Consumer Reports Insists White iPhone as Thin as Black iPhone

Consumer Reports issued a report Monday that found Apple’s new white iPhone 4 to be precisely the same thickness as the original black iPhone 4. The magazine took a pair of high quality calipers and did the unthinkable, actually measuring the two devices. The results, according to photos posted with the report, found both devices to be precisely 0.37 inches thick.

“When we compared a white iPhone 4 with a black iPhone 4 in our Yonkers, NY, lab using high-quality calipers, we found they were both the same thickness (0.37 inches),” CR said in its report.

The magazine’s tests were conducted after sites such as Engadget reported late last week that the white iPhone 4 was thicker than its black counterpart, complete with its own photographic evidence backing up its findings. Engadget also noted that a white iPhone 4 had to be “forced” into sa case that fit an original iPhone 4 just fine, thank you.

It’s the case issue that has anyone overly interested in the size of the new iPhone 4. On the iPhone 4 spec webpage, Apple lists both devices as being 0.37 inches thick (9.3mm), which means that any case designed for the original iPhone 4 should fit a white version, too. If Engadget (and other sites) were right, some customers might have trouble fitting a case on their new white iPhone 4.

Apple's iPhone 4 Specs

Apple’s iPhone 4 specs don’t differentiate between white and black model thickness

Consumer Reports, however, didn’t stop with mere scientific instruments, however, and also tested both iPhone models in several cases. Here, too, the magazine found no difference between the models.

From CR: “We also tried several cases we bought for the black iPhone during its antenna trials. These were the Griffin Etch Graphite, a hard-backed case with soft rubber-like sides; Incase’s Snap Case, a hard plastic case with a hard plastic sides; and the official iPhone 4 Bumper. All fit the white iPhone 4 as well as they did the black version.”

(The magazine also kept the faith about its warnings that the iPhone 4 has reception issues and reminded readers that its official recommendation was to get a case for the device to mitigate those issues.)

So who’s right, Engadget or CR? It could be that both are. Clearly the test units CR used are the same, but it seems just as clear in Engadget’s photo that the white iPhone 4 is slightly thicker.

Apple’s spec webpage includes a caveat that could indicate that both sites were correct with their limited samples. If you look again at the image above from Apple’s iPhone 4 spec webpage, you’ll see a footnote indicator for “Size and Weight.” That footnote reads, “Actual size and weight vary by configuration and manufacturing process.”

Which means that some individual models of any varietal of iPhone 4 might be slightly thicker or slightly thinner than the stated specs.