You know that supposed “iPhone” that was found in a bar recently? While everyone was chewing the fat, making arguments for or against its authenticity, Gizmodo cracked it open and peeked inside.

And you know what? It appears that we can take the quote marks off now. According to the site, that new iPhone 4G/HD (or whatever they wind up calling it) is indeed the real thing. So ladies and gents, meet your next-generation Apple smartphone.

BREAKING NEWS The iPhone 4G (really)


The iPhone 4G (really)

iPhone 4G iPhone HD

iPhone 4G iPhone

iPhone 4G


iPhone HD 9

Images courtesy of Gizmodo. For even more pics in its full gallery of images, plus video, hit the “Via” link at the bottom.
Juicy stuff? You bet. In fact, there are some major differences between this device and the current 3GS. So let’s dive in… .

New additions and external controls

  • Front-facing vid camera
  • Improved camera on the back (with a bigger lens than the one on the 3GS)
  • Camera flash
  • microSIM, like the iPad (instead of standard SIM, like current iPhones and other GSM handsets)
  • Better display. There are no specs or details on this yet, but the “Connect to iTunes” renders at a noticeably better resolution than on the 3GS. The screen size also looks slightly smaller than the current handset.
  • Larger battery (16% bigger than 3GS), that presumably offers better battery life
  • What looks like a secondary microphone on top, next to the headphone jack (possibly for noise canceling)
  • Split circular volume buttons instead of single volume rocker
  • Metallic on/off buttons, mute switch and volume control.

New additions and external controls

New additions

External controls

The style and feel

The style and feel

  • Squarish form factor, thinner than the 3GS
  • No rounded or convex shell, but a completely flat-sided back, probably of a high-grade plastic, glass, or ceramic fabrication. (Gizmodo notes that “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.”)
  • Trimmed in metal, which borders the outside all the way around
  • Very good build quality, with a feel of a polished phone
  • At 140 grams, it’s 3 grams heavier than the 3GS
  • Internal components are miniaturized (to save space for the bigger battery?)
  • Measurements: 4.50″ x 2.31″ x 0.37″
  • Back of the phone lists XX GB

I never dug the cheap plastic feeling of the 3G or the 3GS. That actually might be why I lugged around my old 2G way longer than I should have. For someone like me, this new design is definitely welcome.

According to Gizmodo, the metal buttons, excellent build quality and better materials (that don’t feel like cheap plastic) give it a more substantial feel in the hand — more like a grown-up device, rather than a toy. The glossy front and back doesn’t add to the slippage factor either, and the thinner profile makes it more pocketable.

Is this for real??

The Giz team are sold on the authenticity of this. Before the handset was remote wiped, the finder of the phone powered it up and confirmed it was running the next version of the software (iPhone 4.0).

Post-wipe, Giz hooked the unit up to a computer, and it was recognized as an iPhone. Not just that, but that Mac’s OSX System Profiler reported it as an iPhone in restore mode. This is normal when you wipe an iPhone and hook it up. But when the CPID and CPRV product IDs came up, those numbers were different from any iPhone to date.

Restoring the software wasn’t possible, though. There’s no firmware available for this yet. But of course not; it’s an unreleased phone. This, actually, is being taken as yet more proof. Then the tech surgeons disassembled it and found authentic parts inside. To reiterate, they found genuine Apple-branded components inside this functioning phone.

The shape of the parts were so perfectly fitted, it seemed tailor-made for this specific body, and not just the guts of a 3G or 3GS smushed inside. In fact, the parts themselves were smaller, to allow room for a larger battery and slimmer form factor simultaneously.

The appearance of a microSim card tray is also interesting. There are no mobile phones in existence in the U.S. that use these. But consider this: The iPad Wifi+3G model does. Now that’s extremely compelling evidence.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, a widely acknowledged Apple insider, has corroborated that Cupertino has indeed lost a prototype. And, he says, it wants it back.

The microSim card tray
The microSim card tray

The next-gen handset was found disguised in a good quality iPhone 3GS shell case
The next-gen handset was found disguised in a good quality iPhone 3GS shell/case

All I can say is, “Whoa…”

This is so different than the previous iterations, I’m honestly in a little shock. And by all accounts, this seems like a really polished, well-made product. But even so, let’s remember one thing: Apple has been known to make tweaks to its devices at the 11th hour. So what we’re seeing here may not be what actually launches in a few months.

For the sake of argument, let’s say this really is the design that Cupertino has in mind for us. Well it calls up a lot of questions, no? First, what’s with this radical new form factor?

It makes sense that if the parts are so miniaturized and tightly packed in, then there’s really no room for rounded curves, as Gizmodo says. But I also think Apple was looking for a new direction.

Think about it historically: Personal computers were once all beige and bland. Then the iMacs came out in fruity colors, rounded backs and all-in-one monitor/hard drive combos. Later, Jobs stripped all the color completely with his new generation of desktops and laptops, and went with all white. Then he went to the opposite extreme with black and metal.

When it comes to aesthetics, Apple tends to take small steps in new product evolution for a while, then leaps headlong into the extreme opposite direction. Curves have been the design concept of the iPhone for the last couple of years. The polar opposite is flat and square, no?

It’s also possible Apple that has been doing a little research on the competition. What seems to be trending fairly high are flat, squared off shapes, like that of the Moto Droid, the HTC EVO 4G, and the HD2. Meanwhile, marketshare for rounder, curvier phones — like the Palm Pre — has been waning.

Aside from the shape, the other very noticeable difference are the seams. I have no guesses when it comes to that one. It’s a big surprise, given Apple’s still current ethos of unibody design. Could there be a removable battery possibly be on tap? I’d be shocked, then again I never thought I’d see a form factor like this come out of Cupertino, so it’s anyone’s guess.

The short summary list of wants right now that Apple appears to have addressed are multitasking, unified email inbox, multiple Exchange accounts (via iPhone 4.0 OS), and now a front-facing vid cam, camera flash, higher res display, and better battery life.

As for the split volume buttons, there’s a theory that they are replacing the single volume rocker to allow some sort of dual-action hardware button for a camera, a wish list item for some users.

As far as I’m concerned, this changes everything. Love it or hate it, Apple’s created a vision of something here that’s surprising. In truth, I’m not sure what to expect next.

The only thing I’m certain of is that we’re not getting Adobe Flash support in this iteration. (Although I would love to eat my words.) But I think almost everything else is up for grabs.

So how does this hit you? Are you digging the new design? Or do you hate it? Weigh in below.

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