Apple had safer iPhone G4 prototypes incase iPhone HD was delayed?

Another page to be filed in our increasingly full "things analysts say which may or may not be so" drawer says Apple wasn't sure whether or not the N90 "iPhone HD" prototype would be ready to launch and so had a safer, more iPhone 3GS-like N91 in the wings:

On a side note, Apple initiated the iPhone 4G project at the end of 2008. According to our sources, Apple actually has another product codenamed N91 for the project, which offers less change from previous iPhones compared with the N90. It's a parallel product to back up the N90 in case there are major delays due to significant modifications in casing, display resolution, digital camera support and so forth.

That resolution being the 960x640 we've heard rumored for a while, which is a magic number exactly twice vertical and horizontal to the current 480x320 iPhone and iPod touch resolution at pretty much the same physical size. That means existing apps will look virtually identical while new apps look even sharper -- no iPad-style chunky double fuzzies here. Likewise, if Apple wanted to introduce a larger, HTC HD2 or Incredible sized display later, that pixel density would still look great and still mean no work, no fracture for developers.

Other tidbits include:

  • No AMOLED as they cost 3x as much and suppliers simply couldn't produce enough to meet the unit numbers Apple sells.
  • Apple A4 based on ARM Cortex A8 as the A9 won't be ready until the end of the year, after the iPhone launch.
  • Probably 512MB of RAM, though Apple has requested tests on both 256 and 512. (Dear Apple, we'd really like 512 please).

Again, we never know how reliable any of this will turn out to be, b

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple had safer iPhone G4 prototypes incase iPhone HD was delayed?

54 Comments

A lot of people clicking onto TiPB should care ;) chalk me up as one that does!
Analysts, thriving on speculation since as long as I can remember. Infact, it's they who create alot of the speculation.

Maybe there are still some surprises left for Steve Jobs to unleash month.
Android is definately catching up and have some excellent phones now. The competition is great and hopefully will push Apple.
Even seeing what Android offered Jobs still says they are not catching Apple. Hopefully that's because he still has a trick or two up his sleeve for WWDC and not because he is becoming Steve Ballmer.

i care much.. my business require me to have the bestest and i do. i many many usd for the best. if you have new iphone i buy from you today. i am behind on work and need help. any good apps. i like tipb and rene does great job. he likes apple and so do i. we are friends.

Whats is the problem with apple. Did they really expect to get away with another 3g/3gs look alike. The 3gs was a joke of an upgrade considering what apple can do. Come on apple get it together and blow android away.

@ Brian Hickey, not to put just you on the spot bc i know many people have said it on many of these blog sites in reference to android and apple... but how is Android still catching up?? in my eyes, theyve blown apple out of the water already. i keep hearing people say "android is catching up".
How exactly is Apple SOOOO far ahead of the game? Are we talking marketshare, a more popular household name and or innovation? I'll give them 2 out of 3 but in all reality the latter is the only one that matters. HTC hardware wise has beaten apple to the punch and the Android OS is a far better OS than Apple (arguably).

i take many english classes as this is my 14 language. i do very well but typing is not so easy. i sorry i make you sad. i come here to read and learn many new things. i make many usd every year but that does not help my engish. i try, and get better. can you help? i hire you and you fly with me and teach while i work? write me.

Why do Android fanboys insist on making everything an iPhone/Droid debate? If you guys like your phone so much, great, go enjoy it and stop your trolling. Obviously people that purposely log in to theiphoneblog.com care about iPhones and other apple products so I really don't understand the crusade to turn the world to Droid.
To the topic at hand, I believe apple has a number of contingency plans in place. We, the iPhone consumers expect a new phone to be announced in June so to a certain degree, Apple feels bound to that. IMHO, the 3GS was a contingency plan phone. They wanted to do more, couldn't do it in time so they did an incremental upgrade. I think the iPhone G4/HD is going to be amazing because they had 2 years of work on it as opposed to one.
I'm extremely excited for the announcement and release. Can't wait till June 7th!

SoCo_Jon: Android software is poor compared to iPhone OS. Feature vs Feature - your right. But the user experience is still years ahead.

