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Citing a person familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple doesn't plan to instate a recall of the more than 2 million units it's shipped worldwide thus far.
That same person echoed an earlier report from Bloomberg in claiming that hardware engineers warned chief executive Steve Jobs about the risks of the phone's new external antenna design nearly a year ago, but that Jobs "liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development."
The report went on to document how Apple's immense secrecy over new iPhone masked the problem during the company's evaluation process with its carrier partners, as design verification units were disguised as "stealth" phones that obscured their design and some of their functions.
"Those test phones are specifically designed so the phone can't be touched, which made it hard to catch the iPhone 4's antenna problem," the Journal said. The paper added, citing people familiar with the matter, that Apple afforded carriers "limited time to test the iPhone 4 before its June 24 launch" and equipped them with "fewer devices to test than other handset makers."
Although Apple declined to comment on its development methods for the new iPhone, a company spokesperson fired back at Bloomberg's claim that a senior antenna expert had expressed his concern over the new design to Jobs, challenging the publication to "produce anything beyond rumors to back this up."
"It's simply not true," the spokesperson said.
Concerns over the iPhone 4's new antenna design began generating headlines ever since its June 24th launch, when some users began reporting the handset's propensity to lose reception and sometimes drop calls when cupped in the lower left corner.
Though media coverage of the matter persisted for a couple of weeks on and on-and-off basis, 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 no longer recommend the device to consumers because of the antenna issues.
Since then, the matter has only escalated further up the chain, with democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer on Thursday issuing an open letter to Jobs, calling Apple's current solutions to fixing the problem "insufficient" and asking the company to provide a free fix for consumers.
Apple will hold a press conference on its Cupertino-based campus on Friday, presumably to address the matter in some capacity. AppleInsider will provide full coverage.