Apple has confirmed that the white iPhone 4 will be delayed until Spring 2011, extinguishing the faint hope that the model would be available in time for Christmas.
An Apple spokesman apologised for the delay, but declined to explain the reasons. "We're sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone yet again, but we've decided to delay its release until this Spring," he said.
Apple had admitted that manufacturing the white version of the iPhone 4 had been more challenging, but said that it would be available in July.
Nearly four months on there is no sign of the handset, and Stephen Fry appears to be the only person in Europe lucky enough to obtain one.
Analysts agreed that the situation has left Apple red-faced, but suggested that that the company could benefit from the delay in the long run.
The release of a white iPhone 4 in the Spring could boost first- and second-quarter sales, which are traditionally lower as potential customers anticipate the arrival of a new model, according to Tim Shepherd, an analyst at Canalys.
"The delay is an embarrassing setback for the firm, but it could ultimately play into Apple's hands due to the seasonality of iPhones," he told V3.co.uk.
"There is pent-up demand for the white iPhone 4, and Apple could experience a sales spike when it does launch."
Ian Fogg, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, noted that consumers who have held off buying an iPhone 4 are now likely to opt for the black version thereby boosting end-of-year sales.
"The device is more important than the colour, and there are a range of cases available," he said.
"Apple would love to ship the white device in time for Christmas. But if it is having trouble manufacturing black and white devices, users are unlikely to be offered any other colours as is common practice with Apple's successful devices."
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