Sleeveless Apple iPhone 4 customers in Taiwan demand Steve Jobs' head

When the Apple iPhone 4 finally went on sale in Taiwan earlier this month, they forgot one thing: protective sleeves. Steve Jobs promised he’d arrange them for Taiwan, but he never did.

The result? Anger in the streets as a national iPhone 4 army rises and plans a mass letter-writing campaign direct to Jobs’ office in California.

The sleeveless army is so worked up at the slight to Taiwan that a local politician says he’s not going to take it sitting down and he’s set himself up as leader of the letter campaign to protest

Apple’s “discriminatory practice” is “denying” Taiwanese customers their iPhone 4 protective sleeves, he says. A promise is a promise, according to currently out-of-office Chia-yu Kao. He told local media that he launched the “One Person One Letter” campaign as a wake-up call to Jobs, who he believes is sitting down on the job.

Jobs has promised Taiwan that those who purchased an iPhone 4 by the end of September will get a free protective sleeve. But so far, no dice. So far, no sleeves. 

The news gets worse. Turns out that Apple told Taiwanese customers that they will be able to use their iPhone 4 “so ji” – that’s Mandarin for ”hand machine” – to download an application program within 30 days after their purchases, and then Apple will send a protective sleeve to each user after verifying their data.

Just one hitch: The current Apple system rejects any e-mails sent from or addressed to Taiwan, according to Mr Kao. As a result, nobody on the island can access the application. It’s Catch-22 and nobody is happy.

Kao says that while iPhone 4 owners around the world have had access to the free protective sleeves, only in Taiwan are people forced to go sleeveless. Kao says this is tantamount to a paramount kind of discrimination against Taiwan and he’s hopping mad.

“I’m not going to take this anymore,” he told local media. “It’s time to wake up Steve Jobs with our huge army of letter writers. We’ve been left out in the cold!”

No word on whether the letters will be written in English or Chinese.

Apple, for its part, has not yet said whether the problem on Isla Formosa is intentional or just a technical problem.