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White iPhone 4 delayed, yet again, until 2011

Earlier this week, white iPhone 4 holdouts were given a glimmer of hope when the elusive phone appeared in Apple’s store app. Although it wasn’t available for purchase, it was a good sign that it just might be soon. Just hours later, Apple made a familiar announcement: “We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone again.” We are now told not to expect the pale-colored iPhone 4 until sometime during the spring of 2011.

If you’re keeping score at home, this is the third time the white iPhone 4’s launch has been pushed back by Apple. The phone had originally been announced as being available in late July of this year. It wasn’t long until Apple amended that release date to simply “later in the year.”

No reason was given for the latest postponement, but that’s in keeping with Apple’s pattern of behavior — the company has never directly addressed reasons for the delays. Speculation has run from problems with mismatching colors on the phone’s exterior to issues involving the phone’s back-lighting to a reluctance to release a new product until the “antennae gate” glitch is resolved. Whatever the problem may be, it’s safe to say that it’s ongoing.

Apple is probably not suffering too much from the white phone’s absence on the market. It seems the company is doing just fine hawking regular black iPhones. The company moved 14.1 million iPhones in the last quarter, a cool 91 percent increase over the prior year’s total. IPhone sales accounted for a whopping $8.6 billion of Apple’s revenue during the quarter.

It may be possible that the latest delay may signal the white iPhone’s death knell. It’s hard to imagine Apple following through with a release so close to its yearly iPhone upgrade announcement, which traditionally comes in early summer.  And more importantly, it’s even more difficult to imagine anyone actually buying one so close to a new iPhone release.

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