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— Apple Inc. said it will hold a press conference on Friday to discuss the latest iPhone model, which has been beset by complaints about its antenna.

On Monday, Consumer Reports said careful testing has confirmed user reports that holding the phone over a particular spot drastically reduces the signal strength it receives. Covering the spot with duct tape or a case alleviates the problem.

Apple hasn't commented on Consumer Reports' finding yet. Company watchers are speculating that the company may give iPhone buyers its "Bumper" case, which normally costs $29.

The phone went on sale three weeks ago and outsold previous iPhone launches in its first three days, with 1.7 million units sold. Complaints about the signal strength soon followed.

In an early response, Apple acknowledged that holding the phone in a certain way impeded the wireless signal somewhat, but said this happens with many other phones. It said the real reason for the apparent big drop in signal strength was that the company has been using an incorrect formula to convert signal strength into the bars displayed on the screen.

Consumer Reports said it tested other phones, and said none of them had significant loss of signal strength when held.

Apple said late Wednesday that the press conference will be held Friday at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

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