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Devices that don't exist: the white iPhone, the PlayStation Phone

The least surprising headline of the last 24 hours: "Apple delays white iPhone until next spring."

Yes, Apple's white whale--I mean, the white version of its iPhone 4--has fallen behind schedule. Again.

The news, as reported by Reuters last night, represents the third delay of this device since Apple announced it as a variant of the black iPhone 4 in June. Back then, the white and black versions were both set to land in stores at the same time.

But a few weeks later, Apple said the white iPhone wouldn't ship until the "second half of July." A month later, the Cupertino, Calif., company pushed the white iPhone's expected arrival to "later this year."

And now we're looking at next spring. (Good thing Apple didn't say "the spring," or we'd have to ask "spring of what year?")

At this exponential rate, the next delay will punt the white iPhone clear into 2013.

So what's the story? Apple won't explain the delays, so we can only speculate--which is more fun anyway. Is "white iPhone" really the code name for "Verizon iPhone"? Is this thing made from powdered unicorn blood, yeti fur or the tears of a dogcow?

(If you're actually annoyed or upset by these delays, please try to get on with your life. Here's another tip: Lucy won't let you kick that football.)

Another nonexistent phone is in the news today--the PlayStation Phone Sony may or may not be working on. Engadget published pictures of this gaming-oriented smartphone yesterday, showing a slide-out device that looks a great deal like Sony's PSP Go. Writer Joshua Topolsky reported that it will run version 3.0 of Google's Android software and include one of the fastest processors seen in an Android phone yet. (An older post by the AOL-owned site has more details.)

I can believe this exists. The non-denial denial by a Sony spokesman quoted by the Gamasutra site this morning--saying Engadget's photo was fake but not commenting on the substance of its reporting--is exceptionally weak. And other sources have seen this coming; last June, the Nikkei business newspaper reported that Sony was working on such a thing.

That doesn't mean a PlayStation Phone or a PSP Phone will go anywhere in the market. Unless Sony has an exceptional software emulator or compatibility layer up its sleeve, this hybrid won't run existing titles without a rewrite. Its earlier attempts at smartphones, while technically impressive at times, have gone nowhere in the market. So have earlier attempts at building gaming-first phones, such as Nokia's epically failed N-Gage.

The only smartphone to take off as a mass-market gaming platform is the iPhone itself--and that started life as a general-purpose device, not a miniaturized gaming console. (Good thing Apple didn't try to ship it in white first.)

I welcome your speculation about the continued nonexistence of the white iPhone, and/or the prospects of the PlayStation phone, in the comments. Bonus points for anybody who can weave the two stories together into one theory!

By Rob Pegoraro  | October 27, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Games, Mobile, The business we have chosen  
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The white iPhone will be preloaded with the Beatles "white album" to announce an agreement between the Fab Four (two?) and Yoko and Apple to make the Beatles catalogue available via iTunes.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | October 27, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

So really they mean there will never be a white iPhone 4. The next white iPhone will be the iPhone 5/4GS/whatever next gen is called.

Posted by: ah___ | October 27, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Who wants a white iPhone? Perhaps their market research is showing it wouldn't be a hit (love my black iPhone).

Posted by: chica1 | October 27, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

whys it always gotta be a color thing?

Posted by: anti-elitist | October 27, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

With the recent rumor that Apple may buy Sony, it's obvious that the white iPhone IS the PlayStation Phone. AppleSony will debut it at the merger announcement.

Posted by: reamm | October 27, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The white iPhone will come preloaded with a Playstation app that, upon launch, will destroy iPhone and auto-order new Sony phone. Two purchases. Everyone wins.

Posted by: rbirgfeld | October 27, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Rob, Rob, Rob,
Everyone knows that powdered unicorn blood is silvery. It's the horn that's white.

Posted by: wiredog | October 27, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Rob, serious comment here: will the white iPhone be available on Verizon?

Posted by: Corn_Laden | October 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I understand Captain Ahab is still looking for the white iPhone.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | October 27, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

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