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Posted by on Apr 19, 2010 in Science & Technology | 0 comments

Gizmodo’s Got Apple’s Next iPhone

They say:

It was found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS. We got it. We disassembled it. It’s the real thing, and here are all the details.

Whispers have it that Nick Denton paid $10k. [LATER: It turns out it was $5k) And he’s not shy, promising the backstory is a corker. The highlights (video):

What’s new
• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)iPhone4g.jpg
• Improved display. It’s unclear if it’s the 960×640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the “Connect to iTunes” screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

What’s changed
• The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through. Tapping on the back makes a more hollow and higher pitched sound compared to tapping on the glass on the front/screen, but that could just be the orientation of components inside making for a different sound
• An aluminum border going completely around the outside
• Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
• Everything is more squared off
• 3 grams heavier
• 16% Larger battery
• Internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery

Is it real? Mobile Crunch’s Greg Kumparak:

it’s pretty much undeniable: Apple made this. Giz ripped the backing off the handset for a peek inside. I say this as someone who has disassembled one too many iPhones for their own good: that.. that is very much Apple’s work. From the shape of the clips to the types of connectors used, it’s all too familiar. Faking the outside of a phone to look like an Apple product would require man-power and cash money far beyond most people’s reach; faking the inside seems nigh impossible.

A letdown? Slate’s Farhad Manjoo:

The iPhone has reached the limits of industrial design. The first iPhone was a breakthrough because it replaced nearly every physical button with a touch-screen. It didn’t conform to any standard notion of what a phone should look like—which, of course, is a hallmark of thrilling design. Since then, though, the iPhone’s looks haven’t thrilled…In a way, this is a credit to the company’s original vision—the first iPhone was so perfectly realized that changing it would ruin what makes it so great. The touch-screen is a fixed element of its design; for at least the next decade, you can expect the front of every new model to be dominated by a flat sheet of glass, the same as on every previous model. The iPhone’s overall shape is also set in stone. Make the device any bigger, smaller, longer, or wider, and it wouldn’t fit as well in your hand and your pocket. What’s left to tinker with? Not very much.

The Valley wonders, So, Which Apple Employee Is Getting Fired For Losing The New iPhone In A Bar?

[T]here’s no doubt Apple’s aggressive legal department will be all over this one. (The company considers it “stolen,” plugged-in Daring Fireball writer John Gruber says.)

But Apple’s HR department surely isn’t far behind, and someone could easily get fired for losing a prototype like this.

It will be interesting to see how Apple handles this.

LATER: Gizmodo got a letter from Apple. Discussion at Techmeme. Is this the corker backstory? Still more discussion via Techmeme.

Continue the conversation @jwindish #TMVcomments, at my Public Notebook where comments are open, or email me at joe-AT-joewindish-DOT-com.