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Prototype iPhone design was likely near-final - report

post #1 of 182
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The general look and feel of the prototype iPhone recently discovered and disassembled will likely be very similar to the final shipping product of the next-generation handset Apple will release this summer.

Citing sources familiar with Apple's fourth-generation iPhone, Daring Fireball's John Gruber revealed that the barcode affixed to the prototype device obtained by Gizmodo, which read "N90_DVT-GE4X_0493," gives insight into how far along Apple is in the design of its next-generation phone.

"'N90' is Apple's codename for the fourth-generation GSM iPhone, slated for release this June or July," Gruber wrote. "'DVT' stands for 'design verification test,' an Apple production milestone. The DVT milestone is very late in the game; based on this, I now believe that this unit very closely, if not exactly, resembles what Apple plans to release."

He went on to say that although Apple is extremely secretive about unreleased products, it simply must let the units be used off of its Cupertino, Calif., campus to be tested. Apple reportedly distributes dozens of near-final units for field testing months in advance. Gruber said this practice is even more widespread with the iPhone than other Apple-developed products, because of the extensive nature of cellular network testing.

"The same was true for the 3GS a year ago, and the 3G the year before that," he wrote. "The original iPhone was announced six months before it went on sale; in the interim between the January announcement and its debut in stores at the end of June, limited numbers of them were used for field testing."

Even Apple co-founder Steve Jobs himself was spotted with an iPhone in public before the device was formally released to the masses.

The fact that the next-generation prototype iPhone was smaller and more compact than the current iPhone 3GS gave Apple the ability to wrap the test device with an outer casing that made it appear to look like a current-generation device. The person who allegedly found the handset at a bar didn't realize it was wrapped in a case until the next day.



The design of the iPhone has been largely unchanged from when it was first introduced in 2007, but the lost prototype and its near-final state would suggest Apple intends to modify the look of its handset. The discovered device abandons the curves of the previous-generation models, instead adopting a flat back made of new material to improve reception. It also sported a more angular look with an aluminum border. The prototype also replaced the volume rocker with two separate buttons.



Even greater changes were found inside the device, where Gizmodo discovered shrunken components to accommodate a battery that was 19 percent larger than the current-generation model's power supply. The logic board in particular was drastically reduced in size, just one-third the size of the current model.
post #2 of 182
I, for one, am perfectly happy with the design of the prototype and can't wait for Apple to release it this June/July.
post #3 of 182
I hope NOT. That's more like a design from HP than Apple.
post #4 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

I hope NOT. That's more like a design from HP than Apple.

I just hope they make the case more finished looking, like eliminate the gaps and such.
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post #5 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

I hope NOT. That's more like a design from HP than Apple.

When HP releases its HP Pad, people will say that HP copied the new iPhone's design.
post #6 of 182
It looks like modernist 60's design: minimalist, functional, and too the point. Gizmodo reported it feels more like the original iPhone in your hand than the 3G, which is good. The original iPhone felt more solid in the hand than the 3G.
post #7 of 182
The gaps are flourishes to break up chrome lines and give it some character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNly View Post

I just hope they make the case more finished looking, like eliminate the gaps and such.
post #8 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

I hope NOT. That's more like a design from HP than Apple.

Will the exterior design be the reason for getting the new iPhone or for what it will be capable of doing (feature set)? You can always get a case to cover it up.
post #9 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tardis View Post

When HP releases its HP Pad, people will say that HP copied the new iPhone's design.

That's because it's a cheap copy.
post #10 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkerkay View Post

Will the exterior design be the reason for getting the new iPhone or for what it will be capable of doing (feature set)? You can always get a case to cover it up.

As a designer, the exterior is almost as important as the technology itself.
post #11 of 182
Self police of a rant...
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #12 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The gaps are flourishes to break up chrome lines and give it some character.

I think so too. Also consider when you drop it on it's side or the corner, with the gaps and the rubber between them, it may serve the purpose of reducing the possibility of bending the frame. The little give it can absorb in most medium to hard drops may be enough to allow the outer frame to keep it's shape.
post #13 of 182
I'm in line.
post #14 of 182
I think they were force to square it up to fit more in it, mainly a larger battery. It was trade off, square it up or make it curvy and fat.

The fact that it say DVT on it. means it the final test before going into to production. Apple protos follow this scheme, EVTx where x is a number (Engineering Verification Testing) there could be more than one of these and then DVT then followed by PVT. PVT is production validation testing and those are done the month or weeks prior to being release to full manufacturing.

The other numbers after the DVT is a serial number that allow them to track who has each unit and also indicate possible configuration information or model type
post #15 of 182
wow.. i really really really hate how Gizmodo handed all this information - even disassembly photos - of a prototype to Apple's competition..
thats just not cool..seriously

there is a point where journalism ends..where is those guys' decency ..?
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post #16 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

As a designer, the exterior is almost as important as the technology itself.

