White iPhone 4 delay seen by some as an Apple stall tactic

The white iPhone 4 is being delayed until Apple can rejigger the finicky external antenna, many bloggers are arguing. Apple, meanwhile, says the hold-up on the white iPhone 4 is simply a manufacturing hiccup.

White Apple iPhone 4 blues? For the time being, you're going to have to settle for the black iPhone 4, seen at left.

And the saga of the elusive white iPhone 4 rolls onwards. On Monday, several bloggers continued to speculate that the white iPhone 4 handset – the black iPhone 4 is already available at retail outlets and online at the Apple site – has been held back for some sort of antenna upgrade, which would presumably fix the death grip reception issues and save consumers the hassle of tracking down a plastic bumper case.

Apple, of course, has blamed the white iPhone 4 delay on manufacturing problems."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," Apple reps wrote in a statement on Friday. Apple promised the white iPhone 4 would be available later this year, but did not specify an exact date.

Over at Giga Om, Kevin Tofel is calling out Apple on its explanation. "I suspect that Apple is tweaking the antenna design or finding some non-bumper solution to improve the device signal in areas of marginal coverage," Tofel writes. "If I was a betting man, I'd guess that Apple's white iPhone arrives fairly close to Sept. 30. That's the date when Apple's free bumper case program currently expires."

On July 17, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple would issue free plastic iPhone cases to all eligible consumers. The cases, Jobs said, would improve the (allegedly) spotty reception on the latest iteration of the iPhone. It was a far cry short of the gigantic iPhone 4 recall that some had predicted, but Jobs did acknowledge that Apple had stumbled when it came to the iPhone 4.

"We're not perfect, and phones aren't perfect either, but we want to make all of our users happy," Jobs said. The whole press conference ended up being a kind of non-apology apology: Jobs was quick to point out that Apple had sold over 3 million iPhone 4 handsets since the June launch. Meanwhile, "AppleCare data shows only 0.55% have called in about reception issues," Jobs said.

So is the hold-up on the white iPhone 4 really an excuse for Apple to improve the external antenna on its top-selling handset? You tell us. Take a look at our rundown of the features on the iPhone 4, and then drop us a line in the comments section.

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