iPhone 4 leaked?

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 20 Apr 2010
Seems so...

I am pretty sure the entire tech loving internet users have read the posts by Gizmodo at this point. It sounds like a movie: young guy who programs iPhone baseband software uses an unreleased iPhone prototype, and goes for a drink at a bar. Guy forgets the iPhone on a bar stool. Guy #2 picks it up, and tries to find the guy whose phone it is. Guy does not show up. Guy #2 goes home - next morning the phone is remotely killed by Apple. Guy #2 tries to find Guy at Apple, to no avail. Guy #2 contacts Apple to tell them he has what seems like a iPhone prototype. Apple does not take him seriously. Guy #2 sells the prototype to Gizmodo for $5000.
Here she is. Take note the steel sides and lack of typical iPhone silver rim.

And from there it hit the interwebz. If this entire story is true, it is a very sad day for Apple. See, Apple is famously secretive of upcoming products. Steve Jobs's partyline at new product showcases is to just say: It will be available in stores....(insert time here). And the crowd goes wild, and a while later they are all lined up at Apple stores. Which is great - but this has grown a massive industry of people trying to get hold of Apple rumours. And there has been a few leaks yes, but most of the time, Apple keeps leaks at a minimum.

In the past, these leaks have come a few days before a product launch (Apple normally sends out invites to launches). This time however, it is months before the expected date of release. It caught most people off guard - with most of the attention still on the iPad, we werent expecting new iPhone news until at least June, when Apple normally updates the iPhone.

The last two iPhones looked similiar, in fact they were indistinguishable from each other. This new iPhone however, has a fresh design. Gone is the tapered back, and in its place is a glass (or plastic) rear. Around the edges is machined aluminium, similiar to the iPad. On the front, there is a front facing camera, and on the rear an improved camera and flash. The screen resolution is also increased to 960 pixels, which is quadruple what the current iPhone has. The device has a micro-SIM tray - similiar to the upcoming iPad, which only Apple uses at this point. Other noticable changes is a secondary mic (which can be used for noise cancelation probably) and metallic buttons on the sides.

The new flat rear, probably made from hardened glass or plastic.

My opinion however is the following: This casing is not the final version. It just does not look "Apple" enough - there are too many seams. While I am of the opinion that it is an Apple prototype, I think its just a "carry around" version of the next iPhone for testing. It looks like something to test out the insides of the new iPhone. Why do I think so? Apple's silver chrome lining around the iPhone sides have become the definitive iPhone look. Why would Apple move away from it? In its current guise it looks like something from HTC (not that that is a bad thing). In fact just a week ago Apple was granted the trademark for its "ornamental design of the iPhone". This includes the silver rim and rounded edges. While this does not entirely validate my opinion, I do find it strange that Apple would shift away from its design language.

I am a fan of the new flat rear however, I never liked the curved back all that much. And this design does bring the orginal iPhone's look back, which I still think makes the 3G and 3GS look cheap, with its steel casing. Biggest problem with steel casings is that it blocks wireless antennas, so a glass or plastic rear does make sense.

Apple's recent trademark of the iPhone "ornamental design"

But - if this is what the next iPhone does look like, bravo. It does look great. And taking into account that this phone does gain a lot of the features that iPhone was still missing, it does become pretty darn perfect.

Maybe Steve should just announce it today.
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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.