Apple has called a surprise news conference on 16 July at 1800 (BST) to talk about the iPhone 4 as the clamour for the company to resolve antenna problems with the new device intensified.

The company has refused to give details about whether the event will address reception problems that some users have reported with the phone, launched just last month.

Apple has faced mounting criticism from analysts and consumers over its handling of the issue.

Industry watchers said the firm was in danger of damaging its “rock star” reputation over how poorly it had dealt with what would normally be a minor problem.

“It seems there has been a real crisis of leadership here,” said Patrick Kereley, senior digital strategist for Levick Strategic Communications which deals in crisis managment and reputation protection.

“There are so many conflicting reports about this issue and a lot of confusion in the marketplace. They need a plan of attack. Today’s companies have to react quickly before chatter on Facebook or Twitter turns into news headlines as is the case here,” Mr Kereley told BBC News.

That was a view echoed by a number of other brand managers and industry analysts.

“They have not handled this well at all and they have turned this into a bigger problem than it needed to be,” said Van Baker, senior vice president of research at Gartner.


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