When I first got my hands on the iPhone 4, I didn't hook it up because of all of the known issues. Then Apple offered a free bumper or other case, and a new release (4.0.1), and all was forgiven.
I was pretty reluctant to put my iPhone 4 in a bumper, but I was more concerned about not dropping calls then the prettiness of my iPhone. As a result, when the bumper arrived I threw the iPhone 4 into it and dealt with the consequences.
The first day that I used the bumper I noticed a lot less dropped calls. As a matter of fact, I now only drop a call when my face accidentally hangs up the call--proximity sensor fix coming soon? So, it's clear that the bumper is needed, but how does it work as a protector of the iPhone itself? I had my doubts, given its construction and even mentioned many times to friends that the bumper probably cost about $1 to make. Well, even if it does cost a dollar, the other day it saved me about $300. Here's what happened:
After completing a call, I put the iPhone 4 back into my pocket. Later, the phone rang and without thinking about it, I pulled the phone out of my pocket and the force of the pull also caused it to go flying in the air. In super slow motion the iPhone 4 was headed towards my dog's water dish. With only seconds to spare, I found myself instinctively kicking it out of the way. You would have thought that I had just kicked the winning field goal because the iPhone 4 soared high and far. Long story short, it landed with a muffled thud, without any issues. No scratches, no dents, just a safe and secure iPhone 4 in a bumper.
Unfortunately, while the bumper did save my phone, it does provide daily aggravation. First off, I can't seem to get some of my iPhone / iPad sync cables to fit. Second, pretty much none of my third party cables will fit the iPhone while it's in the bumper. Of course, I could get my dremel--next on my list--and widen the hole, but why did Apple make it so narrow to begin with? Third, it's just ugly.
At any rate, this whole experience has me re-thinking the PR nightmare that fell on Apple when the iPhone 4 was released. For example, if Apple had shipped the bumper with the iPhone 4 to begin with, would people have come down so hard about the dropped calls? I'm sure they would have, but Apple's silly statement of "you're not holding it right", if that was indeed Apple--we still don't know--would have been replaced with, "how about using that case to protect your iPhone 4?" then Gizmodo, Engadget, and others would have said, "better calls with bumper" instead of "iPhone 4 has flawed antenna". I guess it's all in how you look at it. In my case, I now look at the bumper in a whole new way.