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The reason behind the delay of Apple’s white iPhone 4 was always thought to be related to an issue making the white coloring work with a couple of key parts of the handset – particularly the proximity sensor. In a post on the NYTimes website, Nick Bilton has gotten hold of a first-run white handset and compared it with the new production models we can buy today.

The comparisons show clear changes in design, though why it took Apple so long to figure these out is a mystery.

wip4Leaked white iPhone 4 on left, official model on right.

wip4(2)Proximity Sensors: Leaked white iPhone 4 on left, the official one on right.

What the above photo shows is the older white handset on the left, with its younger brother on the right. The photo clearly shows a new, redesigned proximity sensor just below the earpiece. Reports had suggested that Apple was struggling making the sensor work correctly when sat behind white plastic. The fix appears to have been to use black plastic to cover it which, in our opinion, actually looks nicer than the original planned grid of holes!

The current model’s camera protrudes slightly.

The above photo is particularly interesting. While it’s difficult to see, the new handset’s camera slightly protrudes from the back plate, whereas the older mode, and indeed all black versions sit flush. This fits in with an issue modders have been suffering when putting 3rd-party plates on their iPhones. Reports of photos suffering from odd coloring affects as well as images appearing washed out. Did Apple suffer a similar problem?

wip4(1)

Perhaps the real question is why did it take Apple’s hardware engineers so long to fix these seemingly simple issues?

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