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Briefly: On last minute iMac and iPhone design changes

A slow day for Apple news gives us the opportunity to post some tidbits regarding last-minute design changes affecting the company's recent product launches —the iPhone and iMac.

iPhone's two-week delay

iPhone, which went on sale nationwide on June 29th, may have made its debut several weeks earlier had it not been for a last minute material swap on the handset's top surface.

In a June 18th press release, the company announced that the entire top surface of iPhone, including its 3.5-inch display, was being upgraded from plastic to optical-quality glass to achieve a superior level of scratch resistance and optical clarity.

This move cause a two-week delay in the initial manufacturing ramp of the device, according iPhone touch-screen component supplier, Balda. In a recent financial report, the German-based firm revealed that the last minute design change prompted it to redesign parts of its production line from scratch, causing a material impact on financials.

Balda, which partly owns touchscreen factory TPK in Xiamen China, said it now expects lower revenues for 2007, but anticipates an uptick in sales beginning early next year.

iMac logo goes black

Meanwhile, Apple may have also called for a small, but last minute design change to a the facade of its new iMac enclosures. Although purely aesthetic, observers note a disparity in the color of the desktop's Apple logo as seen in the company's marketing materials.

A .Mac Sync video tutorial released alongside the new all-in-one desktops correctly presents the iMac with a black logo on Apple's U.S. website. However, the same tutorial on its European website depicts the systems with a silver logo —akin to the iPhone's mirror-like emblem.


While introducing the new iMacs last week, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs acknowledged that his design team took cues from the iPhone in designing the new Macs, including the use of black, glass and aluminum.

The disparity could indicate that Apple originally planned to mimic the iPhone's exterior more closely with the iMac. (Alternatively, the silver-logoed model may simply represent a graphical error.)

Update: A source who provided an accurate description of the latest iMacs ahead of release claims that the original design indeed called for the mirror logo. However, it was subsequently scrapped, the source says, as people "do not like to look at themselves in the mirror all day."

White, black and grey were said to be candidates for a replacement color, with black winning out despite its slightly conspicuous appearance.