Here's Why People Will Buy Apple's New White iPhone 4

iphone-4-white.jpg

If the rumors are true, the elusive white iPhone will finally go on sale sometime tomorrow. There's nothing special about it except that it's white. No new features, no more storage space -- aside from the color of its case and home button, the white iPhone 4 will be exactly the same as the black iPhone 4. But the thrill of something new -- after all, Mac (Apple) users are more likely than PC users to say that they want to be "perceived as unique and different to make my mark," according to a Hunch infographic -- could boost sales of the product.

With the launch of the iPhone 5 delayed until September, sales of the white iPhone 4 will be appreciated by Apple executives who know that, following a remarkable first quarter earnings report, they don't have much in the pipeline to top themselves. iPod sales have been down for some time, the refresh of MacBook Pro line is in the past and most people who want one of the new iPad 2s have already purchased one. This technical glitch -- there was a problem with the paint and the white iPhone 4 couldn't be released nearly a year ago when it was originally scheduled -- could be a great accidental move by Apple.

But will people really go out and snatch up white iPhone 4s when most everybody (it seems) already has a black one that does the exact same thing? Yes. I'm sure of it.

And at least one prominent analyst agrees with me. "In our view, the purchase of consumer electronic devices is not always a completely rational decision, and people buy Apple products for many different reasons, including status, aesthetics, functionality, quality and the 'cool factor,'" Ticonderoga analyst Brian White told All Things Digital. "The delayed launch of a white iPhone has created a certain mystique around the product, and we believe certain demographics will find the product appealing. As such, we expect incremental iPhone 4 purchases due to this launch, driven by replacements, upgrades and/or new iPhone 4 purchases."

And don't forget about those that don't yet have an iPhone. You have one and your mom has one, but that doesn't mean the market is saturated. Consider this: Over the first quarter of 2011, Apple managed to sell more than 200,000 iPhones every single day. There are still a lot of customers for the company's popular smartphone. Perhaps many of those who want to join the Apple ranks but were waffling -- should I buy one now or wait for the iPhone 5? Five months sounds like an awfully long time -- will be nudged to act now by the glossy new gadget.

Purchasing a white iPhone 4 could bring you more than status. It could be a smart financial move. With fewer flooding the market, it's possible that the white iPhones will fetch more than their black counterparts on the resale market. And there's no guarantee that a white iPhone 5 will be available -- or even a black one. While Apple finalizes the design plans for the next iteration of its popular smartphone, tech blogs have been trying to get their hands on a prototype or even just sketches. One source from Foxconn, Apple's manufacturing partner in China, has said that, with the iPhone 5, Apple will return to a metallic look, bringing in an all-metal case. No white, no black.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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