Apple's iPhone 4 antenna flap: Overblown, hubris or simple testing mistake?

With the iPhone 4 antenna issue becoming a major headache for Apple, analysts are busy handicapping the costs of a potential recall, which observers like Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster deem “highly unlikely.” But the larger questions are whether Apple is too cocky for its own good or handling a skirmish with Consumer Reports properly since the antenna flap may be overblown.

In recent days, it has been an interesting duel between Consumer Reports and Apple. Apple has admitted that there is an antenna reception problem on its iPhone 4, but told customers that the fix is to hold the phone the right way—when you touch the antenna, reception dies. Consumer Reports and other testers have documented signal degradation when touching the lower left portion of the device, bridging the iPhone’s antennas. A bumper case (right) fixes the problem. Update: Apple is holding a press conference Friday most likely to address the iPhone 4 issues.

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