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Apple to hold iPhone 4 press conference on Friday


Apple this Friday will hold a press conference on its Cupertino-based campus to discuss the iPhone 4 and, presumably, the growing array of allegations from the media over the handset's reception woes.

No further details about the event, first reported by The Wall Street Journal's All Things D blog, were made available. Apple simply notified members of the press Wednesday evening that it would hold the event this Friday, July 16, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

The announcement comes as a firestorm of publicity has surrounded the iPhone 4, and its propensity for some users to lose reception and sometimes drop calls when held in the lower left corner. Though coverage of the issue has persisted since the handset launched in late June, it reached a boiling point earlier this week when Consumer Reports did a 180-degree turn on its stance on the iPhone 4, and announced that it could not recommend the device to consumers because of the antenna issues.

The matter has been a popular topic in the media, tipping over into the mainstream and even becoming the subject of an entire Top 10 list from late night talk show host David Letterman this week.

Competitors have also seen the coverage as an opportunity to capitalize, with Verizon, Nokia, and Microsoft all taking shots at Apple.

Throughout the growing bad publicity, Apple, as it notoriously does, has stayed quiet. A day after the iPhone 4 launched, the company issued a statement in which it said that all mobile phones experience some reception issues when held improperly. Days later, as complaints about the physical antenna continued, the company said it would issue a software fix for a separate problem, in which the handset would incorrectly report the bars of reception currently available.

Speculation on how Apple will handle the issue has largely fallen under three schools of thought: do nothing, give away free bumper cases to shield the external antenna band from skin contact, or issue a complete product recall. Obviously the last option would be the costliest, with one analyst predicting it would cost Apple $1.5 billion.

Any delays could be costly, too. On Wednesday, another analyst posited that every week Apple does not resolve the issue and continues to sell phones with problems, it will become even more expensive, perhaps to the tune of as much as $200 million per week.