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Apple says white iPhone 4 won't arrive until late July

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Apple on Wednesday released an official statement on availability of the white iPhone 4, noting that production of the device proved difficult, pushing its release back to late July.

"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 company said in a statement. "The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected."

The announcement kills any hope customers might have had of obtaining the white handset on launch day. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Best Buy had ordered at least 10 white iPhone 4 models for its stores, stirring up suggestions that Apple might have limited availability for Thursday's launch.

Apple never allowed customers to prepurchase the white iPhone 4, stating on its website that the model is currently unavailable for preorder or in-store pickup. In addition, AT&T's site listed the white model as "coming soon."

Pictures of the white iPhone 4 first surfaced before the hardware was even officially announced by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month.



Indications that the white iPhone 4 would not be available at launch surfaced before preorders even began. A leaked memo from AT&T listed both the 16GB and 32GB capacities as available for purchase "later this summer."

On launch day around 4 p.m., Best Buy halted preorders of the white model. The retailer did so after it was asked by Apple to cease reservations for that model. Best Buy then ceased all preorders, including those for the black model, on June 16.
post #2 of 48
Hopefully in time for the Canadian launch.
post #3 of 48
Production proved difficult???

post #4 of 48
Anyone know why it is harder to produce?
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Production proved difficult???


What exactly are you questioning?
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post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Anyone know why it is harder to produce?

Speculative: Imperfections in white glass show up more easily than impurities in black glass?
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post #7 of 48
Black is the new white
post #8 of 48
Lame... Extremely L. A. M. E.
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What exactly are you questioning?

Well, I think its just the coloring of the glass.

Maybe they have had problems with the process??
post #10 of 48
The last thing they need is another round of lawsuits because of imperfections in the material. Take the time to get it right, or take it off the market.

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post #11 of 48
Being in manufacturing I think one of two things happened. Something went wrong with the color injection process or what I think is more likely, they simply used all available resources to crank out as many black ones they could knowing there was going to be a shortage.
post #12 of 48
From an OPS perspective perhaps they had a problem producing both at the same time. They probably wouldn't want to lose time shifting the production line from one color to the other until the initial peak demand is under control. Didn't this happen with the white version of one of the previous models?
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Being in manufacturing I think one of two things happened. Something went wrong with the color injection process or what I think is more likely, they simply used all available resources to crank out as many black ones they could knowing there was going to be a shortage.

I suspect the latter. Historically it seems like the white models are far far less popular so why waste resources

At least now we have something of a time line and a confirmation that the "I want white" folks should NOT go stand in line thinking that there will be walk ins tomorrow.

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post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Production proved difficult???


Maybe the Foxconn situation hasn't been rectified - that's my guess.
post #15 of 48
I'm putting a case right around mine the second I get it. But wow. . . mid July! that's tough, sorry guys

C-
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post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

Production proved difficult???


Wonder if it started experiencing the same discoloration that Macbooks did?

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post #17 of 48
Not much later than where the black one is now as far as ordering is concerned. It would be nice if there were white ones in the stores tomorrow so people can decide what they want.
post #18 of 48
UPDATE: From a reader/Design Manager who knows a thing or two about mass manufacturing, white equipment may indeed be harder to produce than black:

"The process to make the back of the glass black is an electroplating process. This creates a very durable consistent and smooth black finish. To make white on the other hand you have to paint the back of the glass with white paint. It is difficult to create a smooth opaque look with the white. Also if the white paint goes on too thick it is difficult to glue the glass on because the glue will stick to the paint, but the paint will pull off of the glass. "
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What exactly are you questioning?

Think he was reiterating AI's quote "Apple on Wednesday released an official statement on availability of the white iPhone 4, noting that production of the device proved difficult, pushing its release back to late July." and asking what exactly does that mean. (my .02¢)

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post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by idanceapps View Post

I'm putting a case right around mine the second I get it. But wow. . . mid July! that's tough, sorry guysC-

which case, out of curiosity?
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post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Being in manufacturing I think one of two things happened. Something went wrong with the color injection process or what I think is more likely, they simply used all available resources to crank out as many black ones they could knowing there was going to be a shortage.

But the white iPhones are just painted white on the back of the glass the same as the black ones have a black backing, aren't they?
post #22 of 48
You'd think that by now Apple and its suppliers would have enough experience working with white plastic or paint or whatever it the white bits are made of.

Maybe the white model will be a Verizon compatible phone
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Lame... Extremely L. A. M. E.

That's one of those self-referential posts, right? Sort of like GNU?
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

But the white iPhones are just painted white on the back of the glass the same as the black ones have a black backing, aren't they?

Well, that is the question isn't it.
Since the whole top appears as one piece, obviously some must be clear for the display.
So... how is it the edges appear black(or white).

Do the new 4's have a fused together clear and black(white) banding or ???
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post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What exactly are you questioning?

quite clearly, why is more "challenging" to produce white coloured iPhone?
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

UPDATE: From a reader/Design Manager who knows a thing or two about mass manufacturing, white equipment may indeed be harder to produce than black:

"The process to make the back of the glass black is an electroplating process. This creates a very durable consistent and smooth black finish. To make white on the other hand you have to paint the back of the glass with white paint. It is difficult to create a smooth opaque look with the white. Also if the white paint goes on too thick it is difficult to glue the glass on because the glue will stick to the paint, but the paint will pull off of the glass. "

Hmmm. You'da hoped they'd have worked this out before announcing the launch date. Bad form. And I bet Steve is royally pissed!
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

UPDATE: From a reader/Design Manager who knows a thing or two about mass manufacturing, white equipment may indeed be harder to produce than black:

