The new bumper cases for the iPhone 4 feature a slightly wider slot on the side for the mute switch. The new CDMA iPhone launching on Verizon's network on Feb. 10 has a tweaked antenna design that resulted in the mute switch being moved slightly.
Because the volume buttons remain in the same place on the new CDMA iPhone 4, the enlarged space for the mute switch is the only discernible change to the case. By making it wider, it can accommodate the switch on the current GSM iPhone 4, as well as the forthcoming CDMA model.
Aside from the slight movement of the mute switch, the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4 has four breaks in its external metal band, which borders the exterior of the device and doubles as its antenna. The original GSM iPhone 4, released last June, was the center of a controversy when it was discovered that covering the bottom left corner of the device could result in reduced reception.
Apple remedied the situation by giving out free bumper cases for a short period. That promotion expired for new iPhone 4 buyers after Sept. 30 of last year, meaning those who buy the Verizon iPhone 4 will not be eligible for a free case.
Apple's tweaked design means it will not have to distinguish between "GSM" and "CDMA" versions of the iPhone 4 when it sells its bumper in stores. The new bumper case makes no mention on the packaging that it is meant for the CDMA phone, nor does it explain that the design has been slightly changed. Pictures accompanying bumpers for sale on Apple's online store for $29 still show the smaller space for the mute switch.