On Tuesday, the "fabled" white iPhone made a brief appearance in the Apple Store app — customers could seemingly reserve the long-awaited model at one Massachusetts retail location —  but the sighting came and went. On the heels of that false start, the latest in a series of setbacks for the white version of the super-popular phone, The Associated Press reported that the elusive gadget won't be available until next spring. Why the long holdup? It's already been reported that Apple's manufacturers had trouble perfecting the "paint thickness and opacity" of the white glass, but is that the only problem?

Yes, it's a coloring issue: The delay is all about the correct shade of white, says Stuart Miles at Pocket Lint. According to an Apple insider I spoke to, the company's California homebase is "swimming with white iPhones." They haven't been released to the public because the company's Asian developers can't seem to "match the white used in the manufacturing of the parts." Specifically, "the white home button color doesn't match the white front face plate color" — and, "Apple being the perfectionist that it is," non-matching colors just won't do.
"White iPhone spotted in New York, owner explains why you haven't got one yet"

No, it's a camera issue: The real reason for the delay, says Leander Kahney at Cult of Mac, is that the "white iPhone 4 can't take accurate photographs." Contrary to previous rumors, the problem "isn’t light leaking out from the iPhone — instead, "it’s light leaking back in." That "[ruins] pictures taken with the internal camera, especially when the built-in flash is used."
"The real reason white iPhone 4 is delayed (Hint: The camera)"

Could overheating be a factor? It's worth noting Apple has "faced issues with a white handset" before, says Kent German at CNET. Last year, owners of white iPhone 3GS handsets complained that overheating was discoloring the phones' casing. Although the problem was far from widespread, the company "updated its heat advisory for all 3GS models" and won't want to make the same mistake with a higher profile model.
"Waiting for the white iPhone 4"

This article was originally published on July 26 and updated on October 27.