So is this Apple's next iPhone (iPhone 4G)?

iphone4gipadproof2

Engadget is now standing firm behind those images of an "iPhone 4G" they posted yesterday, claiming pictures they nabbed right before the iPad launch as proof it's not just a knock-off. And what's more:

a source -- who confirms this is the next Apple iPhone -- also tells us that the device apparently does have a higher res screen on-board, a front-facing camera, a higher resolution camera with flash, and takes MicroSIM cards.

Not only that, MacRumor's forums claim to have pictures from a Chinese website showing the guts of the device.

We're still saying it can't be called an iPhone 4G, since Apple used iPhone 3G for the 2nd generation due to its 3G radio, and likely would do the same for an iPhone 4G, signifying a 4G LTE radio -- which won't be supported in the US until 2011 at the earliest. iPhone HD is still a candidate, however, due to the higher resolution screen.

Now this still looks so different, so cobbled together that, if it does indeed come from Apple's labs, it's more likely prototype hardware than finished design -- a way to test the guts of the machine and how it works with new software features.

UPDATE: Daring Fireball claims to have called "around" (read: into Apple contacts) and now believes:

this is an actual unit from Apple — a unit Apple is very interested in getting back. I am not certain that this is the actual production unit Apple intends to ship to consumers. I think it’s a testbed frame — thicker, with visible (un-Apple-like) seams, meant to fit in 3GS cases so as to disguise units out in the wild. It’s hard to tell from the photos. But I think it is the real deal in terms of the internals and display being next-gen iPhone hardware, and the new glass back. A front-facing camera and 960 × 640 display are two things I know are slated for the next iPhone. (The “80 GB” of storage sounds like a mistake to me, but who knows? SSD storage typically comes only in even power-of-two increments.)

Either way, given the blogsphere reaction, it sure does take attention way from what Android and Verizon are getting ready, doesn't it?

Given the differences between it and current iPhone models, do you hope this is the direction they're actually going, or that the final iPhone 4G looks nothing like it?

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 58 comments. Add yours.

Mitchell says:

Nice. If it's £400 I'll sell my 3GS for it

MovieTechJunkie says:

I love how Macrumors and Engadget are trying to prove each other wrong here. Its probably just a prototype to test the guys. Hopefully they use another shell though.

Al says:

I have to say that I kind of like it. I've been calling for a return of aluminum ever since they parted ways with the iPhone 3G. Other than the white plastic MacBook, the iPhone is now the only plastic product so it makes sense to get this thing into the realm of aluminum and black glass. It will be nice for it to sit flat on a table or in the car with a flattened backing as well, all while avoiding scratches. I'm looking forward to WWDC more than ever now!

RADEN says:

I think they mean 4G as in 4th generation. It is confusing, though, and they should use G4 instead.

Geo Coldz says:

I don't think the iPhone will ever has a Mirco SD card slot.
Fake.

Jay says:

Agree with Geo Coldz. I doubt that is real because of the SD Card slot.

ericg1840 says:

They didn't say it has a micro SD slot. They said micro sim like the sim cards in the 3G iPad.

Johnny Boy says:

They would never be kind enough to add an SD slot. Maybe down the road, as they continue to add 1 new feature per year/model. Ooh a flash bulb? Great, my BB Pearl had that in 06

John says:

Am I the only one that is starting to hate this iphone 4G news ? Just common I know I will love to see th 4th gen iPhone, but look at the pictures, do you believe that apple will build such piece of garbage ? It looks cheap and thats not what apple is doing... just my thoughts ... :)
Peace !

Monkeymachine says:

It's a Japanese knockoff. End of story. Next rumor please.

Tansen says:

You can see that the screen is obviously not amoled or even led by the blue tint it has. I hope the next iPhone has a higher res screen, but doubling the resolution would almost match the ipad in terms of dimensions, I don't know of they'd do that to themselves. Who knows... They really need to keep up anyways

TroyRific says:

I think it looks ok. Just hate the volume buttons. Much prefer the rocker set up of the last 3 years. Also don't believe that whey would have a phone with those ugly groves in the aluminium band.

Mctui says:

I wanna see some real sh1t .. these chinese fakes are way too obvious o____O

Readover says:

I reeeaaally don't think they'll make it that boxy and ugly

bsforver says:

Far out theory: what if the so-called Japanese knock-off is based on the prototype the Foxconn employee allegedly lost and commited suicide over? I mean someone could have found it and sold it as competitive intelligence.
Of course one would reasonably expect Apple being Apple to change the design once that happened. Either way we'll know for sure in June lol!

