Apple on Friday issued a brief statement that the white version of its popular (and occasionally maligned) iPhone 4 will be delayed.
The company said:
White models of Apple's new iPhone 4 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. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.
It's unclear if the delay is simply due to overwhelming demand, but Apple surely would have said as much if that were the case. Some have also suggested that the company could be looking into revisiting the antenna problem that plagued current models on the market, but that seems unlikely, since it stood by the design of its product in a recent press conference. (To boot, the white model is less popular.)
What's most likely is supply chain issues. AppleInsider's Josh Ong reports that LG Display has been unable to fulfill orders for displays used in Apple's iPad, promising to catch up to demand by Q2 2011. It's entirely possible that Apple is facing similar shortages for its iPhone, which remains its most popular product.
Update: Chinese newspaper 21st Century Business Herald reports that one employee told them it has to do with production issues resulting from difficulties ensuring that the device's white paint will be thin enough to meet the company's clearance specifications but thick enough to ensure opacity.