I'm a designer too. At first I was a little surprised by the design. However, the more I look at it the more I like. Are there things I would change.... probably, but that can be said about all products out there. I have the orig iPhone, and this design seems to going back to that look and more so that feel. Sleek, flat and to the point. It's actually thinner than the current model. How can that be a bad thing? I will only truly know how I feel about it once I've held it in my hands as with most objects that are meant to be held.

But like I said before... the phone's capabilities will be the factor in either making it a success or failure. Such as the forward facing cam, more storage, better rear camera, LED flash, more battery life, faster processor not to mention the new iPhone OS 4.
post #17 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

I hope NOT. That's more like a design from HP than Apple.

Huh? The design mimics the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad, and Mac mini. What planet are you from?

If anything, the current iPod touch and iPhone don't mesh with Apple's current design language.
post #18 of 182
I hope it's more like the orignal iPhone. I almost always have my phone in thick, rubber cases, but my orignal iPhone still had some grip outside of the case. I love the look of my white 3GS, but it feels way more slippery...always worried I'm going to drop it... Plus, though I'm sure it's been tested a ton, the plastic backing always made me nervous about just how durable it was...I'm excited about the new design. It is very 60's modern... Can't wait to test one out!
post #19 of 182
I like the new model.
I just hope they put some kind of indicator on it so you can see if you've missed calls or something..

I hate checking my phone and have multiple missed calls and messages on it..
post #20 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkerkay View Post

It's actually thinner than the current model. How can that be a bad thing?

Thinner is a good thing but ergonomy is sacrified in this design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkerkay View Post

But like I said before... the phone's capabilities will be the factor in either making it a success or failure. Such as the forward facing cam, more storage, better rear camera, LED flash, more battery life, faster processor not to mention the new iPhone OS 4.

No complain about technology. It's as good as I can hope.
post #21 of 182
I agree with the necessity mentioned here of some more polishing of the design. But I like the design a lot.

Reminds me of this: http://www.choice247.net/eshop/images/sonyericsson1.jpg

I, for one, am happy about the design, particularly a more resistant and flat back (I don't care about the front facing camera though)
post #22 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Thinner is a good thing but ergonomy is sacrified in this design.

No complain about technology. It's as good as I can hope.

I'm not so sure ergonomics have been sacrificed with this potential new design. Though it's not as rounded, it still may feel just as good in the hand (or the pocket) as the current design. It is slightly smaller after all. I'll be buying one no matter what, but I'd wait to hold one in my hand before making a final judgment about ergonomics having been sacrificed.
post #23 of 182
I remember when the 3G S came out, there was a lot of grumbling because it came in the same form factor as the 3G. People were clamoring for a different design. Now that we see a new design, I find it interesting that there are people complaining that it is not like the 3G / 3G S. I guess you can't win them all.
As for me, I kind of like the new design. I always prefered the original to the 3G / 3G S, and if this feels more like the original, I'm all for that!
post #24 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

If anything, the current iPod touch and iPhone don't mesh with Apple's current design language.

That because we handle these devices differently. If Apple design these device like they design MB I'd say they're amateurs.
You confuse the look with the design concept. Apple concept is minimalism and balance. These two applied to iPhone and iPad.
post #25 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Thinner is a good thing but ergonomy is sacrified in this design.



No complain about technology. It's as good as I can hope.


You have no idea what the ergonomics are. Have you held it? You're saying it LOOKS like it's less ergonomic...you don't know.
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post #26 of 182
Are you serious? In what way is the prototype more like the rest of the current Mac linup? The rest of the Mac line has curved edges. This prototype isn't curved at all. Also, Apple is getting bigger on using aluminum. If you say having aluminum around the edges is more similar to the rest of the line I don't know what you're thinking. I'm hoping they look more like a scaled down ipad 3g. I love the aluminum backing. It seems for stable too. Seems like the design that leaked is way more likely to take on dings and scratches. And the volume buttons are nothing like the ipad because the ipad buttons are like the current iphone. I'm just baffled how everyone likes the looks of this thing. I think it's hideous.
post #27 of 182
I'll reserve final judgment until I hold the final version in my hand at the Apple store. At this moment, the leaked iPhone doesn't look that good, but is growing on me.
post #28 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukas View Post

wow.. i really really really hate how Gizmodo handed all this information - even disassembly photos - of a prototype to Apple's competition..
thats just not cool..seriously

there is a point where journalism ends..where is those guys' decency ..?


They are journalists. This is news. They have a responsibility to YOU, and not to some big multinational corporation like Apple.

