White iPhone 4 flies off shelves in China

Apple's online store shows three-to-five day delay in shipping for new model

The white iPhone 4 goes on sale Thursday. Apple's new white iPhone 4 has sold out in some Asian markets, analysts and sites reported today.

The long-delayed white iPhone 4, which went on sale in 28 countries earlier Thursday, sold out in Beijing, said Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities.

"Our checks today indicate that the 'white' iPhone 4 was sold out on launch day in Beijing," said White in an email.

Other sources seconded the sell-out.

According to the blog ElegentTech , Hong Kong stocks of the white iPhone 4 sold out in the first hour of availability.

Earlier today, the IDG News Service -- which is owned by IDG, the parent company of Computerworld -- reported that long lines had formed at the Apple retail stores in China's capital, with some buyers saying they had waited to purchase the iconic smartphone until a white-colored model was available.

"White is brighter. The color makes you feel young," Berry Li told IDG News.

Li's comments echoed a forecast by White that the new model would be a hot item in China.

In an interview Monday, White predicted that the iPhone 4, "Will be especially hot in China, where white anything is popular. White is just a very desirable color there for all kinds of consumer electronics."

Yesterday, White pegged the new model's impact to Apple's sales at 1-to-1.5 million units this quarter and next, when the company is expected to launch the next-generation iPhone.

In the U.S. and other countries, supplies of white iPhone 4s were apparently diverted to Apple's retail stores and the stores of its carrier partners, such as AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.

Apple's U.S. online store, for example, debuted the white iPhone with a three-to-five day delay between ordering and shipping. As of 3 p.m. ET today, that delay still held.

The black iPhone 4, meanwhile, is shipped within 24 hours of ordering.

The white iPhone 4 is priced the same as the original black model: $199 for the 16GB smartphone, $299 for the 32GB device. Those prices are available to customers who agreed to a two-year service contract with either AT&T or Verizon.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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