The white iPhone (s aapl) will be available for purchase by the end of April, according to Bloomberg. Three people “with knowledge of [Apple’s] plans” told Bloomberg that the long-awaited white iPhone 4 will begin shipping in the next few weeks, following a lengthy 10-month delay. The white iPhone was originally announced alongside its black counterpart in June of 2010.
One of the sources said that the new iPhone will be available from both AT&T (s t) and Verizon(s vz), and that the release was delayed due to manufacturing problems including paint that peeled when exposed to high heat (not good if you’ve ever tethered your iPhone while playing a game). A late-April release would be in keeping with a statement made on Twitter in March by Apple executive Phil Schiller that the white iPhone 4 would indeed be arriving this spring.
Getting the white iPhone 4 just right has obviously been quite a challenge for Apple. Reasons behind the delay have never been explained in detail, though Apple did originally cite challenges in the manufacturing process when it first announced a delay of around a month from the launch of the black version. Rumors have suggested that the white color may have allowed too much internal light bleed, that the white color didn’t match between faceplate and home button, that it couldn’t take good pictures, and that it was awaiting an antenna fix. I doubt we’ll ever know for sure the real reason.
If true, the imminent release of a white iPhone 4 could be taken as an indicator that Apple does indeed plan to put off its typical yearly iPhone model refresh until fall. A white iPhone 4 could operate as a stopgap to attempt to shore up sales in the intervening summer months. Recent supplier reports suggest that Apple hasn’t yet begun any production planning efforts regarding an iPhone 5, which is unusual at this stage in the manufacturing game. On the other hand, a white iPhone 4 could just represent a late-stage attempt to boost sales ahead of the usual June iPhone announcement.
But after tens of millions of sales in just a single color, how appealing is a white iPhone 4 at this late stage in the game?