White iPhone 4 arrives. What took so long?

White iPhone 4 hold-outs, your patience has been rewarded.

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    White iPhone 4, is that really you? (Answer: Yes.)
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Well, hey. Look at that. A white iPhone 4! A real, live –– and not purely hypothetical, imaginary, or otherwise out of reach –– white iPhone 4. Beginning tomorrow, Apple outlets around the country will begin selling white iPhone handsets, Apple reps announced today; Verizon and AT&T outlets will also get the much-longed-after device. The price, meanwhile, will remain right in line with regular old iPhones: $199 for a 16GB model, and $299 for a 32GB unit.

"The white iPhone 4 has finally arrived and it’s beautiful," Apple exec Philip Schiller said in a prepared statement. "We appreciate everyone who has waited patiently while we’ve worked to get every detail right." And what a wait it's been! In the summer of 2010, when the iPhone 4 first launched, Apple made a black model available immediately, and promised a white model would be forthcoming shortly.

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Cue a long delay, followed by a press statement: The white iPhone 4, Apple reps said, had proved "more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected." Some reported that the glue that held the glass to the white plastic created a foggy finish, not a good look for Apple products. Cue another long delay –– this one measured not in weeks but in months. This time, rumors said that the supply chain was so backed up that Apple didn't bother further encumbering manufacturers with the white iPhone 4. Finally, earlier this year, Reuters tracked down some folks familiar with the situation, and confirmed that a white iPhone 4 was indeed on the way.

Lo and behold. Of course, the white iPhone arrives at a propitious time for Apple, which has been hammered with charges that it ran roughshod over the rights of its users. (In my right hand, I have the white iPhone. In my left, I have a bunch of damning charges about privacy infringements. Pay attention to my right hand....) Check out this Monitor report for more on that front.

In the meantime, here's something to mull over: Will the iPhone 5 –– or what ever the next device is called –– come in white? As we noted earlier this month, Apple iPhone 5 gossip is already in full gear, with some analysts speculating that the iPhone 5 will get a teardrop shape, and others arguing that the device will look a lot like an iPhone 4, except with snazzier innards, and a better camera.

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RELATED: iPhone 5 prototype released to developers. Or is it iPhone 4S?

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