"The process to make the back of the glass black is an electroplating process. This creates a very durable consistent and smooth black finish. To make white on the other hand you have to paint the back of the glass with white paint. It is difficult to create a smooth opaque look with the white. Also if the white paint goes on too thick it is difficult to glue the glass on because the glue will stick to the paint, but the paint will pull off of the glass. "

Makes sense. Thanks!
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

UPDATE: From a reader/Design Manager who knows a thing or two about mass manufacturing, white equipment may indeed be harder to produce than black:

"The process to make the back of the glass black is an electroplating process. This creates a very durable consistent and smooth black finish. To make white on the other hand you have to paint the back of the glass with white paint. It is difficult to create a smooth opaque look with the white. Also if the white paint goes on too thick it is difficult to glue the glass on because the glue will stick to the paint, but the paint will pull off of the glass. "

This entire cluster doesn't instill confidence. I'm leaning back toward black now. I don't want to wonder every time it gets hot if it's going to turn brown.

They paint it? I don't know jack about any of this stuff but that is really surprising to me.
post #29 of 48
Well it shouldn't come as any surprise. If Apple are not entirely happy with something we simply don't get it.
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post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Anyone know why it is harder to produce?

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Speculative: Imperfections in white glass show up more easily than impurities in black glass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Wonder if it started experiencing the same discoloration that Macbooks did?

I've done some ceramics manufacture and that is almost certainly the case. There are impurities in glass manufacturing processes. They will be far more visible on white glass than on black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

UPDATE: From a reader/Design Manager who knows a thing or two about mass manufacturing, white equipment may indeed be harder to produce than black:

"The process to make the back of the glass black is an electroplating process. This creates a very durable consistent and smooth black finish. To make white on the other hand you have to paint the back of the glass with white paint. It is difficult to create a smooth opaque look with the white. Also if the white paint goes on too thick it is difficult to glue the glass on because the glue will stick to the paint, but the paint will pull off of the glass. "

I don't believe that's true. The black and white colors appear to be pigments that penetrate all the way through - not painted or plated onto the surface.
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post #31 of 48
I don't mind waiting till next month. Glad Apple finally clarified the situation. The last minute announcement suggests they were trying really hard to fill those pre-orders at Best Buy (and elsewhere?) for launch day.
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Being in manufacturing I think one of two things happened. Something went wrong with the color injection process or what I think is more likely, they simply used all available resources to crank out as many black ones they could knowing there was going to be a shortage.

Completely agree with your second thought. Judging by the reactions to the white color on this forum, it's been either hot or cold, mostly cold. I own the white 3G and bought it becuase it was different. Although i'm not crazy that they made the front face white as well, I'm waiting for this color anyway because it's different and easier to spot. On a side note, i would have prefered a frosted glass or a green/blue tempered look over the straight white, since it is glass and all, but i'll take it!
post #33 of 48
I doubt it has to do with the durability of the white paint. Apple said that the manufacturering process was challenging, but it didn't specify how. My guess is it simply has to do with supply constraints. If one were to look at 3G/3GS sales of black and white models, I'm sure you would find that black outsells white considerably. Therefore, in order to crank out enough iPhone 4s to meet launch day demand, Apple knows to concentrate on black models. I'm sure Apple doesn't have one line dedicated to white and another for black; they alternate the paint cycles. As it takes time and money to retool the paint machines, producing white models is out of the question until Apple has supplied the initial demand and has enough stock of the black models to then take time and produce the white models.
post #34 of 48
Maybe the white iPhone is the 'Great White Buffalo' referred to in hushed tones on Hot Tub Time Machine?
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post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

Well, that is the question isn't it.
Since the whole top appears as one piece, obviously some must be clear for the display.
So... how is it the edges appear black(or white).

Do the new 4's have a fused together clear and black(white) banding or ???

i believe it was stated somewhere (or in the Keynote from SJ) that the glass is a composite glass that they have developed specifically for this device. I also believe SJ made a mention taht the color is somehow "infuzed" or the pigment in part of the glass formula itself. That could explain why white is more difficult to produce. Getting the consistancy of white over black is more difficult.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

You'd think that by now Apple and its suppliers would have enough experience working with white plastic or paint or whatever it the white bits are made of.

Maybe the white model will be a Verizon compatible phone

Except the iPhone 4 is not made of plastic.
post #37 of 48
When the white 3G model arrived, the black ones sold out with plenty of white ones laying around. Apple did right by producing the more popular black models first, then later produce the white ones.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Completely agree with your second thought. Judging by the reactions to the white color on this forum, it's been either hot or cold, mostly cold. I own the white 3G and bought it becuase it was different. Although i'm not crazy that they made the front face white as well, I'm waiting for this color anyway because it's different and easier to spot. On a side note, i would have prefered a frosted glass or a green/blue tempered look over the straight white, since it is glass and all, but i'll take it!

I totally agree. Frosted backs on both the black and white models would have looked very sharp. Although, if the frosting creates texture (instead of the slipperyness of glass) then I think this would have only added to the potential to scratch the surface. I'm not a scientist, but I think the ultra low friction of smooth glass-like surface is what helps it resist scratching.

Maybe if the frosted layer was just beneath a super thin layer of smooth glass you could have the best of both worlds.
post #39 of 48
I have a white 3G iPhone, which I love, but, not so sure about the completely white of the iPhone 4. It looks a tad cheap in photos, so, I'll have to wait until I can see one in person before deciding to get a new white iPhone 4. I do like that they are a little more rare and harder to manufacture.
post #40 of 48
Not only is everyone here Tech Insiders, but also all Manufacturing/Logistics/SCM experts! We could open up a Consultancy!
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