As reported by Mashable, Chinese website Apple.pro has leaked photos of what is obviously an iPhone 4G with a white face plate. The black version is what we first saw about a month ago on Engadget, and aside from the aluminum back, it looks like a natural evolution of the iPhone. At the time of the original leak, the discussions regarding the cosmetics of the phone revolved largely around the back and the aluminum bezel of the phone and how form might impact function.
With this latest leak, however, the internet has been agog about the possibility of the phone actually launching with two different face plates, a first for the iPhone. While the notion of the whole internet fawning over an Apple product leak is nothing new, it does seem kind of silly that this one little leak should do the same. Except it should get our attention as it may provide some insight into Apple’s marketing mechanisms.
In all likelihood this is just a one-off mockup that Apple’s product marketing folks requested for consideration, despite what the designers may have intended. It is very common in the cell phone industry for such mock-ups to be created for nothing more than due diligence; Apple should be no different. Somewhere in Cupertino someone did the research that indicates that people like to have a color choice when buying an iPhone; white is certainly a color that has worked before for Apple and the iPhone.
But from an overall design perspective I am not sure this works. Even acknowledging that the finished product would look much better than what is seen in these pictures, the white face plate seems to go against Apple’s ever-evolving design principles. White polycarbonate products are white all over and are made that way to be recognizably different from the rest of the product line, which is defined by brushed aluminum and black reflective plastic. Brushed aluminum and white plastic simply do not combine to create the sleek, deep, highly evolved design that Apple has achieved with the latest MacBook Pro and iPad.
In my opinion this is just the hype machine at play to drive traffic to a website. I have been wrong before, though.