Based on everything we've seen to date, debate about what Engadget showed glimpses of on Sunday and Gizmodo went hands-on with on Monday is over -- it's a next-generation Apple iPhone HD (iPhone 4G). It might not be final hardware, but with the public unveiling expected to be in WWDC this June and the shipping date soon thereafter, it's close.
We'll go over the purported specs in a post to follow, but right now we're going to concentrate on the design. Some are complaining it doesn't look Apple-like, doesn't look like something that came out of the Star Trek-style labs of Apple SVP of design, Jonathan Ive. We thought so too at first, when all we had to go on were the pics of the initial post. We thought it looked like a Japanese knock-off. We were wrong. The pictures posted from the hands-on today were much clearer and they show lines that are much cleaner and a design much more in harmony with the other major releases Apple's done recently -- unibody MacBook Pro, 2009 iMac, 2010 iPad. Sure, they typically have subtle curves along one large surface -- back of the iMac, rear of the iPad, and this iPhone HD looks flat as a pancake, but the language is unmistakable. Mostly.
Yeah, the breaks in the aluminum siding. Screws in the iPhone 3GS and iMac is one thing, but breaks in the aluminum? It's possible that those were there to grant easy access to the guts of the prototype and will disappear when Steve Jobs pulls the final production model from his pocket at WWDC. Or it's possible that those are there to grant access to the guts and are a compromise we'll see up to and after release. (We choose to believe the former rather than the latter, of course).
Also, the volume buttons. Gone are the toggles found in the first three generations of iPhone, last two of iPod touch, and one and only iPad to date. In there place are something that looks like the battery level indicator button from a MacBook Pro [tip of the hat to @richardlai] as seen through double vision.
Gizmodo knows/guesses they're there to serve as additional, contextual hardware buttons. Specifically, that when in camera mode (where volume is not needed) they'd serve as a hard shutter button for taking pictures or starting/stopping video recording.
A toggle could perform multiple functions as well, however, though perhaps less intuitively.
If we go through the checklist, however, we have the rounded rectangle with the hardened angles, the glass to the very edge, and the black and aluminum that has become this generation of Apple trademark.
That's our take. Now it's time for yours. WWDC is still well over a month away, when it comes to the iPhone HD/iPhone 4G design, what do you hope Apple keeps the same, and what do you really wish they'd change?