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White iPhone 5 saga continues as Schiller declines to untweet, moves on

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He never did delete it, and now he’s resumed tweeting. Of all the intriguing aspects of Phil Schiller’s white iPhone tweet, ranging from what prompted him to take the bait to whether he was referring to the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4, the most fascinating aspect of the entire affair is that he never did go back and remove that tweet. And now that he’s resumed tweeting after the fact, it’s clear that Apple wanted that message out there. Just what exactly the message might mean is another story, as is what Apple was hoping people would assume from it. But the iPhone 5 rabbit hole continues to run deeper.

Schiller is an infrequent tweeter, and true to form for an Apple exec, rarely discusses anything related to the company. But he dropped a bomb several weeks ago when he opted to reply to a sixteen year old kid who asked him how to get a white iPhone. A quick Twitter search reveals just how many unresponded-to questions Schiller receives per day regarding Apple products, and yet he either very randomly or very carefully singled one out about the white iPhone and publicly revealed its release date. This is the kind of thing that can get a lower-rung Apple employee fired, and yet here’s Schiller himself, the second most recognizable face in the company, either feeling really bad for the kid who asked the question or intentionally planting an answer intended to leave onlookers guessing. Schiller’s tweet didn’t specify whether he was referring to the “white iPhone” coming this spring as being a late-arriving iPhone 4 white model or an upcoming iPhone 5 in white. Nor did he make it clear which portion of spring to which he was referring; it’s already been spring for two weeks and Apple.com is still set up as if the white iPhone 4 will never exist.

After Schiller’s white iPhone 4/5 gaffe (stroke of genius?), he disappeared from Twitter for two and a half weeks, suggesting that it may have been an error after all and he may have bailed on the social network altogether as a result. But sure enough, last week, Schiller began (infrequently) tweeting – albeit only about books, music, and television shows. The “white iPhone” tweet is still there, meaning that any opportunity to delete it has passed and Apple is standing by it.

What does it tell us about the late stages of the iPhone 4 era and the nature of the iPhone 5 era? Nothing, really. Did it serve its purpose? That depends on what Apple’s purpose was. Interestingly enough, the kid Schiller responded to has since gone on to say that he’s saving up his money for an iPhone 5. So much for Schiller’s attempt to get him interested in a white iPhone 4 – if that’s what Schiller was even referring to. Here’s more on the iPhone 5.

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