9To5Mac has reported that Apple Geniuses–customer support representatives at Apple Stores–are now being told to replace select white iPhone 4 models with refurbished iPhone 4S models. Multiple commenters on their post have confirmed this swap at Apple Stores and through Verizon’s iPhone insurance plan. While we have not completely confirmed the iPhone 4 for 4S swap, the comments seem believable enough.
While you should definitely take this report with a grain of salt, the reported reason for the swap is supply issues in the 16GB white iPhone 4 variant. Apple is known to upgrade customers when supply is low, as they previously upgraded first generation iPod Nano users to sixth generation iPod Nanos after they ran out of first gen replacements.
While Apple has not yet made a public statement about this swap, they have reportedly made an internal statement to their store employees about these inventory shortages. This statement also claimed that the replacement iPhones must be previously refurbished models. The report did not say when Apple will resume giving customers the standard iPhone 4 as a replacement, so try to get your replacement quickly if you’re eligible!
To be eligible for this swap (or any Apple warranty replacement) your iPhone must have a hardware issue which is covered by Apple’s standard warranty. Your local Apple store must also be out of stock of 16GB white iPhone 4 variants, so don’t be disappointed if you walk away with a refurbished iPhone 4. If you successfully swap your damaged iPhone 4 for an iPhone 4S, please let us know in the comments below this post.