Apple 2.0

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What Steve Jobs will say on Friday

July 15, 2010: 6:59 AM ET

Several scenarios have been proposed. This is the one that sounds best to us.

Photo: Apple Inc.

Apple (AAPL) has finally acknowledged that its new iPhone has a serious public relations problem, and the company has responded by scheduling -- with extraordinarily short notice -- a Friday press conference on its campus in Cupertino, Calif.

The plan is to get what it considers the key media outlets and opinion makers in technology in the same room with Steve Jobs, a man with legendary persuasive powers. His task, to use a phrase popularized by Dan ("Fake Steve Jobs") Lyons:  To re-hypnotize the press.

What will he say?

TechCrunch's MG Seigler has sketched out a detailed scenario that includes a parade of antenna and wireless industry experts.

We're leaning toward the blow-by-blow posted on MacRumors by Will ("spblat") Irace, a veteran systems engineer from Portland who likes to moderate discussions about taboo subjects like politics, religion and Apple Inc. This is what he envisions:

My prediction is similar to others we've seen. They'll say something like this:

The iPhone 4 has been our most popular product ever. We've been excited and humbled by unprecedented sales volume of the past few weeks. It's been our biggest Apple launch ever. Millions of people are loving their iPhone 4's. Retina etc. Awesome.

We've made incredible improvements in the RF design of this device. Here are some examples of press coverage describing the iPhone 4's ability to hold onto calls in what used to be dead spots.

We understand that there have been reports of some people experiencing reception problems when the iPhone 4 is handled in a particular way. We agree that appearance of these problems is related to the "innovative" external antenna design, but this issue has been exacerbated by an error we made in how we display the bars in iOS. [Reference what was learned from Anandtech's analysis.]

We are extremely confident in the overall design of the product. So much so that today we're announcing that anyone who buys an iPhone 4 during its first 6 months can return it--no questions asked--within 30 days of purchase, with no restocking fee, regardless of which authorized reseller you bought it from. This includes the 1.7 million people who bought an iPhone 4 on launch day. We're confident you will love your iPhone.

In addition, next week we will release a software update that will (among other enhancements) do two things. 1) It will make our signal display more accurate, and 2) it will include an update to the radio equipment in the iPhone that will make it more effective at maximizing signal strength even when the two antennas are bridged by your hand.

Finally, anyone who has already bought an iPhone 4 will receive a $50 Apple Store gift card with our compliments. If you would prefer to make sure the two external antennas are never bridged by the way you hold your iPhone, you can buy a bumper or another case on us. If you don't feel you need a case for your iPhone (or if you already bought one) we hope you enjoy whatever you buy with the card.

That's all we have to announce for today. Thanks for coming. And screw Jason Chen. And also those dirtbags at Consumer Reports.

I would be more than satisfied with a response like this, although the $50 gift card is probably a tad optimistic (but recall for precedent the credit to existing iPhone users when the price dropped suddenly). And I bet they don't say word one about the proximity sensor issue, or the white iPhone 4.

Is Irace right? We'll find out Friday at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern). Tune in here for our analysis of how it went.

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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