Is The White iPhone All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

This Thursday (April 28, 2011), Apple  will release the long-awaited white iPhone. Assuming that Apple isn’t hiding a spectacular secret that will rock our worlds tomorrow morning, the newly whitened device should be equal to the original, black-only model that was released last year.

With any other product from any other manufacturer, this would be the end of the story. But this is an Apple product. For the past several months, there have been rumours, speculatory briefings and various reports surrounding the release of the white iPhone.

But even if you like the idea of having a new colour, is this really something to get excited about?

James D. Ragan, Senior Equity Analyst at Crowell, Weedon & Co., told Benzinga that while he shares my surprise toward the reaction of the white iPhone, there are many consumers who think that a smartphone is just another accessory.

“It’s a style thing,” he said. “The beauty of Apple is that they have a limited number of models available.” Thus, when a new colour is released, it makes a much larger impact.

Trip Chowdhry, a Senior Analyst at Global Equities Research, told Benzinga that while the white iPhone is not revolutionary, it could appeal to female shoppers – just like the white iPad 2.

Yair Reiner, an analyst at Oppenheimer, concurs with Chowdhry’s assessment. “The iPhone’s aesthetics are a significant part of its appeal, and for some consumers, it may even be the most significant part,” he said. “For those consumers, adding another colour is analogous to a clothier expanding the choice of colours on a popular garment.”


“Does Banana Republic sell more khakis if it carries one colour or two?” Reiner questions. “So adding a white version might not change the iPhone’s fundamental place in the market, but it’s important to some.”

Now that the white iPhone has a firm launch date, many are concerned that this confirms the fear that the iPhone 5 will not arrive until September.

Ragan, however, says that he would be careful to say that this reinforces a September release date for the new phone. “Apple does a pretty good job of not revealing when its products will be released,” he said.

“The white iPhone is identical to the black version apart from the white glass,” Reiner added. “This means Apple doesn’t experience significant operational of supply chain issues by introducing it late in the iPhone 4 product cycle. Also, if Apple is planning to release the iPhone 5 in June or July, the white iPhone introduction might serve to keep iPhone 4 sales robust right up until the iPhone5 is released.”

In addition to the aforementioned topic, Apple has been getting a lot of attention for its decision to host the World Wide Developers  Conference the same week as the Electronic Entertainment Expo. While this might seem suspicious, Chowdhry does not think that we should read much into this decision.

As far as the company’s plans for cloud storage, “Apple is in a world of its own,” Chowdhry said, adding that he expects Apple to do some very unique things – things that we never imagined.


— By Louis Bedigian