Last Friday Apple CEO Steve Jobs stepped in front of the world to address the widespread iPhone 4 antenna issues that effectively made the smartphone lose reception when a user engaged in the “iPhone death grip.” He addressed his wide consumer saying, “You know, we’re not perfect. We know that, you know that. And phones aren’t perfect either.” Most iPhone 4 owners claimed they didn’t experience these problems but once notorious tech media writers got a hold of Jobs acknowledging the claims, word spread like wildfire.

Thus the wildfire led to the press conference last Friday. Many skeptics brewed over what they could possibly announce. Some thought they would issue a recall, which incidentally would amount to a $1.5 billion cost to recover 600,000 iPhone 4s. Meanwhile, others thought they would receive an apology from Jobs for overhyping the amazing antenna. Finally, some analysts thought the Cupertino-based company should offer bumpers, rubber cases that mitigate the issue at hand.

In the end, Jobs announced they were offering free bumpers to users this week until the end of September. During the Q&A a member of the press asked if the company considered a recall but Jobs avoided answering the questions. In any case, had the company issued a recall they would not only have a large operating cost on their hands, they would have created physical waste with unused new iPhone 4s. Some of the parts could be reused or refurbished. However, given all the packaging that would be used, fuel required for shipping the phones to and fro and the paperwork needed to account for all items, Apple may have just done the greenest thing possible.

While some iPhone 4 owners are unpleased and others are happy to get their bumpers, Apple shows that a common business decision can inadvertently promote corporate social responsibility for both the enterprise and the consumer.

Does shipping the bumper make them environmentally friendly or not? Does Apple still need to address their factory conditions before they claim to be the greenest device maker around? We’d like to hear your thoughts!

Photo courtesy of Engadget

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