Is This The Next iPhone?

Dave Zatz —  April 19, 2010 — 9 Comments

Engadget’s quite confident they’ve got pics of what could be the next gen iPhone. I had some initial doubts, assuming Apple would have had them yanked and given the unexpected, but not unattractive, seams/gaps. But both elements can be explained away… Apple may not want to show their hand by having their legal staff write letters and word on the street is that this could be a hand-milled prototype.

As handsome as the device is, real or otherwise, the way it’s played out in the blogosphere has been unusual… in seeing Engadget’s original post revised a number of times and word that the “owner” has been shopping around a hands on for $10,000. Assuming this is a legit iPhone HD prototype, paying for info could open a legal can of worms. Dependent on who possesses the phone and how it was acquired. Also, unexpected is Gizmodo’s radio silence on the matter. Are they making a play at the device, do they believe it’s fake, or do they fear being frozen out of a review unit? Curiouser and curiouser.

We rarely speculate on rumors here and I don’t have the Apple sources Engadget and Gruber do. So, I’d rather focus on the sorts of iPhone enhancements it would take to get us to upgrade or switch carriers.

Honestly, on the hardware side I don’t have too many complaints. I could do without the shiny, slippery black plastic, having preferred the look and feel of the first gen iPhone. A potentially higher resolution screen sounds nice for a new model, but I’m far more interested in a higher resolution camera. While my iPhone 3GS has solid longevity, with push email disabled and moderate brightness, I’m sure no one would turn down the opportunity for better battery life. With both the iPad and iPhone, I’ve seen many clamoring for a front facing camera. Perhaps I’m a Luddite, but mobile video chatting doesn’t interest me in the least and I don’t see it taking off. Some sort of webOS hotspot functionality would get my attention, though. But my top two requested iPhone improvements are already being handled on the software side — iPhone 4.0 OS is bringing good-enough multitasking and folders for app organization.

My biggest iPhone complaint and Apple’s biggest US liability is still their carrier. Each time I’m ready to declare improvements in AT&T’s network, I experience a data blackout or dropped call. I was locked and loaded for the Sprint Nexus One. Except it’s MIA. And no pricing or timing details have been revealed for the 4G HTC EVO superphone. The next few months in the mobile space should be interesting.

9 responses to Is This The Next iPhone?

  1. I think that Giz is playing THIS ONE smart by being quiet. I’m sure they are hoping that Engadget will get egg on their face.

    As for the phone, I doubt this is the final form factor. The look doesn’t seem like an Apple design. I doubt Apple would move away from the volume rocker design to round buttons that look like old Sony Ericsson phones like a T637 (http://thetravelinsider.info/roadwarriorcontent/images/t610.jpg)

    While this could be a prototype, which have been loose in the public before (http://www.tuaw.com/2009/03/10/iphone-prototype-yanked-down-from-ebay/), the real question is: So what?

    If this is a real Apple phone and not a foreign knock-off, I’m sure they’ve sent it a remote kill command.

    There are no photos of the OS running. I don’t see any new hardware details. Processor? RAM? Camera specs?

    If that information would surface, maybe we would have something to report. Until then, this is all just for not, IMO.

    -Jon

  2. Wow. You really think that Apple would turn all of those docking stations and cradles in clock radios, cars, stereos, etc irrelevant this soon by changing the docking interface this much? If so they are going to anger a LOT of people.

    AT&T is bad, but I have to say that the iPhone’s horrible battery and its incredibly tedious process of adding podcasts have me looking very strongly at whatever is the best Android phone at Verizon when my AT&T iPhone contract runs out late summer.

  3. Well, looks like we know why Gizmodo’s been quiet now:

    http://gizmodo.com/5520164/this-is-apples-next-iphone

    They managed to get their hands on the actual device in question — no word on whether they paid $10k for it, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

  4. Time to start saving up my cash

    “But after playing with it for about a week—the overall quality feels exactly like a finished final Apple phone—and disassembling this unit, there is so much evidence stacked in its favor, that there’s very little possibility that it’s a fake. In fact, the possibility is almost none. ”

    http://gizmodo.com/5520164/this-is-apples-next-iphone

    Yes, this explains why they were silent. I bet they were pissed Engadget got the drop on this though.

  5. Well, whoever had it was trying to cash in and had to send some photos around to prove he had something worth looking at. It’s all very odd. Wonder if Apple’s lawyers will get involved. If it weren’t for the cash element, I would’ve suggested this could even be a plant. But no way Apple would let them reveal the front facing camera in this manner. Crazy.

    Glad Giz ran the side by side pics. Didn’t realize it was slimmer than the 3GS from Eng’s pics.

  6. @Dana

    “Wow. You really think that Apple would turn all of those docking stations and cradles in clock radios, cars, stereos, etc irrelevant this soon by changing the docking interface this much? If so they are going to anger a LOT of people.”

    Actually (and most unfortunately ) that very much IS exactly how Apple operates!

    But to the meat of this post – whether or not these photos are really of the next iPhone – I say “no”…

    1) Most likely a huge hoax, epic, will prove to be up there with Orson Wells’ original War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

    2) Even if its not a hoax, there’s is no way that an Apple employee causally “lost” the phone at a bar, and then couldn’t be bothered to go back with 50 lawyers the next day and reclaim it. SO that places it in the “guerrilla marketing” category, an intentional act by Apple ( ala Motorola )

    So, you haven’t won our bet yet Dave. Pics of a Chinese knock-off phone with an Apple product ID silk screened to the back cover, do not earn you a beer!
    :)

  7. That device looks very unApple like. Seams, buttons that look like buttons, exposed screws, angular. Very Zune (and a dozen other devices) like…

    Of course, when it’s released, every other device (even if they’ve been out for years) will be copying this design.

    John

  8. Katie Couric featured the iPhone (????) tonight. I think she wants a 90 second vibrate mode….

  9. Seems like the real thing based on Gizmodo’s reporting. Yes it appears they paid the source. They keep him anonymous and the way they write it up make it seem all very innocent on his part which obviously it wasn’t by the time he starting pushing for a payoff. Don’t know how much of the story is actually true as a result. But they’ve got the name of the Apple employee who lost the phone and everything. Apparently they’re going to post the internals in the days to come. I assume they disassembled it as much as possible and took pictures.

    From the posts so far it has:

    - a higher resolution, though slightly smaller, screen (I don’t want it smaller!)
    - a better camera with better optics
    - a front facing camera
    - a 2nd microphone for better audio, possible noise cancellation
    - a camera flash
    - a slightly bigger battery. might give you better battery life, or might give you the same battery life with say the new A4 processor in the nextgen unit.

    None of this matters to me a whole lot.

    Not sure what I’d do with a smaller higher resolution screen. Seems like it would just have the potential to slow things down. A bigger higher resolution screen on the other hand, like just slightly bigger (under 5″ anyway), would be much appreciated for web browsing.

    I don’t care a whit for video conferencing, but I suspect there will be other uses for that front-facing camera. I could even imagine using head-tracking in 3D gameplay for example with the right hardware/API support. Move your head and the view in space changes–take a quick peak around a corner for example while trying not to get shot.

    All I really want is a faster CPU, better battery life, and more flash storage. A lot more flash storage. My music collection isn’t going to fit on one of these things for a couple more generations I guess…

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