It seems that the guys at Gizmodo have managed to get their hands on what seems to be the "next-generation" iPhone.
I know, I know, pictures or it didn't happen. Well, here's a video:
Now, it remains to be seen if this is how the final iPhone will look when it's officially released this summer. Personally, I'm tempted to say that the outer shell might be an engineering prototype given that it looks radically different to the existing iPhone and has an industrial look to it.
Now onto the interesting bit. What's the origin of this prototype handset? The folks at Gizmodo claim that it was "found lost in a bar in Redwood City," but Apple's perspective on things is that this handset is "stolen." Further, it seems that Gizmodo paid for this handset and has had it in their possession for about a week.
So, the question is this ... is it ethical to pay for something that someone "found" (a term I use loosely here), hold said "lost" device (I use this word loosely too) device for a week, to take said device apart for the purposes of photography?
Stumbling across this is a good find, but there are some serious ethical issues to be addressed here.
Note: Some people seem to think that these units might have been "leaked" by Apple. I find this very hard to believe. Apple doesn't operate that way, and "super secrecy" is built into the company's DNA.
Also, the idea that people are walking around bars with super-secret prototype Apple hardware is also unbelievable. My guess is that this device has never seen the inside of a bar ... this has come direct from Cupertino.
Kyle Weins of iFixit had the following to say:
The phone looks very solid. I'm concerned about durability with the glass running almost to the edge of the surface with a thin plastic sheath, but it's impossible to know for sure. They may be using thicker glass to compensate for this.
The internal photos that I've seen look very much like pre-production prototype hardware, so it's hard to draw conclusions from that. They've shrunk the electronics to make the battery bigger. Battery life is Apple's #1 hardware design push right now, and the iPhone is the device they're weakest on right now, so this doesn't surprise me at all.