White iPhone 4 finally available for spring 2011?

There’s more evidence that the long-awaited white iPhone 4 may actually see the light of day after all. The latest installment in the pale iPhone saga comes after holiday signs went up in Apple stores stating the white iPhone will be “available in spring 2011.” The signs in question, originally brought to the attention of 9to5mac, are reportedly promotional displays for the iPad that made mention of the white iPhone 4 only in small, lawyer-style print.

If Apple follows through with the release, it will be the end of a long and winding road. The cream-colored iPhone originally appeared in Apple promotions — and even once appeared on stage with Steve Jobs himself — prior to the iPhone’s launch in June. The day before the black iPhone would make its solo debut, Apple issued a statement citing manufacturing difficulties as the cause of the white iPhone 4’s immediate unavailability. Apple promised the phone would be on sale in July, but later adjusted the release date to “later in the year.”

It’s widely suspected that manufacturing troubles with the phone arose when Apple decided it did not like the ratio of opacity-to-paint thickness applied to the phone’s glass casing in order to achieve its white hue. An issue with opacity affecting the phone’s camera sensors has also been suggested as a possible reason for the delay.

The latest evidence of the white iPhone 4’s appearance is in step with the rumblings we heard back in October when the ghostly device briefly appeared in the iOS app version of the Apple Store with an attached release date of “spring 2011.”

Earlier in the year, a 17-year old aspiring entrepreneur worked to meet demand for the phone by offering white iPhone 4 conversion kits that used white cases reportedly purchased directly from a Chinese manufacturer. Apple eventually interceded, but not before the teenager reportedly raked in $130,000 in sales.

Now, the big question is what a white iPhone 4’s release means seeing as it’s likely to come so close to the date of Apple’s traditional announcement of a new iPhone model. Is Apple releasing the pasty phone in spite of an imminent release of an iPhone upgrade? If so, it’s hard to imagine anyone opting to purchase a white iPhone that’s soon to become “last year’s model.”

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