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  • White iPhone Alchemy


    The unveiling of the iPhone four nearly a year ago encompassed all of the usual Apple spectacle. New features, new design, and of course the two available colors: black and white. However, on launch day there was no white iPhone. Apple cited minor delays and that the phone would be available soon.

    Then it was delayed again.

    And again.

    Apple apparently was struggling with production Alchemy. Except it didn't involved gold, rather it involved white paint and ultra violet rays.

    According to Apple senior vice president Phill Schiller in an interview with All Things Digitals Ina Fried, there were "a lot of unexpected interactions between the color of the device and various internal components."

    Those unexpected interactions meant the white iPhone needing more UV protection. The article doesn't go into specifics as to what those interactions were. A few hypothesis however cite the fact his is the first iPhone to have a white back beneath a layer of glass. The problems this presents are:
    1. Going from opaque black to translucent white allows light to enter the device. Previous white iPhone have been constructed of a solid piece of white plastic. Not a thin white layer recessed beneath glass
    2. Many of the sensors and the camera in the iPhone are recessed a few milimeters below the surface. Having a thin white reflective layer would be enough to deflect photons (basic unit of light) and affect the performance of sensors and the camera significantly.

    A comment on the All Things Digital article seems to confirm this. A user named "Susan Parker" claims to have worked on the "Two axis optical tilt based sensor for the Air Pad gaming controller for the Playstation."

    Everything was going fine in development until Parker's marketing team decided to change the color of the casing in the controller to a translucent grey to match the iMacs of the time. This forced Parker to redesign the optics module to be "light tight" to remain unaffected by intense ambient light conditions.

    Apple of course will not release the specifics of how they solved the problem, leaving the rest of us to speculate. More will likely be known when ifixit or another website finally gets their hands on a production model and proceeds to disassemble it.

    Until then this is the best we get from Schiller:

    It was challenging. It's not as simple as making something white. There's a lot more that goes into both the material science of it -- how it holds up over time... but also in how it all works with the sensors... We thought we were there a year ago, or less than that, when we launched the iPhone 4, and we weren't."


    Sources: All Things Digital
    This article was originally published in forum thread: White iPhone Alchemy started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. Candyman850's Avatar
      Candyman850 -
      I got my Milk Phone today. Its oh so clean!

      Quote Originally Posted by HomieG35 View Post
      Woop woop! Jailbroken White iPhone 4!

      Thing is sexy. Wonder what it'll go for on eBay right now?
      I was thinking the same thing....or craigslist. Probably 6 or 7
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      My guess is black iPhone4 will drop in price on eBay, so that white iPhone4 is probably just a tiny bit higher than what the black one originally was.
    1. rocketApe's Avatar
      rocketApe -
      Yay Thrice!!! Got the 'Index on vinyl.
    1. HomieG35's Avatar
      HomieG35 -
      Not sure if this was to "boost" sales. Possibly make more sales, but my ATT store only had about a dozen 16GB, and a dozen 32GB. That's not many... not enough to "boost".
    1. R1futly's Avatar
      R1futly -
      I've been making white iPhone 4's for months now...and a small piece of electrical tape with a hole to make the proximity sensor smaller and a small piece on the backside of the back around the camera flash solves any of the so-called issues they were having to delay the release. Maybe Apple should hire someone with a bit of sense to work for them. I guess I shouldn't complain though, their delay was good for business
    1. gQstatus05's Avatar
      gQstatus05 -
      They are going to **** people over in a month and change when the new one comes out. I call ******** on their claims. They obviously make more black than white. They didn't want to run out of white iPhones so they decided to offload as many blacks as possible before releasing the couple hundred thousand white ones.

