Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference starts at 10 a.m.

Apple’s short-notice press conference regarding the iPhone 4 will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Although no one is certain what the company may say, earlier reports have indicated that the company is unlikely to issue a recall of current iPhone 4 units, and may well claim that the handset’s reception problems can be fixed via a software update. Also unknown is whether or not the company will make any mention of the ongoing proximity sensor issue reported by some users. We will be updating this story throughout the event as information becomes available.
10:00 a.m. Attendees have been seated. AllThingsD notes that Apple executives Tim Cook, Bertrand Serlet, Bob Mansfield and Phil Schiller are present, and seated in the front row.

10:04 a.m. The event has begun with a humorous video, “The iPhone Antenna Song.”

10:06 a.m. Apple CEO Steve Jobs opens the event, saying that the company saw the video on YouTube and couldn’t help but share it. Says that the company will answer the press’ questions, but he has a 15 min. presentation first.

10:08 a.m. Jobs says Apple’s isn’t perfect and neither are phones, but says it wants to make its users happy.

10:09 a.m. Jobs reveals that Apple has sold more than 3 million iPhone 4 units so far, touts its rankings as the highest rated iPhone or smartphone on the market.

10:11 a.m. Jobs notes that it was 22 days ago when videos first started appearing on the web showing the antenna “death grip” issue. Says the company has been working hard to determine what the problem is. Also shows video evidence of the same phenomena happening on other phones, including the BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II.

10:15 a.m. Jobs calls the problem “a challenge for the whole industry.” Makes mention of the new signal reporting algorithm, saying the company has “screwed up” earlier, but noting that the company has yet to figure out a way around the laws of physics. Also shows photos of Apple’s testing rooms – claims there are 17 anechoic chambers for testing, an investment of more than $100 million.

10:20 a.m. Jobs quotes AppleCare data, and claims that just 0.55% of iPhone 4 owners have called to complain about the antenna or reception issues.

10:23 a.m. Jobs claims that AT&T’s return rates on early shipments of the iPhone 4 are 1.7%, or less than a third of the 6% seen during a similar time period with the iPhone 3GS.

10:24 a.m. Jobs quotes early call drop data logs from AT&T, and admits that the iPhone 4 is seeing more dropped calls than the iPhone 3GS… but it’s still less than one extra call per 100 compared to the older hardware.

10:28 a.m. Jobs is sharing his own theory on why there have been so many complaints about the antenna. Notes that when the iPhone 3GS launched, there were already plenty of compatible cases on the market, since it shared its physical design with the iPhone 3G. Claims that 80% of users left the store with a case, compared to just 20% of iPhone 4 users who are able to leave with a case due to demand.

10:31 a.m. To help alleviate users’ concerns, Jobs says that Apple is going to offer every iPhone 4 user a free case, or a refund if they purchased a Bumper Case, for every iPhone 4 purchased by September 30. Since Jobs claims that Apple can’t make enough Bumpers to supply one to every user, the company will be offering a choice of cases, which will be shipped to users who apply online on Apple’s website starting late next week.

10:32 a.m. Jobs also notes that the proximity sensor issue will be fixed in the next software update.

10:34 a.m. Jobs says that the white iPhone 4 will be available by the end of July, and the phone will be launching in 17 more countries on July 30—Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, but notably not South Korea.

10:38 a.m. Jobs closes the presentation by showing multiple slides claiming “We love our users,” and repeating the phrase several times while attempting to explain how hard the company works to offer them “great” products, services, and content. Q&A session with Jobs, Cook, and Mansfield follows.

10:43 a.m. A question to Jobs about potential antenna changes leads him to say that Apple doesn’t see the need to change the design right now. He was also asked about the Bloomberg article claiming the company was made aware of a potential antenna issue in early development, and called the story a “crock.”

10:48 a.m. Jobs was asked whether he felt an apology was owed to Apple’s investors, and said he apologized to customers who weren’t happy with the iPhone 4, but said he didn’t have an apology to investors who are concerned with immediate fluctuations in stock price and not invested in Apple as a company for the long term.

10:52 a.m. Jobs says that the case refund will not extend to third-party cases, only to those who previously purchased a Bumper case.

10:56 a.m. All three executives are asked whether they carry their iPhone 4s in cases, and all three raise their phones in the air, none of which are inside a case.

10:57 a.m. Asked about what Apple could have done differently, Jobs said that the company was embarrassed by the Consumer Reports posts from earlier in the week, and admitted that the company wasn’t innocent in its handling of the issue, but did claim that the press coverage and reaction to the issue was overblown.

11:14 a.m. When asked about the NYT article suggesting that a software fix might be able to solve the issue, Apple executive Scott Forstall got on the microphone to dispute the claims. Engadget notes that Jobs was visibly agitated by the question.

Editor’s Note: Information for this article was collected from the aforelinked live coverage of Engadget and AllThingsD, as well as from the LA Times.

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