Was Apple's next iPhone, perhaps the most talked-about device on the planet, made by one of the most secretive companies on Earth, left in a bar in Redwood City, Calif.?
That's what technology Web site Gizmodo says in sharing photos and details of a device it says is the new iPhone, likely to be announced in June by Apple, which last week shared features of the iPhone's new operating system. 4.0. Since the first iPhone was released in June 2007, the month has become known as iPhone month for subsequent new models from Apple.
Gizmodo editor Jason Chen said on the site that the iPhone "was found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS," the current iPhone model. "We got it. We disassembled it. It's the real thing, and here are all the details ... While Apple may tinker with the final packaging and design of the final phone, it's clear that the features in this lost-and-found next-generation iPhone are drastically new and drastically different from what came before."
Apple, contacted for comment, has not yet responded. Redwood City is about 20 miles north of Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
"We're as skeptical — if not more — than all of you," Chen said on the site. "We get false tips all the time. 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."
Chen also noted that technology blogger and "Apple-connected John Gruber ... says that Apple has indeed lost a prototype iPhone and they want it back."
However, Gruber said on his blog, Daring Fireball, "I did not use the word 'lost.' It is my understanding that Apple considers this unit stolen, not lost."
Gizmodo says the device in its possession is slightly heavier than the current iPhone, with a "more squared off" look and has a "16 percent larger battery." The back of the device "is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through," that there is an "aluminum border going completely around the outside" of the phone, and that the screen is "slightly smaller than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
"Internal components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery," the Web site said. The phone also has a front-facing video chat camera, and "improved" camera with a larger lens on the back of the device than the iPhone 3GS and with camera flash, an improved display, and a micro-SIM card instead of standard-sized SIM card, according to Gizmodo.
"The prototypes seem to line up with many rumors about the next iPhone and their internals are reported to be authentic," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group research firm.
"However, a prototype Apple device has never been exposed this way, and the company has issued cease-and-desist orders for less tangible reports on future products, whereas we haven't seen any action from the company yet on this one."