Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Apple’s Jobs and Schiller On Why Making the White iPhone Was So Darn Tough

It turns out that white is a whole lot harder than black, at least when it comes to making iPhones.

Although Apple announced plans for both a black and a white iPhone 4 last year, the company was forced to delay the availability of the white model several times. The company said on Wednesday that it plans to put the white models on sale this week.

“It was challenging,” Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said during a joint interview with CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday. “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.”

Schiller said that it turned out there were a lot of unexpected interactions between the color of the device and various internal components. Also, like fair-skinned humans, white iPhones need a little more UV protection from the sun.

“We thought we were there a year ago, or less than that, when we launched the iPhone 4, and we weren’t,” Schiller said. By waiting, he said that the company was able to deliver a product that will live up to expectations.

Jobs noted that the work Apple had to do to get the white iPhone ready has benefited the company more broadly.

“We obviously think about this in a generic way because you have a white iPad,” Jobs said, toward the end of an interview on Apple and the various issues around location-based data.

In that interview, Jobs reiterated that the iPhone isn’t tracking anyone, but said that the industry needs to do a better job of explaining the nuances of what is a complex set of technical issues. Jobs also confirmed that Apple will testify before Congress next week, as requested.

I’ll have more detailed comments on the location issues and other topics in a post to go up shortly.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus