No, this isn't the iPhone 4G but could it be an iPhone HD prototype?

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Engadget has some pictures of up of what's purporting to be an iPhone 4G (which it can't be because there aren't any GSM 4G networks for it to run on), but could it be an iPhone HD (or whatever the iPhone G4 ends up being called) prototype of some sorts?

We've heard that Apple keeps prototypes in the basement, bolted to tables, but if someone was testing radio reception or otherwise had to get some on-the-go diagnostics... Still, given how losing this thing would no doubt be grounds for immediate, painful eradication by Steve Jobs' omega beams, we just can't see anyone at Apple letting it out of their sight.

Engadget says the guy who "found" it in a San Jose bar, inside an iPhone 3G case, is looking to get cash in exchange for hands on time, but that they're working on more details.

Update: And the link to some TwitPics supposedly from a Chinese search posted on Feb 20.

What do you think, real, fake, or really fake?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Rene Ritchie

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

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No, this isn't the iPhone 4G but could it be an iPhone HD prototype?

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Let me be the first to say I think that's a Chinese knockoff. And if it isn't, wow, I sure don't want to be the person who lost it!

Super duper fake. And so is everything else with regards to Apple "leaks". They keep a TIGHT guard on leaks so while it's fun to speculate, that's about it.
I cant wait for the next gen iPhone, I'll get one on the first day it hits the streets.

Judging from the shape of the device, how could it fit in a 3g case? It looks interesting, but I'm not buying this story.

I believe this could be real. I'm interested to see what else Engadget will say about it. I think it looks beautiful, and I think the seams might be a mechanism to remove the battery.

Could be an iphone faceplate shooped onto some other device. Whats the metadata say in the original pic?

Shopped. If you put it in photoshop and ramp up the contrast you can easily see a ghost contour from pasted image.

@Vnes:
The FCC ID and IC ID are clues that this really could be real.
Apple has acquired some kind of rights to keep the clearing of this device secret, and also they acquired the rights to mask the FCC IDs on the physical back of the device. Not impossible and from what you CAN see of the IDs, they resemble the 3GS's FCC and IC IDs but are slightly different... Seems realistic.
If this is a fake, it's very very VERY well done.

@Adam
I still think this is fake. maybe like @Mike Cane said "I think that’s a Chinese knockoff."

As a side note, I don't think engadget clAiming iPhone 4G means they are claiming a 4G compatible iPhone. Everyone knows the state about GSM networks. Engadget calling it iPhone 4G only means they are calling it the 4th gen (4G) iPhone

I think it looks good. I'm sure it's just as thin as the 3G/s, it just looks thicker without the curved backing a la the original iPhone. It seems real to me, I can see how they would hide that inside of a case because the front glass piece and home button look the same. If it's real, Lord help the guy or gal who lost it!

I have a hard time believing that's a Apple design, the rim around it doesn't look like something Apple would do. That's not a work of art, Apple is slick with smooth lines. I sure hope not that's not a iPhone.

Don't worry Brian it's not. That thing reeks of POS all over it. If anyone thinks that looks like something apple would produce you should get your head checked!!

If it's real I think the guts are real and the outside is just a cover for function purposes. Doesn't look like an apple design. If it was in a case then maybe the cause was made to make it look like a 3gs. Whoever had this really messed up bad. Big daddy jobs is gonna fry this person career. Hello career at mcdonalds

Well, after seeing those twitpics, I'd say this thing exists. That doesn't mean apple made it though.

@reneritchie umm... Engadget didn't mean 4G as the new network standard. They meant 4G as in 4th gen. Curious you didn't know this and kind of stepped on their tows with this post.

That thing is UGLY! IF there was not ANY iPhone at all, I could see this as maybe a first gen version. It's so bulky looking, very boxy, very un-Apple-like. Sure it looks like the front of an iPhone, but the rest of it looks too un-svelte-like for an Apple product in 2010. Look at the current iMacs compared to the G5 iMacs. G5=boxy 2010 iMacs=smooth, rounded, thin.

If this thing was real they would have it on the lockscreen, this is just a ripoff. but if I am wrong and it turns out to be real that's 1 ugly iPhone!

If someone was really testing out a prototype, you know for a FACT Steve would only allow it to go to a trusting person. AND when that person left the bar, they would've made sure it was with them. If it was me, I'd be checking my pocket every few minutes just to make sure it was in there. I'm saying it's a Chinese knock off. You know how many of those things there are out there?

Uh... Why couldn't this be 4G and for sprint? Is there something in this photo that makes that impossible? Or are you just assuming that the next iphone will be GSM because the current ones are?
personally i hope it's not as it doesn't seem to measure up to the EVO without a flash or hdmi.

Fakity fake fake.
All KIRFS have the fake FCC imprints. That screams fake. No way Apple would put a fake FCC label on it.
Plus, in the two different photographs of the supposedly same phone, The apple logo is present, then it's changed to a Pokeball. Seriously. Look at the original engadget post.
It just screams KIRF. And it looks like the HTC HD2. HD2 iPhone KIRF. Fakity fakes.
Steve is cracking up, reading this story on his new 4th Gen iPhone HD.

Compare it to the ipad side shots don't look too diff I use to b on crackberryi remember the first storm2 prototype kinda similer to the tour all they really changed was the final buttons and turns on the corner this is deff real tho I put the house on it just change the buttons and some little features it's gonna look like a mini ipad .... That's just my opinion plus I'm a little drunk off some henny lol

Also, there are LTE network up and running across the world at this very moment. TeliaSonera's has been deployed for a couple months now.

@ eddieinaus - too sharp? used a MBP recently?
I'm thinking it's real, it's pretty classy and could come closely inline with the iPad metal theme.

I admit i was quite startled by the wording of the Engadget article. So after some careful examination of the pictures I have to conclude that this does not look like an Apple product in the slightest. My vote: 100% Fake

Reaction when everyone thinks its fake: "UGLYYYYYYYYY!!!!"
When Apple actually releases this iPhone: "its beautiful! i want one nowwwww :("
lol but in all honesty, this looks pretty fake. I don't know, those side buttons look like something Verizon would make, not Apple. maybe thats a clue? we'll see.
but its still ugly, i hope its not real. Apple's next iPhone will blow everyone's minds I can see it already :]

Fake or real, I for one does not like the shape. i was hoping they would stick to the way the iphone 3g and 3gs looks... no other phone looks like it (except the knock-offs) and following the link reveals a photo where the back is removable and exposes the battery and sim card... i think that is tacky... it looks like a nokia, samsung, or an htc phone... not something you would expect from apple..

I think its possible. Edge to edge glass, its kind of MacBook pro-ish styling. I'm not sure how Apple does their prototypes but an excited tester could make up a story for an excuse to place an anonymous post. I could also see a prototype having a removable battery so they could test different versions of the battery.

An ugly, horribly unfinished prototype, or extremely fake. It's got an FCC logo even though it hasn't been through FCC processing.

It looks like it it has the same dimensions as the iPhone. Remember the back of the iPhone is domed, and the way this is designed is there is no dome backing, making it look thicker. This is completely different that the iPhone 4th Gen case that popped up earlier where it looks like a smaller iPad case.
It's either a Chinese knock off, which it probably is, or it's a heavily modded iPhone or just a heavily modded touchscreen phone. Or it's actually a prototype. It could be a prototype since prototypes never look like the final version. And it's possible that someone from Apple wanted this to be found, like when Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt were seen sitting outside a coffee shop, in the day light, talking about something, where everyone could see them. They wanted to be seen.