Jellotime91 says:

@Geo Coldz and the other idiot who agreed with him:
It's a MICRO SIM SLOT, NOT MICRO SD SLOT.
And a Micro-SD slot wouldn't be that far-fetched either with this new direction Apple is going in, not to mention the fact that they've put SD card readers into their iMac and MacBook line unexpectedly last year.

frog says:

Don't really like it. I love the current design, just hate the smooth plastic back. I also tend to use my SIM in other phones sometimes, so a Micro-SIM would be a pain for me.

DJ Provoke says:

It prob is a protoype. The aluminum body is coming back so they're testing reception. The look is not in the final stages or Apple-ish if you will. :)

Glenn#IM says:

Almost looks like a palm lifedrive make over due to the thickness. I also agree about Apple not doing a sd slot.

chris says:

Half you can't read, its a MICRO SIM, not MICROSD. god people, READ!

OmariJames says:

Guess they are reverting back to the iPhone 2H blockiness. I love how the 3G(s) feels n if this is the final design , front face camera and micro SD can suck a deck.

Dragonfly says:

This is a completely different design language to that of the iPad, and you know how Apple likes to keep their products having a house style. I really cant see this being the real thing... but you never know.

Thomas says:

I wonder why they start going to MicroSIM at all! I don't see any benefit in it besides the fact I cannot use it as my company phone anymore since my company is certainly not supporting my change to a Micro SIM to plug it into the phone I'd buy by myself.
I think that decision sucks and I see no advantage from it.

cardfan says:

They may call it Iphone 4 which is simpler..

Rabbit47 says:

Either way if it's truely apple or not, Jobs and the whole marketing dept are having a great laugh at all the hype (read: plubicity). Not that any iPhone launch is any different. But still...

Limegrntaln says:

I dont know, looks promising, to me, the back looks like it could be multi-touch. If this is the next iPhone, its nice and thin, and being a prototype, they can disguise it anyway they want. What makes me think its very possible is, look at that battery. How many knock off phones would invest in a battery that size? I mean seriously. If your getting a battery that large in a phone, its going to last a very long time. Im leaning more toward believing this just due to the simple fact that that battery is so big. Look at the iPads, look at the MacBook Pro's The battery in the MBP is the entire bottom of the laptop. The iPad has 2 huge batteries. I dont know guys, for that reason Im inclined to believe that this is something along the lines of the truth.

jay0heavenly says:

Micro SD slot? No way Jose. Steve Jobs would sooner have the G4 iPhone support Flash than he would a micro SD slot...lol

jay0heavenly says:

Ok...didn't read it said "Micro-SIM" not "Micro SD", my bad... I still think this phone is a fake...Steve Jobs the Tyrant makes sure leaks don't happen.

mark says:

anyone who knows ANYTHING about design -- and, specifically, apple design, knows -- beyond the hint of any doubt -- that apple would NEVER, EVER, EVER(!), release something this ugly.
period. Period. PERIOD.
(and yes, i'm shouting.) :-)
let's move on.

J1CA1™ says:

We seen this already there all Fake Fake Fake Fake!!!!

deadp1xel says:

I think this is all fake. Seems like knockoff still to me.

Edie says:

well, it is ugly..
But i really doubt it that this IS the new iPhone of 2010. Jony Ive or Steve Jobs wouldn't approve of an ugly design like this. I mean, look at the buttons, how thick it is, etc. It's just a failure. I like a few other people will probably just pick up a 3GS for (hopefully) $100 less. And a nicer design. But, you know, this may still be fake & just a prototype or cover up for the real thing to come. I just hope something nicer is unveiled.
p.s.- IT's microSIM slots, you morons. Learn how to read. At least we all know this phone may not support that sucky network, Verizon. Which we all know that it probably won't anyway.

jb says:

I certainly dont mind the design, Id still get it!

Sooks says:

What more do you guys want ? This is clearly a prototype and or could be the next iphone. There is no doubt that this is an apple made product. The proof is in the picture; the image that leaked yesterday matches the image that leaked a few months ago. Same buttons and all. If it isnt changed by now , it wont change much. i would expect the seams to be filled and there will no longer be access to the battery. As many have said this is for quick access for the engineers who are filed testing it . In regard to people saying "micro sd slot" , for god sakes .. READ, it is a slot for a sd card , thats all. If you look at the internal the sd card slot matches up under the battery cover. Also , the glass on that back matches up with patents that apple has recently got for gestures. They need to change the design and have. I think it looks fine , they need to go shy away from the same old and do something new, this device looks good. and will look similar to what we see in just a couple months. As far as the FCC stamp goes , it is nothing more then a place holder.... and as far as the GB , i am betting on the low end being 32 and high end being 64.... for people saying turn it on we want a video of the OS , it wont happen ... by now , especially with the temp fcc id being shown , the device has been wiped and wont even boot.

neil brimelow says:

Doesn't the new iPhone have to have a removable battery to comply with EU regulations?

