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Was Gizmodo punk'd by Apple? Photos of this iPhone appeared in February

Like most mobile tech enthusiasts I followed the Gizmodo iPhone story, but just finished reading a comment posted on Andy Ihnatko's Chicago Sun Time site that indicate Gizmodo may have been punk'd by Apple and the device may just be one of many prototypes floating around and have no relation at all to the upgraded iPhone we all except this summer

Like most mobile tech enthusiasts I followed the Gizmodo iPhone story, but just finished reading a comment posted on Andy Ihnatko's Chicago Sun Time site that indicate Gizmodo may have been punk'd by Apple and the device may just be one of many prototypes floating around and have no relation at all to the upgraded iPhone we all expect this summer. You see, the photos of this iPhone device were posted back on February 20th on Twitpic by TUDream and no site seemed to pick them up and run with them at the time.

Like Andy, I find it pretty unbelievable that a lower level Apple engineer was walking around with the actual new iPhone that we will see in June. He may have been testing out a component or part of the device, but I personally believe the new iPhone will be something more along the lines of a thin iPod touch form factor device with the expected updates of a faster processor, higher capacity camera, higher resolution display, etc. that we all know are natural progressions of high end smartphones.

The story was dramatic, for geeks, and definitely generated a lot of hits for Gizmodo and many others while taking away a bit of the HTC DROID Incredible news. However, was it all just a publicity stunt? I guess we will have to wait and see in a few months.

Does anyone actually think this is the next iPhone hardware?