White iPhone 4 faces further delays

Apple announced today that it was still encountering difficulties in manufacturing the white version of its iPhone 4, and its release date was being pushed back to "later this year".

Demand for the black version of the iPhone 4 has been unprecedented. The device sold more than 1.7 million units in the first three days after the handset was launched on 24 June, and has since topped the three million mark, making it the company's fastest selling product. A white version had initially been promised at launch but that was put back until the end of July.

But in a statement released today, the company explained: "White models of Apple's new iPhone 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year."

The announcement represents a remarkable turnaround for the company. Only last week, at the now-infamous 'Antennagate' press conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the white iPhone 4 was still on track to launch by the end of July.

The current reason being suggested for the delay is that an Apple supplier in China, Lens Technology, is having a difficult job working out the right level of paint thickness to provide the necessary opacity in finish, but still allow enough space for the touchscreen's 'digitiser overlay'.

Earlier this week, a separate report claimed that iPhone 4 delays were due to the complexity of the process used to make the phone's glass screen, which meant Apple's supplier could only make three or four of the panels per hour.

The continuing delays have fuelled speculation, even among the Apple faithful, that there may be other reasons behind the late release of the white phone. Apple-centric tech mag MacFormat posted a message on Twitter, saying: "Will the delayed white iPhone 4, um, have a redesigned antenna system?"

For the time being, it seems, Apple fanboys will have to look to the words of the inventor of mass production, Henry Ford.

They can have any colour they want - as long as it's black.