Remember last year, when a little-known company named Uniea announced new iPod nano cases—with correct physical dimensions—before the new iPod nano was ever shown? As we mentioned shortly afterwards, readers were quick to slam Uniea and its mock-ups, but the cases proved perfect fits when the new nano was released. Now, there are all sorts of friend-of-a-friend stories swirling around about the second-generation iPhone, and perhaps not surprisingly, they contradict one another. Yesterday, a Taiwanese newspaper claimed Hon Hai/Foxconn was making an iPhone with a 2.8” screen, which would present certain major interface challenges given the way the current iPhone works, and might well be a “mini” iPhone rather than a full sequel to the current model. Additionally, like you, we’ve heard about another model that is supposedly coming soon, and sounds more like a true next-generation iPhone. Companies overseas have already started working on products for this one, which is basically the same size as the current iPhone, but has slightly different curves, coloration, and materials. Specs for either or both of these models could be nothing more than disinformation put out to burn developers, but they could also be correct. In any case, here are the details they’re working from.

Developers believe that the “glossy black plastic iPhone” details that have been circulating are partially accurate. When you first hear the word “plastic,” you tend to think “cheap,” but the premise here appears to be to approximate the look of metal through automobile-style gloss, while eliminating the presence of matte plastics and metal found in the original iPhone. The rear shell becomes larger, with the hard aluminum casing disappearing entirely, but a silver metallic bezel remains on the front—just much thinner than before. Once flat on both the back and front, the enclosure now is tapered like a MacBook Air, thicker at the center than at the sides. From the side, top, or bottom, the curves and proportions look more Blackberry than iPhone, but from the front, the new model looks basically unchanged from its predecessor. Perforated bottom speaker and microphone grilles have been transformed into larger shapes alongside the Dock Connector, as well.

While the screen size stays the same in this model—3.5” diagonal, with 3” height and 2” width, some currently unexplained changes are made around the ear speaker. On iPhone, a proximity sensor and ambient light sensor sat above this speaker; the new version has what appear to be three separate sensors, or two sensors and a tiny second camera—the original camera stays where it was. Though it would be great to picture this new dot as a video iChat-ready camera location, it’s entirely possible that this is nothing more than a rearrangement of the proximity sensor array. And colors? Glossy black or white backs are apparently locks, with a red version possible, too. Each would have the same silver bezel on front, and substantially black material surrounding the screen.

Of course, only Apple and its key partners know if any of this is correct, but some companies are assuming that it is. It’ll be interesting to see whether they’re right, and new cases begin to appear immediately after iPhone’s launch, or whether a multi-month delay is in store.