Thanks to Gizmodo, images have been surfacing about the form factor of the next-generation iPhone, with specs to go with them. I must say, looking at these images is akin to viewing the million-dollar show cars on display about a year before the production version hits the streets. While it is much easier to change something last-minute on a phone, instead of coordinating multiple factories manufacturing thousands of components for a vehicle, I think the two month (or so) window until the next iPhone is released can correlate to a year in the automobile world.
When I look at this device, a few things come to mind very quickly. First off, I wish it were an aluminum unibody design â€” essentially a shrunken iPad. I understand the radio/cellular interference this could cause, but aesthetically, it’s a personal preference.
I like the front-facing camera, love the fact that there appears to be a flash to go with the better rear-facing camera, and I really dig the slab of glass without any metal surrounding itÂ on the front screen face (floating glass? Can I copyright that?). The additional noise-cancellation microphone on the top is a greatly appreciated feature as well.
What strikes me as odd, and adds to my notion that this is a pre-production model, are the seams in the aluminum itself. Not to sound blunt, but those things don’t simply find their way into Apple products. Nor do the separate volume buttons. If one of them doubles as a camera button, so be it, but why wouldn’t it just be the “up” button? (Hold your iPhone sideways. It fits your hands when you press the volume rocker, doesn’t it?) Details like these do not slide by in Apple’s world of hyper-attention to detail.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly in my mind, is the screen size. We live in a world where 3.7″ screens have become a benchmark for almost all “halo” smartphones (Droid, Nexus One), and where HTC can throw out 4.3″ screens like nobody’s business. So then why this thing is so (relatively) small?
To quote the immortal Lester Bangs, “Here’s a theory for you to disregard. Completely.” And this theory has everything to do with the display size, among other things. Hear me out:
The prototype is a tremendous gadget that will surely turn the world on its head as soon as it hits the shelves this summer, but I don’t think this device is all there is to it.Â Apple has a tendency to surprise the world, and Steve Jobs would not allow his “One more thing…” to be fully broadcast all over the world two months in advance. (Jobs has a penchant for the dramatic. If you’ve watched his keynotes, you know he gets a kick out of introducing the most buzzed-about technology by saying, “Oh, and one more thing…”)
So here’s a theory to ponder (or disregard): If the device pictured above is authentic, and I believe it is, it may not be just “one more thing” â€” it could be one of a couple things, among them the iPhone Pro.
I think the next series of iPhones may come as a pair â€” one with a 3.5″ screen, the other somewhere around 4.0″â€“4.3″ â€” with the unit pictured above as the baby brother. To me, that’s more likely than the prototype (with smaller display) being the only version. Think about it: In today’s world of touchscreen smartphones, smaller is not better, and size truly does matter.Â Cupertino has to have noticed what’s been going on with the incredible popularity of handsets like the HD2 on T-Mobile (it’s a Windows 6.5 phone, people).Â I’m not an engineer, but it would seem logical to make the smaller version first, to make sure everything fits, then build it out from there.
The “Pro” theory would also follow with the rest of the Apple lineup, with bigger and better specs, not just for screen size and resolution, but also storage. (In the past, 40- 80- and 120-GB drives in iPods weren’t feasible for size reasons, so they had to go with 8- 16- and 32-GB. But after four years of development, this kind of storage is not out of reach.)
The next few months will be a very exciting time for all those in Apple-land, and this “industry of cool” we live in is set for even more change. While some people are still questioning whether the prototype really is the next iPhone, or if Apple succeeded in one of the greatest rope-a-dopes in the history of technology, I’ve got my eyes fixed on four little words:Â iPhone and iPhone Pro.
Can’t you hear Steve Jobs saying that in front of a captive audience?