Apple delays white iPhone 4 again, launches free-case program
We may see the iPhone 4 on a carrier besides AT&T before we see it in white. This morning, Apple announced its second delay to the white version of its smartphone:
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. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.
The phrasing of that statement--less than a week after Apple chief executive Steve Jobs assured attendees of a press conference that the white model would ship at the end of this month--almost matched a notice posted one month earlier by the Cupertino, Calif., company:
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. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.
Who knew it was so difficult to make this thing in a color besides black? Earlier models of the iPhone did come in a choice of black and white (some users of the white iPhone 3GS reported that its color darkened over time), but the iPhone 4's exterior is made out of glass, not metal or plastic. And that apparently complicates matters, as this Ars Technica post explains.
(Have another theory for these delays? Please share it in the comments.)
But why would you want to get any sort of handheld device in white? Ask anybody who's carried around a white iPod for long enough--there isn't a better color to show off every speck and smudge of dirt your hands can leave on the thing. Black, dark gray or anything besides white is the way to go if you don't want to spend every weekend cleaning the thing.
In today's other iPhone 4 news, those of you clamoring for the free case promised by Apple last week can now order one up. But to do so, you'll need to download Apple's free iPhone 4 Case program from the App Store to your iPhone, then use that to select either Apple's "bumper" or a third-party case.
Apple's free-case page also explains how it's handling refunds for bumper buyers. If you bought with a credit card, the company will credit your account automatically (you can check your refund's status online), while those who paid with cash, a check or a gift card will need to bring their receipt to an Apple Store. And if you bought one in AT&T's stores, you'll need to mail in a rebate form.
I can't tell you what the case-ordering process is like--on a review iPhone loaned by Apple, the program reported that "Your iPhone 4 does not qualify for the iPhone 4 Case Program"--but I welcome your reports about it in the comments.
July 23, 2010; 9:25 AM ET
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