Could this second iPhone prototype be one that Apple will use on Verizon?
What this will do is still give AT&T the edge of having a new phone (HD/4G) but all Apple needs to do is replace the cellular chip in the 3GS design for a Verizon iPhone. .
I'm an AT&T supporter and could care less for a Verizon iPhone but it seems possible.

we should be asking for 1GB of RAM on a phone? really?
Why is it that my 3G(S) with 256MB of RAM runs as fast as those with 512MB or more RAM?
It's about the software, you can say what you want about iPhone OS, but in terms of it's optimization of hardware, it's way ahead of the competition. When it gets to the point of phones needing 1GB of RAM, something is terribly wrong.

@ frog--> the user experience is better how?? bc the UI on the iphone is bland and plain? a bunch of square icons make it a better user experience? give me a break.
also, i hate trolls...lets beat em up!! where are they?? haha
i'll say this much. there are trolls on all of these blog sites. a reason you might find trolls on an iphone blog is bc your blog site of choice chooses to post comparison articles and articles about competitor companies.

I bet you this is only to hyper up the moment. Apple's trying to cover up what happen with their lost phone.... Don't worry about it. It will happen.. Time will only tell...

I just REALLY HOPE Apple introduces something better than this piece of crap Gizmodo bought and reviewed. I mean, it's nice? but c'mon. Really? The 3G/3GS look much more state of the art than this thin brick.

Makes sense. Every Android phone right now is backed up by demand of OLED. I think AMOLED/OLED is something Apple should definitely invest in, but I do think it is wise for them to wait for supply to be more abundant.

SoCo_Jon Stop the Android trolling please, this is an iPhone blog. but I'm gonna feed you regardless. The UI is better on the iPhone because everyone I know who has every picked one up knows how it works. My mother on the other hand, struggles with the Android phone I suggested she get as upgrade. What does this icon mean? How do i do this? etc.
iPhone O.S beats the Android OS she's using hands down. Which is in itself a problem. The OS shes using... the phones a month old, not running the latest Android software till at least 4th quarter...
Thats a problem iPhone OS doesn't have.

I think we need at least 1G due to the 4.0 upgrade. More ram is always better. It is not just 4.0 but future updates.

512 mb I beleive would draw too much current to keep tr battery charged at a decent level, the ram is a huge power drain on this system.

@ Maniacfive--> im not an android troll. i dont have an android device or care that your mother has cant use her android device. its not rocket surgery. icons are labeled and if you dont know what it is, you simply touch it to find out what it is, what it does and what its there for...just like on an iphone. tell her to use a bit of common sense. i think the fact that its feature packed may have some people confused. im a blackberry owner and content knowing that android is a superior OS. far more superior to blackberry and in fact superior to iphone OS.
truth is, apple stopped innovating in 2007 (with the iphone platform).

Cheers soco_John these apple fanboys r a joke...mms inovation, video recording on da 3gs inovation, copy n paste, inovation, multitasking inovation, flash for photos inovation, tether reqd for syncing?? Seriously apple? Look at what google just came out with froyo over the air apps, music syncing. Dat my friends is inovation! I luv my jb 3gs but I'm getting restless with these so called inovation upgrades!!

These comments suck. It doesn't matter what us tech nerd wannabes say, every year the iPhone comes out and people crap their pants over it.

Jobs will release a phone that looks like the old iphone because he is pissed by the leak of his new phone and so won't release it till before christmas

We are going to release the iPhone 3GS 2.0, it's the same exact phone with a software update...and you idiot sheep will buy it because...well...your idiots. Lol