Edie says:

@ neil, Remember, Apple can do anything,.. ;D

Edie says:

I was really hoping for something close to the design of the magic mouses plastic. It looks amazing(: and goes with the gesture patents.

Adam says:

As far as i'm concerned, it can be a pile of dog crap. As long as it has an Apple logo, 3 million junkies will be on line waiting on line day 1.

Matt(sZ) says:

The iPhone design and experience should just feel Sexy, remember the first time you touched an iPhone 3g, after touching another phone of subpar quality, it just felt right.
DO IT RIGHT NOW
hold your iPhone 3G(S) and then hold another smart phone, and tell me if you don't feel the sex missing

parabel says:

I do like that design and hope it's showing the real direction Apple is going! :) Looks quite professional and classy IMO.

codespiro says:

Looks like it will probably be one of two models. This being the "Pro" model.

desjones4ever says:

This only being my 2nd Apple product and even with it's shortcomings it's the most solid phone I've ever had. Watching these other companies just push out devices while this company puts all it's efforts into one really makes me comfortable with knowing I'm getting their all. Can't wait for this to come out. You know what's weird is why do people make comments that Apple is just in it for the money? What company isn't?

pcdsim says:

Steve's getting his Omega Beam ready.

SockRolid says:

So, the question is why wasn't this supposed 4th-gen iPhone disguised as heavily as the iPad in the legit iPad spy photo? My guess is that it's not the actual production enclosure, and therefore doesn't need to be disguised.
.
I can't imagine that Jonny Ive would intentionally add any fake "seams" across the metallic edge just to add visual excitement. Apple's recent handheld products have all been smooth and polished with no seams.

RimeOne says:

Hopefully, if the new iteration does take MicroSIM, you will be able to swap the SIM card back and forth to the iPad on the same data plan. You'd have to forward your calls to another phone of course.

Hellpop says:

The micro sim on the side makes sense to make room for the front camera and flash. Also, as Sook mentioned, I read previously that the phone would not boot. That alone is a strong case that it is legit as Apple would have killed the phone remotely once it was lost.
What is the small hole next to the earphone jack? It looks to be the same size as the Sim eject on the 3G(S), but you can see the same hole and tray on the side with this model.

Edie says:

MicroSIM? Now i don't believe this. I mean, i think that's the reason why Apple chose MicroSIM for the iPad because they didn't want iPhone users to be swapping their SIM cards so their devices can just use the data directly off the SIM card. Now if Apple started adding MicroSIM on iPhone, then now it wouldn't really make sense. So i call fake on specs, but possible hardware(which looks ugly.)

Miked says:

Looks like a Frankenstein phone compare to the current sleek style. No way it is the real thing.

TumnusMr says:

Engadget did an analysis of the seams and they appear to be for a side loading battery compartment and the hole next to the headphone Jack is for opening the battery slot. It will be interesting to see if this is the final design (if a bit rough) as most phones with replaceable batteries have a panel on the back for this and in my experience that has always been a weakspot in such phones. Maybe this will make it feel as solid as the current iPhones while still giving a replaceable battery.
The phone in the pictures probably isn't any thicker than current iPhones but just looks it because it doesn't have tapered edges. The flatter design would give them more room to provide a much bigger battery, which I think will be one of the big selling points this year.

fake4sure says:

A micro-SD slot ??? Never ever!
This is not the iPhone 4G !

metsgiantsfan234 says:

This doesn't look as horrible as you all make it seem. I wonder if there will be significant power increases over the 3GS (especially since Apple is heading toward multitasking, etc. which take up a lot of power).

mrtomd says:

Stories like this are the reason why you ignore stories like this.

lalala says:

WE GET IT, IT'S NOT CALLED THE IPHONE 4G. GET OVER IT

Diordon22 says:

I think this is real.... Whoever lost this prototype is in trouble. June is almost here, so we shall see.

iphone4G says:

if that guy writes "don't call it the iphone 4g, coz 4g networks don't exist yet" one more time, i'm going to scream.
Again.

GGG says:

if it has a microSD card i would be sooooo happy!

jb says:

hahha to all those yelling FAKE, or RIP OFF, you can all SUCK IT hahahaha, its the real deal baby! w00t w00t!

TavisB says:

I like it. I'll be upgrading my 3G this summer.