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Lost Apple prototype exposes next iPhone

Text by Christophe JOSSET

Latest update : 2010-04-20

US technology website Gizmodo.com has taken the wind out of Apple’s 4G sails, prominently displaying an allegedly lost prototype of the next iPhone, months ahead of its scheduled release.

Ordinary consumers are getting a very unusual sneak-preview of Apple’s next version of the popular iPhone after a prototype of the future mobile blockbuster was left behind at a bar in California.

The US technology website Gizmodo.com, which came into possession of the allegedly lost next-generation iPhone, prominently displayed its “find” on Monday and has exposed its latest features.

Gizmodo reports that several improvements and features come with the new iPhone 4G, in particular a bigger battery with better capacity, a front camera for video-conferencing and a flash for the camera.

The design of the front panel is almost identical to the previous model, but the sides and back of the prototype are thinner, in metal, and adopt a more rectangular look, breaking with the elegant curved plastic that distinguished the iPhone since the first model appeared in 2007.

Taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit

The early and unofficial unveiling of the follow-up model to the iPhone 3G, which sold one million copies worldwide in its first three days, is a strategic blow to its manufacturer.

Apple Inc has earned the reputation of being obsessed with maintaining its future products secret, a practice that gives the company blockbuster fanfare when it finally shows its newest creations to the public.

According to Gizmodo, the prototype was left behind at a California beer garden on March 18 by Gray Powell, a young software engineer with Apple Inc. Another patron of the bar, whose identity was not revealed, picked up the telephone and sold it to the specialised site.

In its quest to prove the authenticity of the prototype Gizmodo said it dismantled the telephone and discovered components engraved with the Apple brand.

Apple's legal department requested in writing that Gizmodo return the device in question the day after the website published the tale of its discovery – for Gizmodo, conclusive proof that this is the iPhone 4G.

“Apple’s security’s mighty walls fell on the midnight of Thursday, March 18,” Gizmodo exalted.

Apple has not commented publicly on the matter of the lost iPhone 4G, or the fate of its unlucky employee.

In July 2009, a 25-year-old employee of an Apple assembly plant in China committed suicide after losing a prototype of the iPhone 4G. For three days, his bosses had reportedly subjected him to chained interrogations.

The iPhone 4G has been slated for release this summer.

Date created : 2010-04-20

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