Earlier today I blogged about Engadget's exclusive pictures purportedly of an iPhone HD prototype.
Gizmodo appears to have one-upped its gadget-loving competitor by actually acquiring said prototype which was "found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS" and by shooting copious amounts of pictures and video of it.
As I suspected, Apple remotely killed the phone before Gizmodo got access to it, but the previous user alleges that it was running iPhone OS 4 before Apple wiped it. Gizmodo notes the presence of a front-facing camera, larger rear camera lens, flash (lower-case "f"), 16% larger battery and it's 3 grams heavier than the current 3GS. It also notes that the "internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery."
Even more interesting than the specs, is the lengths that Apple will go to to hide these devices. Gizmodo notes that the iPhone prototype was found in a case made to resemble an iPhone 3GS:
This wasn't just a normal case; it had all the proper new holes cut out for the new switches and ports and camera holes and camera flash. But it looks like something from Belkin or Case-Mate. It's a perfect disguise.
After my previous skepticism, I have to admit that there's a pretty good shot that this is, in fact, the 2010 iPhone. Apple has confirmed that it's missing a phone and it is recognized by both iTunes and Xcode as an "iPhone" but with completely new and different CPID and CPRV product identifiers.
It's most likely a mule, meaning that while the internal components are pretty close to final, the outer skin is likely to be refined for the final shipping model. Apple has a history of stuffing prototype Macs and MacBooks into previous generation enclosures so that they can be tested "in the wild" without arousing suspicion.
I wonder how much Gizmodo paid for the device... Anyone care to hazard a guess in the TalkBack?