Phil Schiller: White iPhone Delays About Material Science, Sensors

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Everybody and their brother has wondered why the white iPhone announced in June of 2010 has been (constantly) delayed until April 28th of 2011 (which is tomorrow, for those keeping score at home). According to Apple vice president Phil Schiller, making a white iPhone is a lot more…complicated…than simply swapping out the black bits for some white bits, and it took a while for Apple to figure out how to do it right.

“It was challenging,” Mr. Schiller said in an interview with AllThingsD. “It’s not as simple as making something white. There’s a lot more that goes into both the material science of it–how it holds up over time…but also in how it all works with the sensors.”

“A lot more” includes the reality that the color of the casing affects the way sensors in the device function, and the case color also affects other internal components on the device. Apple also apparently found that white iPhones need more UV protection than the black version of the device.

Figuring out how to do this the right way takes time, even for a company with Apple’s resources. Mr. Schiller said, “We thought we were there a year ago, or less than that, when we launched the iPhone 4, and we weren’t.”

They are now, however, and if you’ve been holding out all this time for a white iPhone, you can get them at an Apple Store starting tomorrow.

White iPhone

The White iPhone 4!

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Who would have figured? So, is the process patented? Would another company have gone to the trouble of testing for such problems or would the customer have born the trouble of discovery?


I wonder how they got it together for the white iPad on time….

Bryan Chaffin

With more space to futz around with, the iPad likely presented fewer difficulties in getting it right. It’s also not normally held up one’s face, and it has a metal back.

Lastly, Apple had months of working on the white iPhone problem before entering production for the iPad 2, and the company would likely have been able to use what it had already learned when solving the smaller subset of problems.

Or so I fancy! smile

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