It seems to me implementing a OS X Dashboard like feature would be the best thing to do to shut up the press and competitors on this issue, at least for a little while. One option would be added to the settings pane with only 3 options or so under it (so you could make the dashboard the home screen, for instance), plus an area to add/remove widgets.
No need to go crazy and fundamentally change the whole interface. That would be a mistake. Just bring something from OS X to iOS. It would open a whole new market in the App Store for widgets, and it would look radically different without BEING radically different. Apple could even curve the "stolen from Android" crap by using advertising and marketing to point out that Android stole the widget idea from Apple first.
I'd be shocked if Apple doesn't do something like this soon, though they'll probably come up with something similar but better and then port to OS X.