After a long wait, the white version of Apple's iPhone 4 finally went on sale today. Color aside, it's the same device, just with a white front and back. However reports are coming in that there is, in fact, a difference between the two versions.
A MacRumors reader, iLounge, and Ryan Cash of Marketcircle who posted pictures of the two side-by-side, have found that the white version of the device is ever so slightly thicker than the black version. How much? "A hair," Cash said. Blog TiPb got a little more precise, measuring the difference at "roughly 0.2 mm."
Apple lists the depth of both devices at an even 9.3 mm on its iPhone 4 specs page. TiPb, which measured the difference, listed the white version at 9.5 mm. The depth increase is said to be small enough not to affect a number of cases both TiPb and MacRumors have tried out on the two devices, though iLounge points out that snug cases made out of hard materials without give could be problematic.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the whether there was a size difference between the two models.
In an interview with All Things Digital yesterday, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said that in making the white version of the iPhone 4, the company found it needed to rework its manufacturing processes to make it more durable. That included extra protection against UV. "It's not as simple as making something white," Schiller said. "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."
The white version of the iPhone 4 sports a clearly noticeable version of the proximity sensor, which sits just above the top speaker grille. On the black models, this is a detail that disappears with the rest of the bezel. Early imagery of the white iPhone 4 had that sensor appearing as a fine mesh of dots, akin to the way the company hides notification lights on its notebook computers.
Other small changes picked up by iLounge include that the headphone and dock ports in the white version get a color treatment, with Apple opting to use a gray plastic material, presumably to better blend in with the company's bundled headphones and dock adapters.