A White iPhone? Not a Chance.

There have been persistent rumours suggesting that the 3g version of the iPhone will have a glossy white back.  The latest “leaked” photos come from Dutch site iPhoneClub.nl.  Call me cynical, but these just don’t stack up, here’s why.

Firstly, Apple is trying hard to break into business, specifically enterprise, with the iPhone.  Creating one in white plastic is not the way to infiltrate enterprise.  Consider what Apple have done with the iMac.  In order to get into business, they went from white plastic to a more sophisticated, aluminum styling.  Has everyone forgotten this?  Considering your phone is something you will get seen with, an item that is far more visible to potential customer, clients and partners than a desktop computer, this isn’t the place for businesses to be taking risks.

There are a few other reasons why we won’t see a white iPhone.  Can you imagine, for example, an iPod that looks more sophisticated than an iPhone?  Apple has been pushing the iPhone as a more sophisticated device, so it’s unlikely they’ll sabotage this consistent message with branding which suggests the opposite.

So what is going on with these so-called leaked photographs?  Let’s examine some possibilities.

iPhone SDK

The first, and possibly least plausible explanation is that Apple is forking the iPhone platform, with an iPhone (the white version) and an iPhone Pro (similar to the current iPhone).  I’m basing this purely on the current MacBook lineup, with a white plastic MacBook for consumers and an aluminum MacBook Pro for businesses and prosumers.  Recent rumours suggesting a black plastic version of the new iPhone, mirroring the options available for the MacBook, lend some strength to this theory.  However, I can’t see it.  At the moment there aren’t enough enterprise-level features available for the iPhone to distinguish the two versions.  GPS, a rumoured feature, is something consumers are likely to want more than enterprise, and because of the app store Apple don’t really have the option of distinguishing between the versions based on performance because of the compatibility and support headaches that would follow.

The second possibility is that these are mock-ups of the product made from whatever materials Apple could lay their hands on at the time.  i.e. they represent the size and dimensions of the final product, but not the materials.  The fact that we’re yet to see a leaked image with an active, turned-on iPhone suggest this may be the case, with shells being sent out to accessory manufacturers.  And the fact it is accessory manufacturers that seem to be spreading all the leaks so far should give us hope this is the case.

The third, and final possibility is that these are simple photoshopped images sent out to the interwebs in order to gain publicity for certain sites.  It’s happened before, it will happen again, and it may be happening now.  The consistency throughout the images seems unusual and would point to either some collaboration between “contributors” or the evolution of these scams to the point where they follow certain trends started by other photoshoppers in order to lend their, and the initiators, images more credence.  There’s certainly been some evidence of this happening recently.

Pick whichever of the three possibilities above suits your opinion the closest.  Regardless of which is closest to the truth, it should at least mean we don’t have to put up with a garish white iPhone come June.