Apple is prepping to release a white iPhone 4 within the next few weeks, according to reports.
If verified, it would represent the end of a long and winding road for the device, which has encountered numerous delays over the past 10 months. In March, Apple marketing executive Philip Schiller tweeted that the white iPhone 4 would be available "this spring."
In the face of unexplained delays-and rumors of persistent manufacturing issues-Apple had repeatedly pushed back the device's release date over the past year. In October 2010, a "source with connections at Apple" told the blog Cult of Mac that ambient light leaked into the white iPhone 4's case, affecting its ability to take "accurate pictures." Apple planned on delaying the device's release, the blog added, until it could isolate the camera sensor from ambient light.
Bloomberg's April 14 report also suggested the iPhone's white paint "peeled under heat." The iPhone 4's body incorporates two panes of chemically strengthened alumino-silicate glass, rimmed by a stainless-steel antenna rim.
Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that Apple could begin production on the iPhone 5 as late as September, which would seriously disrupt the company's usual pattern of releasing its new smartphones in the summer timeframe.
According to a March posting on Macotakra, a Japanese blog devoted to everything Mac, itself citing "sources in China," the iPhone 5 won't debut until the fourth quarter. Other Websites seemed in agreement at the time that Apple hadn't yet geared up the necessary parts-ordering to push out a new iPhone by summer.
A recent report by Avian Securities, widely circulated on Websites such as Business Insider, suggested that not only would Apple delay iPhone 5 production until September, but that a cheaper version is in the works.
It is widely expected that developers and media will have their first glimpse of the next iOS at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, set for June 6-10 in San Francisco.
"At this year's conference, we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS," Schiller wrote in a March 28 statement posted on Apple's corporate Website. "If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is an event you do not want to miss."
Some bloggers, reading between the lines of Schiller's statement, feel it reinforces the idea that Apple will decline to roll out new smartphone hardware at the event. In addition to higher-resolution cameras, rumors suggest that the iPhone 5 could include Apple's A5 proprietary processor, hardware upgraded to allow 3G FaceTime video conferencing, and NFC (near-field communication) technology, which would enable the smartphone to act as an electronic wallet.