      You think they would have figured this out during testing if it were true. (issues with the white one I mean).
    1. lele211's Avatar
      lele211 -
      I really wanna see who is gonna buy the ******* white iPhone4 now!!
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      The Prox sensor has always been a huge issue on the white i4 and I doubt they have it completely fixed. It is rare for it to even work due to the bright plastic/glass color. My white i4 does that all the time.
    1. !zy's Avatar
      !zy -
      Quote Originally Posted by tommy0486 View Post

      Why are you so offended. Almost seems like you have takin offense to something that does not concern you
      I think his speaking for most of us, specially for the developers. You just take their work, time spent and efforts for granted and complaining for something they PROBABLY are working on or not but the fact is its their choice, if your so 4KIN pissed off then why don't you try and come up with a jailbreak and see how stressful, time consuming etc... It can be, not forgetting that you probably don't understand anything beyond graphic user interface

      Sorry I just hate people who take thing like this for granted

      Ps am no developer
    1. BlackG35's Avatar
      BlackG35 -
      I ordered one of those white kits cnn.cn and I just bought a new white iphone 4. If you compare the color, the new white iPhone is a more pure white, while the prototype kit was more yellowish. It was hard to photograph but this was the best I could do, in person its more noticeable. The new white definitely looks better.

      The new white iPhone is on the bottom.

    1. R1futly's Avatar
      R1futly -
      Quote Originally Posted by one1 View Post
      The Prox sensor has always been a huge issue on the white i4 and I doubt they have it completely fixed. It is rare for it to even work due to the bright plastic/glass color. My white i4 does that all the time.
      Put a piece of electrical tape on the backside of the screen with just a very small slit over the prox sensor. Doing this has resolved the issue with every phone I've had a problem with. Mine & my girlfriend's phones both work perfectly inside or even in the bright sunlight. It's simply a matter of limiting the amount of light that gets through. The sensor is tinted on the black screens, doesn't make any sense to me why they wouldn't have done that with the white.
    1. bignighttrain's Avatar
      bignighttrain -
      Quote Originally Posted by mitchkerbel View Post
      Why is this news. News should be a jailbreak finally for the iPad 2. With that said wtf happened to the supposed jailbreak for fw 4.3. iPad 2. I personally never upgraded hoping to be able to jailbreak my device yet there is nothing. Why is the release of a white iPhone news, cause it's officially from apple? A white iPhone 4 is nothing new. I think the next news headline should read "comex what happened to your jailbreak" I'm sure some people will take offense to my posting, but keep in mind I read the same article everyone els read stating iPad 2 jailbroken.
      This guys right plus why get a white iPhone 4 for $$$$$$ when you can swap out the black glass for white or Red Blue Grey I think I even seen an orange kit for the iPhone 4 for $150.00 and it's still an upgrade you don't have to connect to iTunes or rejailbreak it's a win win for people that want that extra pop when it comes to there iPhone 4's.
      And still waiting for iPad 2 jailbreak now that's real news.
    1. one1's Avatar
      one1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BlackG35 View Post
      I ordered one of those white kits cnn.cn and I just bought a new white iphone 4. If you compare the color, the new white iPhone is a more pure white, while the prototype kit was more yellowish. It was hard to photograph but this was the best I could do, in person its more noticeable. The new white definitely looks better.

      The new white iPhone is on the bottom.

      I've seen 5 different shades of white depending on where it comes from. Some are very white and some are yukky vanilla white. On most without direct comparison nobody has a chance of seeing a difference.
    1. cameronhopkin's Avatar
      cameronhopkin -
      So my black iPhone 4 just crapped out on me and won't turn on. Do you think if I take it in they'll let me trade for a white one?
    1. Mrwhewchyle's Avatar
      Mrwhewchyle -
      I Dont get it..... Why would anyone spend money or wait to get a "white iphone" ?? All they gonna do is buy another color case that covers up everything but the screen lol, who even cares what color the phone is... That makes no sense , Thats what you call SLICK MARKETING, and the next iphone 4gs will be a waste of money , trust me this iphone is all you'll need FOR NOW, maybe iphone 6 .... Its like do i really need to upgrade to my firmware again and again and again or is apple trying to keep the hackers busy?? Think about it