The iPhone 4 antenna problem has reached a boiling point and Apple knows it, calling for a last-minute news conference for Friday to likely address the PR disaster. The debate over whether Apple iPhone 4 has a defective antenna or not has marred an otherwise successful smartphone launch from Apple. So what can we expect from Friday's impromptu press conference?
Details on Apple's Friday news conference are nonexistent, except that the topic of the briefing will be the iPhone 4. Here are three possible scenarios:
1: There is no problem with the iPhone 4 antenna
A likely scenario is that Apple would reiterate that there is no problem with the iPhone 4 antenna design. When the initial reports of the problem emerged, the company said that any modern smartphone would lose signal strength when held in a certain way, a statement echoed by CEO Steve Jobs in an infamous email advising users to "just don't hold it that way."
Apple is also set to introduce the iOS 4.1, which would fix another problem the company discovered with the iPhone 4, namely that the signal bars on the device were falsely displaying the signal strength for AT&T's network. Note that the first reports emerging from users of iOS 4.1 beta are saying this does not alleviate the antenna problem.
2: Free Bumper Cases For Everyone
Apple's $30 bumper cases cover only the sides of the iPhone 4, and help avoid making contact between the lower sides of the antennas. These cases have been proved to avoid the loss of signal, and Apple could offer them for free to all iPhone 4 customers. Meanwhile, some iPhone users found that sticking clear tape to the antenna gaps on the iPhone 4 does the job of the bumper case as well.
3: Product Recall
The costliest scenario in the iPhone 4 antenna saga would be a total product recall from Apple, something that analysts have estimated it would cost the company around $1.5bn. As Apple continues to sell the iPhone 4, a recall would involve costs of up to $200m per week, according to estimates.
Whatever steps Apple decides to take in the case of the iPhone 4 antenna problems, the company would have to apologize and acknowledge design faults, a move that could tarnish its reputation, like it happened with Toyota earlier this year.