Apple to hold press conference on iPhone 4

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The Independent Online

Apple has called a press conference for Friday to discuss its latest iPhone, which has been dogged by reports of reception problems.

Apple invited select journalists to attend the event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters at 10:00 am (1700 GMT).

Apple did not provide any further details about the press conference but said it would be about the iPhone 4, which went on sale three weeks ago.

Some buyers have complained about reception issues and Consumer Reports, the influential product review magazine, said it could not recommend the device because of signal loss problems it blamed on a design flaw.

Most analysts have dismissed rumors of a recall saying the problem is not that serious and The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter," reported Thursday that the company did not plan a recall.

Citi analyst Richard Gardner said "we consider the probability of a recall to be very low given our view that the issue in question is not serious enough to warrant a recall."

Abhey Lamba of the International Strategy and Investment Group said that "doing nothing is not an option anymore" for Apple but a "full recall is too drastic a measure as the real problem is not that severe."

Apple earlier this month said that it had used erroneous formulas to calculate signal strength for the iPhone 4 and promised to issue a free software patch to resolve the issue that has already triggered lawsuits.

The California gadget maker denied that reception problems were due to faults in its new antenna system, which is incorporated in the casing.

Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones since the device made its debut in 2007 and sales of the latest model appear to be brisk despite the reports of reception problems.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple engineers were aware of the risks associated with the new antenna design as early as a year ago, but chief executive Steve Jobs liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development.

Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, urged Apple meanwhile to come up with a fix for the iPhone.

In a letter to Jobs, Schumer asked Apple to provide a "clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge.

"The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called 'death grip' malfunction - such as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for it - seem to be insufficient," Schumer said.

"I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner," Schumer said.

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