Ok I never post but thought I would throw in my 2 cents, first the iPhone 3GS was codenamed n88, and when devs were going through the iPhone sdk 3.2 they found an iPhone codenamed n89.. Now I'm assuming the n89 is the one they are talking about as the fallback, and isnt it suspicious that after all these years this is the only huge leak from apple like a monstrosity compared to other leaks, and during a time when a new android phoneiscoming out almost every other week, tempting iPhone owners to switch, it was time to let all them know that this year wont be such a big let downline last year (I stills bought one though) but that this year there will be major hardware changes and at least make the would be switchers hold off until wwdc, now since the leaked iPhone is codenamed n90 and each year the number goes up we can now assume that if the n90 is infect an intentional leak that the n91 is the actual iPhone to be released, so my assumption is they made the n90 to leak it made it the same size as the 3G (a little smaller) so they could "disguise" it as the current model and put enough features on it to make us drool long enough to wait till wwdc, so what can we expect from the n91 I imagine it will look similar maybe a little different but the screen size will be more comparable to the htc hd2 or the droid incredible, and it will have a min of 512 mb ram to compete with the 1ghz in androids, plus the more amazing features they weren't ready to let us see, they just wanted us to know that big changes are coming and personally I cant wait.

oh my god. seriously, if I hear one more "iPhone to verizon" bit I'm going to snap. it's not happening people! at least not until the exclusivity contract with AT&T ends in 2012. let's just stop it now, k?

Jared - You make me laugh! It was not a planned leak from Apple. Please try and understand that. I know thats what you want the world to think, but it isn't so. I wish these Google Android Fan-boys/Apple Haters would just drop it already.
Let me some it up:
It wasn't a planned leak, Verizon will not get the new iPhone or any iPhone until 2012 and no matter what the Android does with its hardware or software it will always be far behind the Apple iPhone. Why you ask? Because Google is not Apple and Apple will always have the edge.

The Register has a story where they speculate that the reason Apple swore out a complaint claiming that the lost/stolen phone was immensely Damaging to Apple was that N90 was NOT ready, but because of the leak they now have no choice but to go with it instead of N91.
This may mean it is less than perfect OR they may have to delay the actual hardware release.
Of course they have nothing but speculation to go on. It's all based on the theory that Apple lawyers are not Katy Cotten, and would not make the immensely damaging claim before a judge if the only damage was a couple of months.
As if lawyers....

I am a big Apple and iPhone fan. From 2G to 3GS, and I got all of them. But come on it is not 19th century, brand loyality is stupidity. I got my iPad and I love it but I never give away my Toshiba laptop. iPad is fun, Toshiba laptop is business. The mobile phone is business for me too. I have all my iPhone jailbreak from the beginning so all these new features most of them I have already in my iPhone 3GS. But Android 2.2 and HTC mobile quality in something else and it is not unnoticeable. You can not just ignore it. HTC EVO and Android 2.2 is a piece of performance, quality and advanced mobile technology. Even I love Apples products but I am not putting me head in the sand, if Apple does not come with a good quality and business driven phone this time I will switch to the beauty (=HTC + Android).

You know, before I had an iPhone I was a Treō user. The treo 650, 700, 755p...i loved the phone. I loved the phone some much infact that I would read and post on mytreo.net faithfully. Then I got an iPhone. There was no longer a need to post on a treo website when I didn't have that device...other than helping lost users.
What I'm trying to say is...this is "The iPhone Blog". Why are people who don't have the device or never owned the device, commenting on said device. Of you don't like the iPhone...then don't come to a blog designed to talk about all things iPhone. I'm mean...#imjustsaying

@Soco John. I don't believe you have an android device or an iPhone. I do believe that you wish you had an iPhone, but your going to be stuck with a droid when your mom's family plan is elligable for upgrade, and so you feel the need to defend it.

It's not a new tactic for Apple. The eMac was the safer upgrade for the iMac when the iMac was going with an LCD screen for the fist time. The desklamp-style construction was too risky to bet on, so they developed the eMac in parallel. What is neat is that we saw the eMac at all.
Could this "safer" design still see the light of day as a discount version, used in the same way the 8gb 3G is today?

@ Rob...guessing by what you posted, your maturity level tells me youre about 18 on your mothers family plan.

Do lareyws have an interest in a coup d'etat or when the feds commit crimes against humanity? Where do you go when you're psychologically tortured for 3 and half years and your family is forced to sign NSLs and conduct Psy-ops experiments on you? How can I be denied a lawsuit or to speak with an attorney?

Many thanks for this very useful tip. With only 1 year of Mac experience, I struggled a bit with applying it, so I've added 2 couple of pointers here for others with limited Mac experience ...