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The New iPhone Leaks

April 20, 2010

Forgive us for not posting for awhile. We think that it’s been a slow news time but then we found this:

A guy doing a little field testing for the new iPhone that will be released in a few months, happened to lose it in a bar, and now we know a lot about the new iPhone.

How to lose the New iPhone:

Gray Powell—a North Carolina State University 2006 graduate and talented amateur photographer—is an Apple Software Engineer working on the iPhone Baseband Software, the little program that enables the iPhone to make calls. A dream job for a talented engineer like Powell, an Apple fan who always wanted to meet Steve Jobs.

On the night of March 18, he was enjoying the fine imported ales at Gourmet Haus Staudt, a nice German beer garden in Redwood City, California. He was happy. [UPDATED] After all, it was his birthday. He was turning 27 that very same day, and he was celebrating. The place was great. The beer was excellent. “I underestimated how good German beer is,” he typed into the next-generation iPhone he was testing on the field, cleverly disguised as an iPhone 3GS. It was his last Facebook update from the secret iPhone. It was the last time he ever saw the iPhone, right before he abandoned it on bar stool, leaving to go home.

Until now, Apple’s legendary security has always worked perfectly. Perhaps there was a blurry factory photo here, or some last-minute information strategically whispered to some friendly media there. But when it comes to the big stuff, everything is airtight. At their Cupertino campus, any gadget or computer that is worth protecting is behind armored doors, with security locks with codes that change every few minutes. Prototypes are bolted to desks. Hidden in these labs, hardware, software and industrial-design elves toil separately on the same devices, without really having the complete picture of the final product.

And hidden in every corner, the Apple secret police, a team of people with a single mission: To make sure nobody speaks. And if there’s a leak, hunt down the traitor, and escort him out of the building. Using lockdowns and other fear tactics, these men in black are the last line of defense against any sneaky eyes. The Gran Jefe Steve trusts them to avoid Apple’s worst nightmare: The leak of a strategic product that could cost them millions of dollars in free marketing promotion. One that would make them lose control of the product news cycle.

The person who eventually ended up with the lost iPhone was sitting next to Powell. He was drinking with a friend too. He noticed Powell on the stool next to him but didn’t think twice about him at the time. Not until Powell had already left the bar, and a random really drunk guy—who’d been sitting on the other side of Powell—returned from the bathroom to his own stool.

The Random Really Drunk Guy pointed at the iPhone sitting on the stool, the precious prototype left by the young Apple engineer.

“Hey man, is that your iPhone?” asked Random Really Drunk Guy.

“Hmmm, what?” replied the person who ended up with the iPhone. “No, no, it isn’t mine.”

“Ooooh, I guess it’s your friend’s then,” referring to a friend who at the time was in the bathroom. “Here, take it,” said the Random Really Drunk Guy, handing it to him. “You don’t want to lose it.” After that, the Random Really Drunk Guy also left the bar.

The person who ended up with the iPhone asked around, but nobody claimed it. He thought about that young guy sitting next to him, so he and his friend stayed there for some time, waiting. Powell never came back.

During that time, he played with it. It seemed like a normal iPhone. “I thought it was just an iPhone 3GS,” he told me in a telephone interview. “It just looked like one. I tried the camera, but it crashed three times.” The iPhone didn’t seem to have any special features, just two bar codes stuck on its back: 8800601pex1 and N90_DVT_GE4X_0493. Next to the volume keys there was another sticker: iPhone SWE-L200221. Apart from that, just six pages of applications.

The Details about the New iPhone (Watch videos and see pictures here):

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)
• 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

The screen
While we couldn’t get it past the connect to iTunes screen for the reasons listed earlier, the USB cable on that screen was so high quality that it was impossible to discern individual pixels. We can’t tell you the exact resolution of this next-generation iPhone, but it’s much higher than the current iPhone 3GS.

The operating system
According to the person who found it, this iPhone was running iPhone OS 4.0 before the iPhone 4.0 announcement. The person was able to play with it and see the iPhone 4.0 features. Then, Apple remotely killed the phone before we got access to it. We were unable to restore because each firmware is device specific—3GS firmware only loads on 3GS devices—and the there are no firmwares available for this unreleased phone. Which is another clue to its authenticity.

The New iPhone looks pretty cool. I was planning on getting one and was very excited to see what the new one would look like. This is like the first sneak teaser preview for a really awesome movie.  I’m more excited now!

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One comment

  1. This story shows aggain the ability of men to forget everything by drinking a lot of beer. But I guess I wouldn’t drink so much if I had an Iphone prototype with me. I think Gary just couldn’t live without beer:-).



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