How hard is it to make a white iPhone 4?

By SteveJack

Seriously, is it really that difficult to make a white iPhone?

Apple first mentioned the elusive white iPhone 4 on June 7, 2010, promising it would be available “in either black or white” on June 24th.

Then, on June 24th, Apple issues a press release stating, “White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected, and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July.”

Okay, I can see that; a bit of a delay is understandable. Break given. Apple has much experience making Macs and iPods in many colors, and even in white, so they’ll correct the issue(s) in no time. They even made white iPhone 3G and 3GS models, so confidence should be high, right?

Uh, no. Next, on July 23rd, Apple released another statement, “White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year.”

Now, we’ve jumped right from understandable straight into ridiculous territory.

But, that’s not all, folks! With “later this year” rapidly running out, Apple didn’t even bother with another press release, they just phoned up select media yesterday with the news that the white iPhone won’t arrive “until spring 2011.”

Yeah, right. Hey, did you enjoy your trip from ridiculous to WTF-land?

Let’s pause to recap:
• June 7, 2010: White iPhone 4 coming June 24th.
• June 24, 2010: White iPhone 4 coming “second half of July.”
• July 23, 2010: White iPhone 4 coming “later this year.”
• October 26, 2010: White iPhone 4 coming “spring 2011.”

Listen, I don’t want a white iPhone. I prefer my iPhones in black (luckily, it turns out). Because I’m a man. But, for you ladies who’ve been waiting patiently for a white iPhone, I simply have to call ’em like I see ’em. So, as I would with any other lesser company, I must point out that Apple has failed miserably here. Who’s in charge of this white iPhone fiasco? Who planned the materials, did the testing, approved the samples, and set up the availability timeline? Steve Ballmer?

There’s no other way to look at it: Microsoftian is what this is; a laughable comedy of errors. Obviously even Apple is embarrassed, and rightfully so, hence the lack of a third press release announcing their inexplicable inability to produce an iPhone 4 in white.

It shouldn’t be this hard, Apple. It really shouldn’t.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

102 Comments

  1. Dear SteveJack, I find your comments extremely distasteful and offensive, saying that black is for guys and white is for ladies. Are you living in the 19th century? Masculine Macho Men can prefer white too, it’s a much more aesthetically pleasing color, more appeasing, and more beautiful. I’m a guy, and I would rather eat my own fingers than buy a black electronic device. I will wait patiently for the white iPhone 4 for as long as it takes. (I own a white iPhone 3GS, a white Playstation 3, a white projector, white speakers, a white iPod, a white headset).

  2. Dear SteveJack, I find your comments extremely distasteful and offensive, saying that black is for guys and white is for ladies. Are you living in the 19th century? Masculine Macho Men can prefer white too, it’s a much more aesthetically pleasing color, more appeasing, and more beautiful. I’m a guy, and I would rather eat my own fingers than buy a black electronic device. I will wait patiently for the white iPhone 4 for as long as it takes. (I own a white iPhone 3GS, a white Playstation 3, a white projector, white speakers, a white iPod, a white headset).

  3. The design of a white iPhone starts with J. Ives department. Apple engineers should have prototypes of how the phone will look, mockups based on actual manufacturing techniques. This is where the problem started. Either the engineers weren’t paying attention or they were given bad information from the manufacturer.

    White on glass can be very translucent if shortcuts are taken. Opacity probably equals more money in manufacturing costs – extra coats of ink/paint. Someone(s) are trying to do this a cheaply as possible. It will be an embarrassment to Apple if they don’t figure this out soon and not increase the cost of the white version.

    As others have suggested, change the color of the home button. White, opaque plastic will not match glass back painted with white. Silver or chrome to match the Apple logo on the back?

  4. The design of a white iPhone starts with J. Ives department. Apple engineers should have prototypes of how the phone will look, mockups based on actual manufacturing techniques. This is where the problem started. Either the engineers weren’t paying attention or they were given bad information from the manufacturer.

    White on glass can be very translucent if shortcuts are taken. Opacity probably equals more money in manufacturing costs – extra coats of ink/paint. Someone(s) are trying to do this a cheaply as possible. It will be an embarrassment to Apple if they don’t figure this out soon and not increase the cost of the white version.

    As others have suggested, change the color of the home button. White, opaque plastic will not match glass back painted with white. Silver or chrome to match the Apple logo on the back?

  5. SteveJack…I’m usually in agreement with you on all things (even political, if you are the Reaganite at this company). However, I’m no lady, not even gay (or questionable so at that), yet the white iPhone 4 beckons the soul. When I see the mockups, as there are none out in the wild, I know that’s the one I want. Black ones up till now, but the white… Ah it’s like a big chunk of Swiss white chocolate. Pure as the wind-driven snow ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. SteveJack…I’m usually in agreement with you on all things (even political, if you are the Reaganite at this company). However, I’m no lady, not even gay (or questionable so at that), yet the white iPhone 4 beckons the soul. When I see the mockups, as there are none out in the wild, I know that’s the one I want. Black ones up till now, but the white… Ah it’s like a big chunk of Swiss white chocolate. Pure as the wind-driven snow ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Apple don’t have to tell anyone why the white phone is not ready. They are certainly not going to give technical reasons.

    Fact is this happens in manufacturing. It could be due to a camera issues as “BMW” suggests or simply they can’t get it white enough and stay white (the color could yellow with age and heat).

    It makes sense to withdraw it at this point until they know they have a stable solution.

  8. Apple don’t have to tell anyone why the white phone is not ready. They are certainly not going to give technical reasons.

    Fact is this happens in manufacturing. It could be due to a camera issues as “BMW” suggests or simply they can’t get it white enough and stay white (the color could yellow with age and heat).

    It makes sense to withdraw it at this point until they know they have a stable solution.

  9. “Aye, Mr. Starbuck. Aye, my hearties all. It was Moby-Dick that dismantled me, that reaped off my leg like a mower a blade of grass and left me with this dead stump I stand on. For forever and a day I shall chase that white whale. “

  10. “Aye, Mr. Starbuck. Aye, my hearties all. It was Moby-Dick that dismantled me, that reaped off my leg like a mower a blade of grass and left me with this dead stump I stand on. For forever and a day I shall chase that white whale. “

  11. problem, apparently, according to Cult Of Mac is that the white plastic is somewhat translucent and causes significant problems with the camera and its exposure capability. The images are basically overexposed because the white case allows light to “leak” in and distort the sensor.

    Do you mean “glass?” The front and back of iPhone 4 are glass.

    Seriously, isn’t there such a thing as opaque white paint? If it’s opaque, no matter what color it is, light doesn’t leak through it.

  12. problem, apparently, according to Cult Of Mac is that the white plastic is somewhat translucent and causes significant problems with the camera and its exposure capability. The images are basically overexposed because the white case allows light to “leak” in and distort the sensor.

    Do you mean “glass?” The front and back of iPhone 4 are glass.

    Seriously, isn’t there such a thing as opaque white paint? If it’s opaque, no matter what color it is, light doesn’t leak through it.

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