Engadget’s Richard Lai has been dabbling with white iPhone 4 parts — both real and fake — for some time now. It’s widely held that the white iPhone 4 has been delayed due to light leaking through the back panel, leading to washed-out photos.

He’s developed a theory:

Regardless, the argument still holds: all the rumors that have been going around about how the white iPhone 4 is delayed are untrue — the KIRF lens covers are the real culprit of the crappy photos that people have been seeing, ergo the culprit of the erroneous rumor. The real reason for the delay? We still think it’s to do with the paint job. Fret not, though, as the shop owner in Shenzhen told us that Foxconn was starting to mass produce white iPhone 4s in mid-January, but only time will tell whether his source was right.

In short, several of the parts floating around have different versions of the metal plate that create the base for the lens cover, creating the bad photos people have seen online. Lia’s theory dismisses that, and focuses on the white paint itself.

While time will tell if the white iPhone 4 ever actually ships, I think Lai is onto something.

Photo Credit: Engadget

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