Customers will not be able to get their hands on Apple Inc's white iPhone 4 until later this year, the company said on Friday (July 23), conceding that making the model has proven surprisingly difficult.

Apple, in a brief statement, said that its black iPhone 4 had not been affected. As for the white iPhone, the company said it has "continued to be more challenging to manufacture that we originally expected."

Apple did not provide further details in its statement or give a precise date when the white model would be available.

The newest iPhone, while selling quickly, has created a series of headaches for Apple, the biggest being the suggestion that its design was flawed because of a problem with the antenna.

Chief executive Steve Jobs, at a rare press conference last week, defended the smartphone, but offered consumers free phone cases to address reception complaints.

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