Apple's iPhone 4 Press Conference: Last Minute Rumors

Speculation and rumors are heating up over what Apple plans to say at its anticipated iPhone 4 press conference on Friday at 10 a.m. Pacfic Time today. Apple has said only that it will discuss its newest smartphone, iPhone 4. Anticipation is that this will not be an address lauding the successes of the new device, and will instead focus on the reported problems of the iPhone 4's reception. It has been well documented that if you cover the lower part of the iPhone 4 you can experience serious cellular receptions that could result in dropped calls.   Apple's problems came to a head earlier this week after Consumer Reports released a report on the iPhone 4 saying it couldn't recommend purchasing the device.

PCWorld's sister publication, Macworld will be covering the press conference starting at 10 a.m. Pacific, and you can follow Macworld's live blog of the announcement here. Until then, here are the latest rumors, predictions and prognostications about Apple and the iPhone 4.

No Recall

Despite the complaints and personal tales of woe about the iPhone 4's antenna issues, Apple is not expected to issue an expensive recall of the iPhone 4, according to The New York Times. The newspaper quoted a "person with direct knowledge of Apple's plans" denying that a recall is in the works, but the anonymous source didn't say anything further about what Apple's plans might be. Interestingly, however, the iPhone 4's design may have simply exposed a "longstanding weakness" in the iPhone's software, according to a "person with direct knowledge of the phone's design" who spoke with the Times.

That suggests that Apple may be able to fix the reception issues with a second software update, since iOS 4.0.1 released on Thursday doesn't appear to address the problem.

Who Knew?

Reports about who knew about the iPhone's design flaw, and when they knew it, have also started to emerge. Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Apple CEO Steve Jobs knew about the reception issue at least a year before the phone was shipped. Apple, however, quickly shot down that report, calling it "simply not true," according to The Wall Street Journal. The iPhone maker also challenged Bloomberg to back its claims; Bloomberg stands by its initial report.

Jobs may not have known about the iPhone 4 issues, but it's clear somebody knew. In addition to the Times' anonymous source talking about the iPhone 4's software flaw, the Journal is reporting that Apple released the new smartphone "despite internal concerns about its antenna reception." The Journal spoke with several source "familiar with the matter." One source reportedly said that Apple's engineers knew about the design flaw, but Apple pushed ahead with the iPhone 4 release anyway because Jobs "liked the design [of the iPhone 4] so much."

So it appears somebody at Apple knew about the design flaw, but who exactly knew it before the iPhone was released is unclear.

50 Percent Chance

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster issued a note to clients on Thursday giving odds on what Apple would do about its iPhone woes, according to Fortune. There's a 50 percent chance that Apple will offer an in-store fix for the iPhone 4 such as covering the iPhone 4's steel band with a non-conductive coating to stop the device's signal loss problems. Right behind that wager, Munster believes there's a 40 percent chance that Apple will offer free bumper cases to customers to solve the issue, and a 10 percent chance that Apple would do a recall. Incidentally, you can place your own bets on iPhone 4 at sites like bookmaker.com and youwager.com. Other analysts are also predicting that Apple will offer free bumper cases or some other kind of giveaway, according to BusinessWeek.

All will become clear in just a few hours when Apple makes its announcement Friday morning. Be sure to check in with PC World's iPhone 4 live blog to follow along, as well as PCWorld's coverage and analysis after the announcement is made.

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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