One of the few things that kept us going through those long dark months waiting for the white iPhone 4 to finally launch was speculating on just what the hold-up was.
Well, now no less a personage than Steve Jobs himself has spilled the beans, along with trusty sidekick Phil Schiller. And, to sum up, it seems that making white stuff isn't easy.
Schiller and Jobs were speaking to the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD in an interview primarily about the iPhone location-tracking issue recently. But the pair also touched on the white iPhone's overdue release, and managed to say a lot, and reveal fairly little.
“It was challenging,” Schiller said in getting the white iPhone finalised. “It’s not as simple as making something white. There’s a lot more that goes into both the material science of it – how it holds up over time... but also in how it all works with the sensors.”
Now we'd have to point out at this point that all those factors – all that “material science” – already existed while the iPhone 4 was being developed, surely, and existed when putting together the iPhone 3G, for example, which appeared in both colours.
So why this suddenly became a problem after the white iPhone 4 was announced and before it was set to launch remains a mystery. It seems Apple was taking a chance that it could get on top of things by launch date – that, clearly, was way off the mark.
“We thought we were there a year ago, or less than that, when we launched the iPhone 4, and we weren’t,” Schiller admitted.
But all that head-scratching in getting the white iPhone out the door has at least taught Apple some lessons Jobs reckons have already paid off in other areas.
“We obviously think about this in a generic way because you have a white iPad,” he pointed out.
As an aside, Jobs was asked during the interview the big question of whether a decision had been taken on when (or if) he'd be returning to work full-time.
Characteristic of the man, the response was brief, and to the point: “Look, we’re here to talk about location today, not me.”