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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. shahab86's Avatar
      shahab86 -
      so all their tryin to do is come up with an excuse why the white i4 never appeared?
      Lolx thats lame

      well at least its here now!
    1. dq13's Avatar
      dq13 -
      like someone said before, this was released just now to get rid of stock before the launch of the new iphone
    1. mitchkerbel's Avatar
      mitchkerbel -
      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.
    1. glassJAw's Avatar
      glassJAw -
      Thrice !!!
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      Maybe there is no iPad 2 JB news because there hasn't been anymore new developments......


      Sent from my iPod touch using ModMyi
    1. mitchkerbel's Avatar
      mitchkerbel -
      Quote Originally Posted by coolguy742 View Post

      Maybe there is no iPad 2 JB news because there hasn't been anymore new developments......


      Sent from my iPod touch using ModMyi
      Have we even seen any developments. Like Sony apple could have paid off individuals to just simply stop jailbreaking their products. That is not my opinion just simply a comment.
    1. skolpo's Avatar
      skolpo -
      Quote Originally Posted by mitchkerbel View Post

      Have we even seen any developments. Like Sony apple could have paid off individuals to just simply stop jailbreaking their products. That is not my opinion just simply a comment.
      I didn't know true JB'ers held any obligation to satisfy your leeching needs.
    1. tommy0486's Avatar
      tommy0486 -
      Quote Originally Posted by coolguy742 View Post

      Have we even seen any developments. Like Sony apple could have paid off individuals to just simply stop jailbreaking their products. That is not my opinion just simply a comment.
      You're a moron, go back to being a lurker please.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Interesting stuff. I wonder if they solved it by making a black layer (or thin, opaque metal layer, kind of like a bag of chips) behind the white.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      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.
      Then go complain to comex...MMi does not HAVE to write about jailbreaks, they write about Apple in general. Stop whining about the news no one forced you to read...!

      Well at least it's out now!
    1. RocketshipVirus's Avatar
      RocketshipVirus -
      I disagree. The white iPad 2 came out before the white iPhone. Isn't the front screen glass? Couldn't they just use that same paint and solid white for the back? I am calling ********!!
    1. mitchkerbel's Avatar
      mitchkerbel -
      Quote Originally Posted by tommy0486 View Post

      You're a moron, go back to being a lurker please.
      Why are you so offended. Almost seems like you have takin offense to something that does not concern you
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Personally I believe it was held back to boost sales.
      Before introduction of iPhone 5 you put out the white one, get people to want to buy it to match their Macs. Then release iPhone 5 a few months later to get them to buy the phone all over again.
    1. skolpo's Avatar
      skolpo -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      Personally I believe it was held back to boost sales.
      Before introduction of iPhone 5 you put out the white one, get people to want to buy it to match their Macs. Then release iPhone 5 a few months later to get them to buy the phone all over again.
      Yep, many people believe the same thing. Apple is a dirty company, however the demand of their products allow them to be so. Sad, really.
    1. Nintendo Tim's Avatar
      Nintendo Tim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Swanson View Post
      Holy crap, a Thrice reference. And just in time for Bamboozle.

      Well played, sir.
    1. LSZ33's Avatar
      LSZ33 -
      I must admit, the white iphone 4 is indeed a beauty. I'm glad it's here and that I didn't wait for its release like I had originally planned.

      STAY ON TOPIC!
    1. slap690's Avatar
      slap690 -
      Just wondering if apple will ever go beyond having just black and white iphones? I know there are sites you can send your phone off to to achieve another color but just wondering if it they'll ever come stock that way. I'm fine with my black 4, just curious.
    1. sand0s's Avatar
      sand0s -
      here's my take away... i noticed there is mention of the fact that the camera was slightly recessed in the iphone 4. however, as i'm holding a brand new white iphone 4, i've noticed that the camera is (ever so slightly) above the glass. perhaps this is one of the ways in which they dealt with the camera sensor light issue - but a 9 month delay for that? doubtful, so there must have been other items involved as well.
    1. HomieG35's Avatar
      HomieG35 -
      Woop woop! Jailbroken White iPhone 4!

      Thing is sexy. Wonder what it'll go for on eBay right now?
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by skolpo View Post
      Yep, many people believe the same thing. Apple is a dirty company, however the demand of their products allow them to be so. Sad, really.
      I don't think I am alone here... But if iPhone 5 does not have some spectacular innovation to it, I would not upgrade to it. Lately Apple is just rehashing the product with just a bit faster processor and few new gadgets which should be incorporated in the original. Apple is not keeping my intersts to their product, in fact I actually have negative feeling against Apple (locationgate or whatever you want to call it).