From Consumer Reports to David Letterman, and USA Today to Time Magazine, people cannot seem to help themselves from commenting on the latest iPhone (s aapl). What started out as a technical issue surrounding reception problems related to the newly redesigned stainless steel antenna system on the iPhone 4, has snowballed into a public relations nightmare threatening Apple’s well-respected brand image. Even Microsoft (s msft) has found a way to make the press pay attention to them a little with it sympathetic “We know how Apple feels right now, we experienced the same thing with Vista.” This is now much more of a PR issue than it is a technical issue. And it looks like Apple has recognized this.
When it comes to perception, timing is everything — early in the week, late in the week, before market close, after market close. Just who do you want to respond to your message, and how? Hosting such an event on Friday at 10 a.m. PST, just two business days prior to releasing its quarterly earnings report, gives everyone, especially the market, time to digest and react to whatever it is that Apple has to say before the weekend. The message that Apple is preparing to deliver is not for the bloggers, the techies, nor the Apple fans — it is for mainstream analysts, and is likely being used to diffuse this issue before announcing amazing quarterly results next week. The last thing Apple wants is for this issue to steal its thunder when it likely has nothing but positive news to report next Tuesday.