Apple announced this morning it will give free “bumper” cases to iPhone 4.0 owners suffering from the “death grip” problem — i.e., losing reception bars due to holding the lower-left portion of the phone with a bare hand.

I’ve had a bumper from Day One and never had any reception problems (i.e., other than the usual call-dropping that I’ve gotten used to with Apple and AT&T).

When I was waiting in line to buy this phone at the Apple store on West 14th on 6.24, I read that the bumpers were being given free to buyers in England. Anyone paying attention knew the metal-band antenna was a problem that day. The Apple guys could have have chilled this whole issue down significantly if they’d been willing to forego charging $29 for the bumpers and just given them away. But they had to be greedy.