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White iPhone 4 not available until later this year

Manufacturing the white iPhone 4 has been "more challenging" than expected, Apple says. Meanwhile, iPhone 4 bumper refunds have started for online sales.

White models of the iPhone 4 will not be available until "later this year," Apple said in a brief statement issued Friday.

The white models "have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected," the company said. That leaves the black iPhone as the sole model by default. Apple noted that the manufacturing issues don't affect the black version.

Apple did not explain why creating a white case is any more difficult than making a black one.

Meanwhile, bumper refunds for the iPhone 4 have kicked in online. Apple has apparently started providing refunds to the people who bought bumpers for their iPhone 4 before Apple announced its decision July 16 to give them away for free to address an antenna problem.

An iPhone 4 bumper refund e-mail.
An iPhone 4 bumper refund e-mail. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

An image shared on the MacRumors forums allegedly shows a note from Apple regarding refunds for bumpers purchased online. It's expected that people can get a refund from Apple retail stores as well.

In response to complaints that reception was reduced or cut off when people put their hands over the iPhone 4's antenna, Apple decided to give away bumpers. The bumpers cover the antenna, which runs down the side of the device, and are touted as solving reception issues.

Update at 7 a.m. PDT: Sales status of white iPhones has been clarified.