PICTURES AND VIDEOS of Apple’s next generation iPhone have made their way online after an allegedly misplaced device was found in a bar in Redwood City. However, if you take in consideration how careful Apple is about leaks of this kind, one has to wonder if this is truly by accident or if Apple is trying to build some momentum here and the whole thing is just an elaborate PR stunt.
In saying that, pictures appeared on Engadget on Saturday night with additional details posted on Sunday. Engadget had to make do with a mere three pictures, although a collage of pictures from a Twitpic post appeared in an update that revealed additional details. The Sunday post contained an old picture that leaked to Engadget ahead of the iPad launch, and you can just about make out what appears to be the new iPhone in the top right hand corner of the rather blurry picture. In the same post is a link to pictures of what are supposedly parts of the enclosure that are hosted on a Chinese website called WeiPhone, that were also added.
So far it all looked just like bad luck for Apple, as one of its staff members had lost his or her prototype device and no-one really trusts the rumours or even the photo evidence from Chinese websites, right? Well, that was until earlier today when Gizmodo posted a raft of pictures and videos of the same device. It all looks a little bit too strange to be a pure coincidence, but maybe we’re just reading a little bit too much into things here.
The Gizmodo post is nearing 1.4 million views as we’re writing this, so there’s no doubt there’s a lot of interest in the next generation iPhone. If this handset is a fake, then it’s the best made fake ever, although it has one problem, it doesn’t actually work. Well, Gizmodo claims that Apple put the handset in lockdown mode when it found out it had gone missing, which makes it impossible to use the handset, but the screen works and it does at least partially connect to a computer and displays “connected to iTunes”, but that’s as far as it gets. iTunes detects the handset as an iPhone and so does the System Profiler in OS X. It’s important to note that this handset has different product identifiers than the iPhone 3G or 3GS.
The new design, if this really is the final design, is a rather big departure away from the current iPhone design. The basics are pretty much the same with a bottom mounted dock connector, a top mounted power button and headphone jack, as well as the side mounted volume control and mute switch. However, the new design has two volume buttons rather than a rocker and the SIM card slot has been moved to the side of the handset rather than the previous location at the top. One near enough sure fire sign that this is a next gen iPhone is the fact that the handset uses a micro SIM, something that as far as we know, only Apple has entertained to use in its iPad so far.
The first of the two really big new features is that the handset features a front facing camera for video calls, although this was already rumoured to be a feature thanks to the developer build of OS 4 for the iPhone and iPad. The second feature that many iPhone owners have been waiting for is a built in flash and the new handset delivers here too and it’s also being suggested that Apple has upgraded the camera. The display hasn’t grown – Gizmodo actually claims it’s slightly smaller – but is said to use a higher resolution, however the exact resolution is currently unknown but Gizmodo is suggesting it might be the rumoured 960×640 display, although it’s too early to tell.
Of course the enclosure has also changed as the back is now made of what appears to be some kind of glass or ceramic rather than metal or plastic. Apple couldn’t really use a metal back, as the cellular and Wi-Fi signals wouldn’t be as strong. The back is also flat now, rather than slightly curved and the sides of the handset are said to be made out of metal. The battery capacity has also been increased by 16 percent over the iPhone 3GS, which suggests a more powerful CPU being used and our guess is that Apple has fitted its A4 SoC inside the new iPhone. Oh, we almost forgot, the new handset is also 3 grams heavier than the 3GS, but this is hardly going to be a huge concern for anyone.
There’s no word as to how much memory the handset is kitted out with and as this is a prototype it just reads XX GB on the back. We’d expect Apple to offer at least 16GB and 32GB models, just like with the current 3GS, although a 64GB model isn’t unthinkable. In fact, Engadget happened to mention that the person who supposedly found the handset said that it had 80GB of storage space, but this doesn’t seem very likely, although not entirely impossible.
Another rumour making the rounds, started by an Engadget commenter is suggesting that we’ll see a removable battery, which would be a huge change for Apple. However, it’s not entirely unlikely, if you look at the Twitpic, as the battery appears to be removable by opening up the left hand side of the handset. The power connector for the battery appears to be placed on the right hand side – or left if you’re looking at the phone from the back – and it should make a swappable battery design at least plausible.
The rumoured launch date is sometime in June if we’re to believe rumours about AT&T telling its staff to not go on holiday during that month. The only logical reason for this would be an iPhone launch, but it could of course be some other magical device that we have yet to find out about. We’ll let you make your own mind up about all of this, but the handset does look like the real deal, although the whole lost in a bar story is a different matter all together.S|A
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