iPhone 4G Found on Bar Floor?
Apple is famous for taking secrecy to extremes when it comes to new products, which makes it all the more unbelievable that someone claims to have found a working model of the next iPhone on a barroom floor in California. And yet, more and more evidence indicates this unlikely scenario happened.
Apple is expected to unveil a new model of the iPhone, tentatively called the iPhone 4G or iPhone HD, in June or July as the company has every year since the iPhone's inception. The company recently announced a new version of the iPhone operating system , further indicating that a new iPhone was around the corner.
But finding it on the floor of a bar?
The story starts on April 17 when technology blog Engadget posted leaked images from an unnamed source purporting to be the next iPhone. The phone in the images seemed too well made to be a fake, but the design was very boxy, unlike any of the previous iPhones.
The iPhone 4G's design is slab-like. It's a box with rounded corners, with a black plastic or possibly ceramic back plate and a flat surface on the front that is flush with the screen. Around the edges is a metallic strip that matches the metallic buttons. The back of the iPhone prototype is also completely flat, unlike the iPhone 3GS, which has a curved back.
But the strangest part of the leaked images was the story behind them. The tipster claimed to have found the iPhone 4G on a barroom floor in San Jose, California, just miles from Apple headquarters. The story was seemingly unthinkable given Apple's history for intense product secrecy and tight scrutiny over anyone working on new products.
Many people immediately called the pictures fake based on the unusual design and unbelievable story. Even when Engadget presented more photo evidence from leaked iPad photos, most people remained skeptical.
But then things got interesting.
This morning, Gizmodo went one step further by confirming the barroom story (although saying it was found farther away in Redwood City, California) and producing the very phone, not just leaked images. It's unclear if Gizmodo got the phone from the Engadget tipster directly or if the leaked images came from a different person, but Gizmodo claims to have been playing with it for a week now, well before Engadget posted the initial leaked images.
Gizmodo has a complete rundown of the supposed iPhone 4G with images and video as proof. New features include the long-awaited forward-facing camera for video conferencing, improved resolution (speculated to be 960x460), secondary microphone for noise cancellation and split volume buttons.
Even more interesting than the new features was Gizmodo's lengthy list of reasons why this phone was the real deal despite the unbelievable backstory.
First and foremost, Apple has reported a prototype missing, lending the story immediate credibility. The phone was purportedly working when found but has since been remotely disabled, which also indicates that Apple knows it's lost and doesn't want it to be used. The person who found it said the iPhone 4G was running the newly announced iPhone 4 operating system before it was disabled. When plugged in to a computer, the phone is recognized as an iPhone, but with a different product identifiers than current models. The phone also uses micro-SIM cards like the iPad; current iPhones just use standard SIM cards.
These factors all point to the phone being the next iPhone. But Gizmodo also says the innards of the phone are the "definitive proof" of its authenticity. The components are all labeled with the Apple brand and serial numbers, but they fit together too well to just be iPhone 3GS or 3G hardware packed into a new case. The battery is also about 16 percent larger, while the screen is slightly smaller than the current iPhone. The tightly packed components also give a hint as to why there are no curves in this model: there's simply no room for wasted space.
Despite the strong evidence in favor of this being a real iPhone 4G, there will be no way to know for sure until Apple officially announces it. Even now, the leaked pictures and video have caused speculation to range from "it's just a really well done fake," all the way to "Apple intentionally leaked it to Gizmodo so they could gauge public reaction on the new design."
Either way it turns out, the truth will be stranger than fiction.