First it was delayed until late 2010, then spring 2011, and this morning's latest rumors pointed to an outright cancellation of the white version of the iPhone 4. Adding fuel to the cancellation rumors: the white iPhone has unceremoniously disappeared from Apple's online store. The increasingly mythical white iPhone 4 still shows up in Apple's iPhone gallery -- for now -- but the "unavailable for pre-order or in-store pickup" placeholder for the white iPhone 4 that's been on the Apple Store since the iPhone 4's debut has vanished.
As soon as we heard the white iPhone 4 was being delayed until spring 2011, most of us felt it was only a matter of time until the device was canceled altogether. The next-generation iPhone -- we'll just call it iPhone 5 for now -- is most likely due for release in June or July of next year. That would give a white iPhone 4 only a few months on the market before, in the words of Daring Fireball's John Gruber, it'd be "dropped to the $99 last-year's-model cheapskate bin." Others have speculated that the white iPhone 4 might be a Verizon exclusive; however, that comes at a risk of alienating not just AT&T (and more importantly, its iPhone customers), but also the myriad of international carriers offering the iPhone 4.
Cancelling the white iPhone 4 seems like a foregone conclusion now. At this point in the product cycle, Apple likely wants to devote more of its R&D efforts to the next-gen iPhone rather than spending tons of man-hours, materials, and cash figuring out how to solve the problems with a white version of the iPhone 4 when the black version seems to be selling just fine. Hopefully, when Steve Jobs ascends the stage at WWDC 2011 he'll show the world an iPhone 5, say "it comes in white," and this time really mean it.