The reason behind the white iPhone 4 delay: Apple's glass supplier

white iPhone 4 delays

Many of us were disappointed when June 15th arrived and the white iPhone was not available for pre-order or reservation. The day before the launch of the iPhone 4, Apple provided a vague explanation claiming that the white iPhone 4 had "proven more challenging to manufacture than expected." It turns out that this manufacturing problem comes from Lens Technology, Apple's glass supplier.

A worker from Lens' quality control department has allegedly admitted that the company's screen-printing workshop may currently be dealing with some issues with the white iPhone 4 covers. Specifically, the factory's still working out the perfect combination of paint thickness and opacity -- the former to ensure the next sub-contractor has enough clearance for the digitizer overlay, and the latter for the absolute whiteness that Jony Ive and co. strive for.

So the delay is simply about how thick the layer of white paint should be - certainly not something I was expecting, but it makes perfect sense. Leave it to Jony Ive to delay the launch of a product because it doesn't look exactly how he wants it to. Surprisingly, this doesn't bother me. Part of the iPhone 4's appeal is its design and I expect mine to look perfectly white when I finally have it in my hand. I'm willing to wait for this perfection - albeit, not very patiently.

What about you? Do you think this is an acceptable reason to the delay the white iPhone 4? Or would you have preferred to have it sooner, but not as white?


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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

The reason behind the white iPhone 4 delay: Apple's glass supplier


They had a year to figure this out..... I mean c'mon just make the back white like the 3G and 3GS. Something this simple shouldn't be that hard for a company like Apple.

I think it's a legit reason to delay. If there's any faults, then the blogosphere would be all over it.
Personally, I don't care for the white. It reminds of my original white iMac. Now that I have an aluminum iMac, the white one looks dated. I feel the same when I look at the white iPhone.

Yup, I don't have an iPhone 4 because I'm waiting for white. I'm kinda angry I have to wait though. They had plenty of time to sort these things out.

Don't understand y they just didn't say this from the being, was it so hard to say a day before they black 1 came out or the day of, or the day after. I really dig the white ip4 but went ahead and got a black 1 won't take it back wks great, every1 else waiting for white guess ur day is coming.. Soon I hope

Delay it because the white isn't really white, but not because the antenna isn't working correctly. Now who says we live in a world where we value style over substance?

They just better hope it has the same antenna problem as the black or there will be problems.

Whatever the reason, be thankful you have to wait. With all the other issues still being worked out, later units should be better than the first runs.

Not a good enough excuse! They had some of these available to see at their WWDC show and they looked pretty good then! Come on all ready! But, I'll still wait cause I want the white :-)

Dont want a white iphone becauae i prefer black but i i wouldnt get it because no matter what apple just has excuses that just never hold water at all when you have at least one year u cant look at some samples yea right apple this is why you will never dominate over pcs well that and your insane laptop prices

Isn't the color moot now that you have to put a case on it (bumpers are out of stock) to get the antenna to work properly?

Yea I'm glad they want to perfect it that's what we pay for good quality products because most of these white phones now turn yelloish after awhile and I would be very disappointed if my iPhone 4 was to turn yelloish alot because my phone will be used alot lol

It makes sense seeing how there are people complaining bout the iPhone 4 proximity sensor not working right and hanging up calls, dialing on accident, etc. Might have been too much thickness and they don't wanna go through that headache again.

After finding out about the white iPhone delay back in June, I sought YouTube for any white iPhone 4 appearances, to my surprise, some of the YouTube videos that displays the white color on the iPhone 4 seems to be of low quality, nothing compared to that of the official pictures of the white version. The phone appeared to be a bit yellowish in color. Unfortunately, I forgot exactly what videos displayed the supposedly white iPhones, but there are several on YouTube. When that first batch of iphone arrives, I wouldn't be surprised if some people obtain low quality white color iPhones.

It blows for people that want white but I would like for apple to get this right. Unlike you white iMacs that sit in your house your iPhones will get plenty of sun. And I'm sure you don't want a yellow tint on your phones, right?

I will wait but why wait I have a white iPhone know but is yellow like pee wow no wow I will wait if it turns like pee I will see if I flee to the sea

i have the 3GS and am keeping it till 2011 ( when a proper hardware fix comes to the iPhone 4 ) . I don't get some of the fuzz here " I want the white iPhone NOWWW "! , waiting for a phone with a new color that has antenna issue and cover it with a free case !

I would have preferred, like with so many things related to this iPhone 4 launch, they they got it right early on, and BEFORE announcing the product. They're behaving like amateurs, which is disappointing, at best.

What is all the hype about the white iPhone. When people get it they are just goin to put it in a case. Also, I've got the 32GB black iPhone 4, and I think the black one looks better than the white one.