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Apple to discuss latest iPhone amid antenna issues

Apple Inc. will hold a news conference Friday to discuss the latest iPhone model amid complaints about its antenna and Consumer Reports magazine's refusal to endorse it until the problems are fixed.

Apple would not provide details on the nature of the event, scheduled for 1 p.m. at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., other than to say it will involve the iPhone 4.

The device went on sale June 24 and outsold previous iPhone launches in its first three days, with 1.7 million units sold. Complaints about the signal strength soon followed.

Meanwhile, according to a Bloomberg News report, early in the iPhone 4's design stages, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs was told by Apple's senior antenna expert that the antenna might lead to dropped calls and presented a serious engineering challenge, yet the concerns were ignored.

Another source, who did not want to be identified, said a "carrier partner also raised concerns about the antenna" before the device's release, Bloomberg reported.

Apple declined to comment on the source's remarks.

There has been some speculation that Apple will announce a fix for the problem at the news conference. Some analysts have mentioned the possibility of a recall, at a cost to Apple of $1.5 billion. Analyst firm Piper Jaffray said Apple may distribute free rubber "bumper" accessories instead of charging the usual $29 price; that option would cost Apple an estimated $178.5 million - about a day's earnings for Apple, according to Piper.

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