By now you've probably seen the latest spectacle to consume the white iPhone 4: it's thicker than the black model. The image above illustrates the point using a piece of lead from a mechanical pencil. So what, you say, in righteous indignation to a device that shipped ten months late. Well, the size difference creates a potential consumer issue since cases (at least the good ones) are manufactured against the tight tolerances supplied by Apple. We've confirmed ourselves, that an Incase slider that fits a black iPhone 4 just fine has to be forced into place on the new white model. Unfortunately, Apple's own spec page doesn't highlight the change in thickness (measured at 9.5mm by TiPb). Instead it still shows a 9.3mm depth with a tiny disclaimer stating, "Actual size and weight vary by configuration and manufacturing process." The result is confusion -- will this case fit or won't it? -- which is never a good thing for consumers.
But why is the white iPhone 4 thicker? Phil Schiller mentioned that Apple needed to add extra UV protection among other tweaks, in an attempt to reduce the "unexpected interactions" between the white cover and the internal components. As such, Apple apparently needed to sacrifice some slimness for a better functioning white phone. In the end, we have what looks to be four different size / button configurations that must be considered when purchasing a shrink-wrapped case for your white iPhone 4, black iPhone 4, white Verizon iPhone 4, or black Verizon iPhone 4. Good luck with that.