Apple stage, he even flashed an image branded “Antennagate.”

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) had already issued a software update, the Jobs said the company would give iPhone 4 buyers a free $29 case.

Let’s see – 3 million buyers at $29 a case … Not a trivial amount.

Jobs maintained that no phone is perfect, that the dropped call problem was not significant in number and that fewer than 2 percent of buyers were returning the iPhone 4s.

However, a lot of people expect Apple to be perfect.

And perhaps most stinging of all, making the iPhone 4 case far from trivial was Consumer Reports’ widely publicized announcement that it would not put the new device on its “recommended” list.

Like Consumer Reports or not, that kind of rejection hurts.

And the organization was far from satisfied with Jobs’ case offer.

In a , it called for a “long-term solution” and said it stood by the not-recommended decision,

“Consumer Reports believes Apple’s offer of free cases is a good first step. However, Apple has indicated that this is not a long-term solution, it has guaranteed the offer only through September 30th, and has not extended it unequivocally to customers who bought cases from third-party vendors. We look forward to a long-term fix from Apple. As things currently stand, the iPhone 4 is still not one of our Recommended models.”

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