Alleged iPhone 4G part suggests Apple could offer white front panel

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A purported component from Apple's forthcoming fourth-generation iPhone suggests the new handset could have a white external casing on its front side.

As first reported by fscklog, the alleged iPhone 4G part, obtained by Taiwanese website, is white, unlike the current iPhone, as well as the prototype next-generation models previously leaked to the public. The website offered a side-by-side comparison of the white and black front panels, both clearly showing a hole for a forward facing camera.

Apple began offering color options with the iPhone 3G in 2008. The redesign of the iPhone in its second-generation version gave it a polished, plastic back, available in shiny black for the 8GB and 16GB models, or polished white for the 16GB model only. But both the black and white models retained the black front panel surrounding the handset's multitouch LCD screen.

Obtained fourth-generation iPhone prototypes have all shown the device with a black front and back. The new models featured a flat back said to be made of glass or hard plastic that is believed to offer superior reception on the smartphone.

The front and back of the devices were held together by metal sides, another change for the iPhone. The prototype models also featured circular metal volume buttons and a metal vibrate switch.

Earlier Wednesday, cases from China designed to fit the prototype iPhones spotted in the wild were revealed, lending support to earlier rumors that the design of the hardware was near-final. Apple is expected to formally introduce its new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, which begins on June 7.