RIP: White iPhone 4 (2010-2010)

Steve Jobs shows off a white iPhone 4

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holding a white iPhone 4 in happier times.

We knew something was up when there was no mention of the white iPhone 4 at Apple’s press event last week and when they delayed it again until “spring 2011,” the writing was on the wall. Since Apple hasn’t failed to announce a new iPhone model each spring since the original was announced, it was all but certain that this meant there would be no white iPhone 4.

Although Apple still maintains that the white iPhone 4 will come out eventually, and there was a very brief glimmer of hope when the Apple Store iOS app showed white iPhones after an update, the crack team at the Boy Genius Report has confirmed through there sources what we always knew in our hearts was true: the white iPhone 4 is dead.

More than just a confirmation of what many have long suspected, though, the cancellation of the white iPhone prior to its release is a rare stumble from Apple. Part of Apple’s magical hold over the press and large swaths of the population is based on the fact that Apple only announces things that you can actually buy. In a world where electronics manufacturers and software developers of all kinds are constantly hyping products that are years away and boast features that later prove to be impossible to implement, Apple retains much of its sheen due to its restraint.

By not announcing anything until it’s finished and ready, Apple never has to worry about promising what it can’t deliver. The fact that Apple products are usually available almost immiediately after their announcement bolsters this effort. No one has to wonder if Apple’s latest product will deliver–they can go see for themselves right away.

We often wondered why Apple’s the only company that plays the game this way. It’s obviously a successful strategy, and we’ve never understood why no other major company emulates their product announcement policy. Unless, of course, designing, manufacturing and selling really cool, innovative products is a lot harder and more complicated than it seems. The dead white iPhone seems to confirm this reasoning. After all, it seems simple to make a white version of a very successful black product that you’ve already manufactured millions of. If Apple can’t do it, though, it’s unlikely anyone can, and as long as cases like this are the exception rather than the rule, Apple’s phenomenal success is likely to continue.

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