500x_iphone_4g_midboard-1

This, according to China Ontrade, is the 4th generation iPhone midboard. Having accurately leaked part of the iPhone 3GS assembly in May 2009, weeks before Phil Schiller showed the launch device off at WWDC in June, they've gained some measure of credibility. However, this isn't May 2010 and its hard to see ever-prototyping, last-minute-camera-ditching Apple setting anything in stone (or aluminum or plastic) this early in the cycle.

iPhones get introduced in June/July, after all, according to the same Phil Schiller. That's their product cycle, and that's what Apple has done for the first three versions. Could they be planning an early surprise? Gizmodo thinks pressure from Android (technically Android hardware manufacturers like HTC and Motorola in this case, we suppose) might get them to ramp up faster. However, a great iPhone 3.2 (which we've still not seen beta nor screenshot of) could relieve pressure on the OS side.

So is it real? Perhaps, and could well represent the current state of the art of 4th generation iPhone prototyping. Is it what we'll see when the actual iPhone (insert new brand name here) ships? Eh, it's just a midboard so it's hard to get terribly excited unless/until some hardware whizzes figure out the dimensions must mean a 16:9 display, or it's 8 feet high or something...