Why the white iPhone was delayed, according to Woz

The Woz thinks he knows why the white iPhone still isn't for sale.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak thinks he knows why the white iPhone 4 still isn't for sale.

The camera's flash bulb, he said in a public interview with Engadget, leaks too much light. Wozniak also reports problems with the white iPhone 4's proximity sensor, which disables the touch screen when the phone is held close to the face.

Techworld Australia feature: Nokia N9 vs. iPhone 4

Wozniak experienced these issues first-hand by purchasing a do-it-yourself white iPhone 4 kit from Fei Lam, a 17 year-old entrepreneur who made headlines last November by striking his own deal with iPhone manufacturer Foxconn. (Lam claimed at the time that a private investigator was trying to intimidate him on Apple's behalf. His website is now defunct.)

Whether Wozniak was drawing on additional information from within Apple is unclear. He did say, however, that the issues have been resolved, and that the white iPhone 4 is shipping soon.

Apple never explained what went wrong with the white iPhone 4. It was never available for pre-order, then delayed from June to July, then delayed until late 2010, then delayed until spring 2011.

Although my colleague Ian Paul speculates that the white iPhone may never arrive, rumored internal product listings from AT&T and Best Buy suggest a late February or early March launch. Unnamed sources recently told Apple Insider that Apple has devised a new painting method to make the white iPhone 4 possible, saving the company from scraping the model altogether.

At this point, fashionistas might consider waiting for the inevitable iPhone 5, although this could come later than usual this year.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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