By John Gruber
Plan your novel, finish your dissertation, launch a product. You need Tinderbox.
The latest version of the popular handset, the iPhone 4, was released in June, but the white model was delayed first to July, then to the end of the year and now to early next year.
“We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone again,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. She declined to explain the delay.
Apple has never said exactly why the white iPhone has been so troublesome to produce. The company has only said the white model was “more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected.”
The White iPhone 4 is slumped back in a chair, alone, playing a table-top video poker machine embedded in the bar. He is up late, not early.
We see from behind as a metallic roundrect — slightly scratched, a small dent in one corner, but otherwise in fine condition — walks into the hotel lobby and surveys the scene. It is the Original iPhone. He is up early, not late. He approaches the bar and sits next to White iPhone 4.
Original iPhone: Look at you. You’re a fucking mess.
White iPhone 4: (Without looking up from poker machine.) Nice to see you too.
Original iPhone: Is that cocaine all over your face? Jesus Christ. You’re lucky I’m not picking you up in jail again.
White iPhone 4: Who gives a shit if you were? Who cares?
Original iPhone: Who do you think you are? You think all publicity is good publicity? You think you’re the bad-boy star? Lindsay fucking Lohan with stainless steel frame and a glass back? There’s a big difference between you and her. She’s made actual movies, which have sold actual tickets. She had an actual career to ruin. What have you done, at all, other than embarrass yourself? You showed up at WWDC, let the press fondle you, take your picture. You’ve got sometimes-seen company units in the hands of employees on campus in Cupertino. But that shit isn’t your job. Your job is to sell yourself to actual customers. And you know how many times you’ve been sold? Zero. You’re not the rebel who’s fallen down. You’re the loser who’s never done a damn thing.
The bartender comes by, and scoops away White iPhone 4’s empty glass.
White iPhone 4: (To bartender) I’ll have another.
Bartender: Grey Goose and Red Bull?
White iPhone 4: Exactly.
Bartender: (To Original iPhone) Anything for you, sir?
Original iPhone: Coffee, thanks.
White iPhone 4: Why are you here? Leave me the fuck alone.
Original iPhone: You know why I’m here. I’m here because you’re all over the goddamn news. You appeared in the new Apple Store app yesterday, pictured as though you were available for purchase, ready to go. An hour later, it’s all over the news. Engadget, PC Magazine, Boy Genius. Why would you do that?
White iPhone 4: Gotta keep interest up.
Original iPhone: Interest in what? A phone that can’t be bought? You were supposed to be out in the summer. Five months ago. You made your brother take the heat for that Antennagate bullshit all by himself. Holiday season was your last chance for a big impact on the market, and you blew past that window. The Company wants people to forget you even exist, and you go and show up acting like you’re ready to go in the goddamn Store app?
White iPhone 4: I’m building mystique.
Original iPhone: Yeah, you’ve got mystique all right. That’s the worst part. All the people out there who think you’re being held back as part of some plan. They thought you’d show up in October with a “fixed” antenna. That you’re going to show up on Verizon. That there’s got to be some sort of method to the madness. The truth, plain and obvious, does not compute: you’re a complete fuck-up.
White iPhone 4: I’ll show up on Verizon in January. Fuck AT&T.
Original iPhone: No, you won’t. Not that the Company would mind fucking over AT&T — but they can’t fuck over AT&T iPhone customers. And it’s the customers who are the ones waiting for you. The press inquiries after this thing with the Store app forced the Company to issue a statement. You know what they said? They said you’ll be available in the spring. And they said they were sorry.
White iPhone 4: …
Original iPhone: If they’d listened to me, they would have just said you were fucking canceled. But they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. You made the Company say that they’re sorry for disappointing customers. Think about that.
White iPhone 4: What’s wrong with spring?
Original iPhone: What’s wrong with spring? What isn’t wrong with spring? Come next June and there’ll be a new model. I hope the Company is full of shit and that your hard-to-manufacture ass has been canceled, and that they just can’t bear to say so publicly. But even if you do ship in the spring, that means you’ve got — what? a month? maybe two months? — before you’re dropped to the $99 last-year’s-model cheapskate bin. You get 12 months in the spotlight, kid. That’s it. Trust me, I know. And you’re set to blow all of them. Think about where we’d be if it weren’t for your brother.
White iPhone 4: I’ll make it.
Original iPhone: You’ll make shit. The Company might as well have said “when hell freezes over” instead of “spring”. You’re fucking done. The only iPhone bust. The Great White Nope. You make me sick.
The bartender returns, with their beverages.
Bartender: Anything else, gentlemen?
Original iPhone: What kind of scotch do you have?