This whole thing is just very unusual for Apple because for once, this was very, very bad PR management. It was pretty clear there was a real issue underneath all this (reproducable hardware problem, explanation for why it slipped through QA, strange concidence with the bumpers in Apple's offering, test mode being disabled in iOS 4 (that would have shown dBm values), alledged responses and actual responses from Apple and Apple Support staff etc etc.).
This eventually just shows that Apple, too, is only a company. They make mistakes, they fuck up from time to time and once in a while, they don't want to admit it.
This is not going to kill Apple, but it is pissing off a lot of people and they should do something about it now, or they will lose money that they may otherwise make.
As a PR professional, I'm just rather stunned by the way Apple has been handling this so far. It's really not a good example coming from an absolute PR and marketing powerhouse.
It will be interesting to see who speaks and how they handle the problem on Friday.
Here is a news item about what just might be the "smoking gun" internal memo at Apple.