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Apple said Friday it will delay shipments of the white version of iPhone 4 until an unspecified date later in 2010—a move that immediately sparked speculation over what's behind the hold up.
Image Gallery: Apple iPhone 4, A True Teardown
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The company blamed the delay on the fact that the white models "have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year."
But not all Apple enthusiasts are buying the explanation. The blogosphere was abuzz Monday with speculation that Apple is using the white iPhone 4 as a guinea pig for a new solution to the device's finicky antenna.
Apple hasn't commented on the rumors, and is sticking by its explanation. It also said that shipments of the black version of iPhone 4 are unaffected by the slowdown. Also on Friday, Apple released a downloadable app that allows iPhone 4 customers to get a free bumper that's designed to protect the smartphone from the so-called "grip of death bug" that hinders antenna performance.
The app fulfills Apple CEO Steve Jobs' promise of a free case for all iPhone 4 buyers. Apple is also offering refunds to those who previously purchased the $29 wrapper.
The offer came in response to complaints that iPhone 4's signal falters if a certain part of its exterior antenna—on the lower, left corner of the device—comes into contact with the user's hand. The bumper works by insulating the smartphone from interference caused by human skin.
Jobs has insisted that concerns about iPhone 4's antenna are overblown. He said at a press conference earlier this month that all phone antennas are subject to human interference. In fact, he claimed that iPhone 4 antenna's weak spot is visibly noticeable by design. "We pretty much threw a red flag on it with these lines. X marks the spot," said Jobs.
Jobs also said that Apple will roll out iPhone 4 in 17 countries starting July 30, and that the company is working on a software update that will fix a bug in the device's proximity sensor.