The new iPhone 4th Generation has revealed itself!
Several weeks ago, a version of the iPhone that was "just a bit different" from the 3 prior year products was found at a bar not far from the Apple Cupertino campus. This device was remotely shut down hours after it was lost, but not before the yet unseen 4.0 OS (it is available as a beta now for developers to test) was played with briefly, and the supposed owner was identified through the phone's Facebook application.
The popular gadget blog site Gizmodo purchased the phone for $5000 from its pub crawling finder after they were unable to get Apple corporate to accept it in return, let alone get them to acknowledge that it exists via phone calls to the headquarters. We can only assume the amount of secrecy that Apple takes with products that are developed internally, and call center agents know nothing of new devices existence until the rest of the world does. These agents took the description of what was found to be a Chinese knockoff. This "rogue phone" became a nice find for Gizmodo, as their purchase has lead to massive traffic (6.55 million views as I write this) once they posted a story with full details on the device on Monday April 19th, a full two months before its assumed launch of June 22nd, 2010. With years of unfettered secrecy around prior Apple product launches, this is a huge snafu for their marketing machine. Or was it? Although, it is no secret among the tech elite that a new phone is eminent this summer, and even firmware hints of a flash and other hardware leaks via software - the features of this device were a worst kept secret in the industry. In fact, Apple has launched a new device each summer since the iPhone June 2007 debut. Plus, on their earnings call today, they announced that 8.75 million iPhones were sold this quarter alone. This is a mass market device, and the technology pros will want the newest model, while the masses should be fine with what they have. As such, I do not see this premature announcement hurting the sales of units. In fact, it is getting Apple even more press in a slingshot after tremendous iPad hype.
The new features with this fourth generation iPhone are a slimmer style (even slimmer than the first generation unit) along with a forward facing "video conferencing" camera, and flash on the photo camera on the back. It uses a new micro SIM as was first seen in the iPad 3G and perhaps has a noise canceling microphone on the top of the device. Usability features like battery life, type of processor and speed were not able to be tested, as the unit was remotely software locked by Apple. This version may be the first iPhone with the Apple owned A4 processor inside, which is what runs the speedy iPad with a compelling 12-hour battery life. With larger batteries within, we may be onto a full-day device, I consider the models sold to date to be half-day usage. Remember when your old Nokia "candy bar" phones would go a week between charges?
Below is a link to a news segment with the Los Angeles CBS anchor David Malkof talking with me about the found iPhone and what its implecations are for the Apple Engineer, Gary Powell who seemingly lost it!
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