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White iPhone 4 or will it be White iPhone 5?

Apple Inc announced yet another delay for the white iPhone 4. Spring 2011 is the current estimate timeframe. Given that spring runs from March until May, that means that the window of availability comes extremely close to launch dates for the widely expected iPhone 5.

For the last 3 years since the iPhone was first launched a new model has been announced at Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) with availability for purchase shortly thereafter. The last two years have seen white versions of the iPhone for sale and indeed even Apple themselves advertised white iPhone 4s for order.

No real explanation for the delays other than a manufacturing issue has been given. Given the unique glass back design of the iPhone 4, questions have been raised regarding the difficulty in producing a crisp white glass panel that is resistant to discoloration from the heat generated by the iPhone.

What about Verizon?

Rumors of Verizon selling the iPhone have been around almost as long as the iPhone itself. Many clues point to the distinct possibility of 2011 finally being the year that AT&T loses it’s exclusivity on the iPhone and Verizon is the most likely candidate to be first to challenge AT&T.

There have been quotes from suppliers that a new Broadcom chip that allows a phone to be used on both CDMA and GSM networks has been selected and bulk ordered in the millions by Apple Inc. Given that Verizon uses a CDMA network, it would make sense that needs an iPhone that can do CDMA. Up until now, the iPhone works only on GSM networks. From a manufacturing standpoint, it makes enormous economic sense to produce one iPhone for both types of network rather than the added cost of separate models for each.

Another clue comes in the form of a sudden hiring spree by the company Teleperformance which provides call center services to both Verizon and AT&T.

Yet another clue comes in the form of new model numbers for the iPhone 4 (model number iPhone 3,1) in the new beta versions of iOS 4.2. Model iPhone 3,2 is listed, which points to a different iPhone 4 than the current model, and no, white and black iPhones do not have a different internal model number in iOS.

iPhone 4 or 5 then?

No one can be sure until Steve Jobs announces it, which it will be. The timing for a Verizon iPhone 4 being as little as a month before the expected iPhone 5 would lead to many unhappy customers for both Verizon and Apple. Let’s hope Apple either announces the iPhone 5 a little early, or comes up with a nice surprise that catches us all off guard and leaves us breathless with excitement. It’s happened before, one thing we can be certain of – it will happen again…

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