updated 10:10 pm EDT, Sun April 18, 2010
Next-gen iPhone sighting may not be final design
(Updated with backing details) The now widespread leaked new iPhone received additional confirmation tonight from tech writer John Gruber. After contacting sources, the historically accurate blogger now believes the device is an authentic test mule that was simply lost. The situation may be urgent as the iPhone is "a unit Apple is very interested in getting back," the writer said.
It's unclear why the shell was claimed to be a Japanese copy by a Spanish site earlier this weekend, but the example is no longer thought to necessarily represent the final model. The seemingly thicker and less refined body may at once be due to its pre-production nature but also to hide the design by letting testers fit the prototype in existing iPhone cases and mask the obvious differences.
The new smartphone is believed by Gruber and others to be a significant revamp even in its current state, with a high-resolution (possibly 960x640) screen and a front video camera being the most notable changes. A 5-megapixel camera with flash, 720p recording and playback, and the inclusion of a variant of the iPad's A4 processor are all considered probable as well.
Update: In a follow-up to comments regarding a "glass" back on the new model, Gruber has added that multiple sources understand this to be true and that it may actually be the results of a 2006 ceramic enclosure patent that would give the appearance of glass but with a much tougher, scratch-resistant build. It would be much more radio transparent and in some cases transmit 90 percent or more of the signal perfectly.
The nearly four year old patent would also open the door to colors being infused directly into the ceramic material and would resist structural problems stemming from rapid changes in temperature.