The white iPhone 4 (s aapl) is set to arrive sometime very soon, according to multiple reports, and most indications point to a release later this week. There’s little doubt the white iPhone will get here very soon, but the real question is, why now?
The latest from 9to5Mac finds that the white iPhone 4 is now listed in a Best Buy (s bby) inventory report, with a sale start date of Wednesday, April 27. That news followed reports that Vodafone UK had already begun selling the white iPhone a little bit early, according to Engadget (s aol). MacRumors indicates two other European sources (one from Norway and one from Holland) suggest an April 27 launch date. AppleInsider then reported that, according to “people familiar with the matter,” Apple’s U.S. retail stores started getting promo materials for the white iPhone launch over the weekend in preparation for a launch “within the next week.”
After more than nine months of delays, the white iPhone 4 being released now could serve multiple ends for Apple. It could offer a late boost to iPhone 4 sales ahead of the usual June device redesign, for instance. Buyers still on the fence about whether or not to wait for a new device might only require the availability of the elusive second color to convince them to go ahead and make a purchase. And members of the buying public not as familiar with the details of Apple’s usual product release cycle might be equally swayed.
Recent reports have suggested, though, that Apple might not be releasing the next iteration of the iPhone until the fall, in which case a white iPhone 4 might serve as a hold-over to try to keep sales steady in the meantime. Of course, there’s no official confirmation of Apple’s release plans for the iPhone 5 as of yet.
I think a white iPhone 4 making it to market is significant for two reasons. First, it shows Apple isn’t the kind of company that lets things slide. At this point, many considered the white iPhone 4 vaporware, myself included. It was just a product announcement that didn’t become a shipping product. It’s something that happens with fair enough frequency in the consumer electronics world. But it isn’t something that happens at Apple. If Apple says it will ship something, it will, and a white iPhone 4, even nine months delayed, upholds that reputation.
Second, it’s probably a good indicator that Apple means to continue to leverage the design. The white iPad 2 probably borrows from the technical lessons the company made in getting the process of painting glass surfaces white with its iPhone 4 design, but if Apple devoted as much time and effort to this as it seems to have, then you can bet we’ll see it carried forward in other device designs. Specifically, we should expect to see an iPhone 5 that looks very similar to its predecessor.
If the white iPhone 4 arrives this week, I’ll definitely take a trip down to the local Apple Store to check one out, but there’s no way I’m putting any money down on it until the hardware gets an upgraded. Anybody feeling differently?