Likely iPhone 4G prototype found, disassembled

A supposed fourth-generation iPhone has been found in the wild, and has since been photographed and disassembled. Gizmodo reports that the unit was found in a bar in Redwood City, CA, in a case that made it appear to be an iPhone 3G or 3GS. While it will display a connect to iTunes screen, and is recognized by Xcode and iTunes as an iPhone — with different product identifiers than any current iPhone model — it appears the device was remotely wiped by Apple prior to Gizmodo receiving the unit, and since there is no build of the iPhone OS publicly available for this model, it is currently non-functional. The unit features a drastically different design than current iPhone models, with a thinner body, rounded corners, nearly flat aluminum sides, and a flat back plate that appears to be made of either glass or ceramic.

Notable features include a front-facing camera, a larger rear camera lens with flash, a micro-SIM slot, now mounted on the side, what appears to be a secondary microphone near the headphone jack, possibly for noise cancellation, individual volume up/down buttons, a slightly smaller, but seemingly higher resolution screen than the iPhone 3GS, and a 16% larger battery. Upon disassembly, Apple-labeled internal components were found, as well as a much smaller logic board. While it is possible that this will be the final design of the fourth-generation iPhone, it is also possible that this is simply a prototype unit; in any case, many of the new features and the overall design are expected to carry over to the final device.

  1. This looks more like a red herring than the real deal. “Found in a bar?” That’s a bit suspicious. Even more so is the rather non-Apple like design, with the flattened sides and large panel gaps. If anything, this looks like a bad copy-cat design of an iPhone 3GS from China.

  2. yeah, I agree…I find the seams to be unlikely, though macrumors posted a comment that it looks like the seams are for a user-replacable battery, and they note a pin-to-release slot. pretty slick if true.

  3. Looks real enough to me – it’s not as though the old design was universally loved. If you read the article you can see that it really is new from inside out…and as for how it was “lost” – people lose things…people sometimes lose important things. this is nto the plans to nuclear bombs – it’s just a phone…a phone i want lol

  4. anyone who got the 3G and held of getting the 3GS is in a great position for a free upgrade, also im glad i held off on getting an iphone is this is the next one

  5. I really feel sorry for the guy who has had their phone STOLEN and taken apart. Was any attempt made to return the phone to its rightful owner. As a person who has had a lost phone stolen and used by another person, I hope that the thief and perhaps Gizmodo are charged with theft.

  6. To those who are doubters of the authenticity of this phone.

    Did you check out the gizmodo post and see the video and pictures of internal parts labeled Apple?

    This would be incredibly hard to fake.

    Yes the case or seams may be that of a prototype device, but overall it appears real!

  7. If they’ve finally abandoned the weird curved back chasis, that alone earns a thumbs up from me. This looks so much better than anything Apple has made in a long time – slick AND practical, who’d a thunk it?

    If the screen is higher res, the battery bigger, and most of this carries over to the touch line, this summer and fall is going to be very good for AAPL.

    With the changes to iPhone OS 4 finally (hopefully) bringing the iPod app up to snuff with the clickwheel iPods (really? summer-fall 2010 just to get the same playlist folders that clickwheel iPods got in 2007?), it makes me wonder if we’re about to see a big reduction in the variety of iPods, as in bye-bye to clickwheel designs…

  8. I like the new looking, not so much on the three seams but maybe that will change. I am interested to here what ilounge’s take is on the whole thing. any opinions guys maybe a back stage article.



  9. Not as hard to fake as one might think, but the design seems to follow some of the iPad bits, sans the metal buttons.
    We’ll see soon enough, but yes, I’d not want to be the guy/gal that lost this if true.
    Someone’s gonna get beat with a Birkenstock over this!

  10. I was never really fond of the current iPhone look with the rounded plastic back. I prefer the metallic back from the first-gen iPhone.

    This thing sounds like the real deal, based on what’s expected of the next-gen iPhone. I don’t think it’s really that dubious that it was at a bar. After all, if it’s got a noise-reducing microphone, where else is a better place to give it a whirl?

    Now how you could possibly lose it is really beyond me, as how it made its way into Gizmodo’s hands.

    If this is the next iPhone, I’ll be very happy to pony up the bucks for it!

  11. The NY Times is claiming this is “real.” So it’s either planted disinformation from Apple – it’s still hard to believe an Apple employee “lost” an iPhone prototype. Or, said employee is disgruntled.

  12. I’d love an iPod that looks like that, I don’t really care much for phones.

    Although it is possible that this prototype was found in a bar like they claim, I can’t help but think that it’s not true and that someone stole it or something. Specially since it ended up on Gizmodo’s hands, of all places. It just sounds fishy.

    Would’ve been awesome if it ended up on iLounge’s hands though!

  13. @16 – Disinformation makes no sense, why would you want to mislead people that your upcoming phone was going to rock? Other than the minority of people in love with the chromed steel bezel and curved back above actual features, who is going to say this isn’t a massive leap forward?

    It’s got the forward camera for video chat. It’s got a much improved screen. It’s got a larger battery (which might even possibly be user swappable or at least replaceable without destroying the warranty). It’s style is like a mini iPad. It’s got nicer buttons. And so on and so on.

    Plus, now that we know Apple requested it back from Gizmodo and received it, there’s no doubt it was an Apple product.

    Disinformation would only make sense if they plan for the final one to be even better, but since it’s already so far ahead of current iPhone and touch products, that still makes next to zero sense due to the lost sales Apple is going to see in the upcoming months from people waiting for the improved products this summer and fall.

  14. Looks to have some Microsoft design hues, I like the 3GS with the titanium case that some guy did on his own better.

  15. The battery had to be user removable because of the laws in the EU which say that u need to remove the battery when u thow the mobile phone in the trash.

  16. Prototype? Yep. A PRELIMINARY model.

    The guts may be real, but I bet the housing is meant for easily swapping different internal parts with ease; display, motherboard, etc.. Of course, it being from Apple, it looks better than 99% of other real phones on the market.

    I seriously doubt that Apple would have let ANYONE take the real 4G iPhone off the Apple campus before it’s official release.

    Seriously (again), even after we all knew what the iPad looks like, Apple forced developers to take extreme measures to assure that no one got a peek at the real thing until the official April 3d launch date.

  17. This is much more practical and durable than the current version. I also prefer the design. More metal!

    This is likely to be the real thing – check out the detailed analysis of the device.

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