Apple has announced it will hold a (last-minute) press conference on Friday July 16 to discuss the iPhone 4.

Apple has been tight-lipped about the nature of the press conference but many believe the company will use it as forum to discuss the growing controversy over the iPhone 4's antenna problems with a select group of journalists.

While Apple may announce a major iPhone 4 recall, most technology insiders and analysts believe the company will opt for a "softer solution," and will try to soothe unhappy customers with either a free "bumper" case or a gift voucher valid for the purchase of a case (both of which would address the problem of dropped voice calls users report experiencing when bridging the gap in the phone's antenna).

"There is nothing about the "design flaw" that could be fixed in any recall, short of rebuilding the phone from scratch or redesigning a whole new phone, which would take one year or perhaps more. It would be totally counter-productive for Apple (AAPL) and its customers alike," explained former communications technology industry analyst Anton Wahlman in a July 13 article on Seeking Alpha.

TechCrunch's MG Siegler believes "The purpose of such a gathering would be to cut off the backlash against the iPhone 4 at the knees."

While Siegler is reluctant to believe Apple would consider recalling the iPhone 4, he says a last-minute press conference to announce a recall is "not entirely out of the realm of possibility if, say, Apple is willing to acknowledge that there are at least some defective iPhone 4 antennas."

Consumer reports of the iPhone 4's antenna problems have been escalating into "Death Grip hysteria" as mainstream media and hoards of disgruntled consumers speak up about their problematic experiences with the phone's antenna.

A report by respected ratings and recommendations organization, Consumer Reports, added further fuel to the fire this week when they announced "Consumer Reports can't recommend the iPhone 4," despite giving it the highest score in their latest smartphone ratings.

According to a July 14 article on AppleInsider, Analyst Mike Abramsky from RBC Capital Markets predicts that "resolving the much publicized iPhone 4 antenna issues could cost Apple up to $900 million, and each additional week that Apple takes to resolve the issue could add another $200 million as sales increase."

Apple had not responded to a request to comment on the press conference at the time of publishing.