Apple's White iPhone 4 Could Ship Soon: Wozniak

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told an audience during an interview that the much-delayed white iPhone 4 could ship soon.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak suggested in a live interview that the white iPhone 4 had encountered manufacturing problems, dovetailing with persistent rumors behind the smartphone variant's persistent delays.

In his Jan. 30 studio talk with Engadget, Wozniak said he thought the white iPhone 4 would nonetheless ship soon. "They're going to become available," he told the audience, after repeatedly suggesting that he had scarce information about Apple's inner workings. "All indications from Verizon and GSM suppliers" are that "white iPhones are coming."

Wozniak's own white iPhone 4, conveniently on his person, had been assembled from parts ordered online from a teenager. "It takes bad flash photos," he said. "The picture with flash was like taken through cellophane." If that wasn't bad enough, the smartphone's proximity sensor is also faulty.

The white parts in Wozniak's kit had apparently come from someone at Foxconn, which manufactures iPhones and other Apple devices. Although the black iPhone 4 remains a front-and-center part of Apple's product lineup, the option to purchase a white iPhone 4 disappeared from the company's Website some time ago.

In December, the blog 9to5Mac reported that the white iPhone 4 would appear in spring 2011, based off a photograph of alleged Apple Store signage with the words, in small type: "The white iPhone 4 will be available Spring 2011."

Despite repeated delays, Apple has kept silent on the reasons behind the white iPhone 4's supposed manufacturing difficulties. In October, "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 smartphone, the blog continued, until the camera sensor had been isolated.

The iPhone 4's body incorporates two panes of chemically strengthened aluminosilicate glass, rimmed by a stainless-steel band. Other sources attributed the smartphone's delay to issues with whitening the glass to the desired thickness and opacity.

Apple is also gearing up for the Feb. 10 launch of the Verizon iPhone, which will sell for $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model with a two-year contract. Hardware- and software-wise, the Verizon device features few differences from the one already available through AT&T, with the exception of a redesigned exterior antenna. Verizon also plans on offering a 3G wireless hotspot feature with the iPhone 4 for $20 a month for 2GB data, according to online reports.