;
post #29 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbryant705 View Post

Are you serious? In what way is the prototype more like the rest of the current Mac linup? The rest of the Mac line has curved edges. This prototype isn't curved at all. Also, Apple is getting bigger on using aluminum. If you say having aluminum around the edges is more similar to the rest of the line I don't know what you're thinking. I'm hoping they look more like a scaled down ipad 3g. I love the aluminum backing. It seems for stable too. Seems like the design that leaked is way more likely to take on dings and scratches. And the volume buttons are nothing like the ipad because the ipad buttons are like the current iphone. I'm just baffled how everyone likes the looks of this thing. I think it's hideous.

It's more like the Macs (esp the iMac) on the front and sides. The back is different, apparently to improve radio reception.
post #30 of 182
1) The design is uninspired (not that important, but it shows Apple have become complacent.)
2) Why no Xenon flash? What is the point of a top notch image browsing feature (one of the iPhone's greatest assets) and yet one still needs to use a 3rd party camera, import into iPhoto and then sync with the iPhone to get it on the bl**dy device? Why not include a decent camera, like Nokia and Sony Ericsson have done?
3) Why no mechanical shutter release for the camera?
4) MOST IMPORTANTLY, and why I am now going to sell my iPhone 3GS 32G and buy an Android phone: Whilst the display is high res (great!), it is no larger, in fact, slightly smaller! To read eBooks, web pages etc requires a screen of at least 4" diagonal.

Apple have become complacent and are exploiting the loyalty of their customers and of course, forcing people to own both an iPhone and an iPad. No thanks, I want one nice pocketable device, and an iPad can be reserved for touch DJ apps, home control and other dedicated tasks. (And yes, iPad will be ideal as a netbook replacement too.)

post #31 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwee View Post

I like the new model.
I just hope they put some kind of indicator on it so you can see if you've missed calls or something..

I hate checking my phone and have multiple missed calls and messages on it..

I agree. Something like an led that shines though the front facing glass, through clear portions in the shape of an envelope (email or SMS) and a phone (phone or voicemail). It could throb like the laptop sleep indicator. A faster throb means you have a voicemail.
post #32 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Huh? The design mimics the MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad, and Mac mini. What planet are you from?

If anything, the current iPod touch and iPhone don't mesh with Apple's current design language.

As an accomplished designer, I disagree with this statement whole-heartedly... While there are similarities in the new design to the iPad and current iMac lineup, there are major cosmetic differences in the new iPhone design that make it look unfinished and below the Apple standard.

Admittedly, the outer shell will likely change somewhat between now and release - especially now that it's been leaked, but frankly, unless there are some significant upgrades in hardware, the "new" form factor is enough to deter a great many people.
post #33 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Thinner is a good thing but ergonomy is sacrified in this design.

Hmmmm... the one I found at my local coffee shop the other day seems to feel pretty good in my hand.

Where did you find yours?
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post #34 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Thinner is a good thing but ergonomy is sacrified in this design.

How so, exactly?
post #35 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Hmmmm... the one I found at my local coffee shop the other day seems to feel pretty good in my hand.

Where did you find yours?

you held iPhone 4th gen in your hand? Wow!
post #36 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcode View Post

make it look unfinished and below the Apple standard.

This.
post #37 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

They are journalists. This is news. They have a responsibility to YOU, and not to some big multinational corporation like Apple.

;

The only responsibility they have is to themselves. The only responsibility they have to us is how we can make them more money. I don't think they're overly concerned about their journalistic integrity.
post #38 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

Apple have become complacent and are exploiting the loyalty of their customers and of course, forcing people to own both an iPhone and an iPad. No thanks, I want one nice pocketable device, and an iPad can be reserved for touch DJ apps, home control and other dedicated tasks. (And yes, iPad will be ideal as a netbook replacement too.)


Please drop by here in a year or so when you have lived your iPhone and iPad less life for awhile and tell us what you think!

I'm convinced that Androids are for geeks and iPhones are for the rest of the world. The baby boomers don't care about the flash - they just want something that works. I've seen numerous "older" collegues being reborn when they got their iPhones. They've had smartphones of all kinds, but never started to use them properly. But now all of a sudden, I hear them exchanging apps and use their phones in a completly new way.

I doubt they ever will leave their iPhones.

The open design of Android sure has advantages, just as Windows, but it also keep them more complex and less stable. For each new hardware unit running Android, there can be speciific problems relating to that particular hardware/software combination. That is not something the average consumer likes.
post #39 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

1) The design is uninspired (not that important, but it shows Apple have become complacent.)

I would call it minimalist. The focus of the iPhone is the screen. Not the back and the sides, they are simply functional.

Quote:
2) Why not include a decent camera, like Nokia and Sony Ericsson have done?

If you understand how imaging technology works you would understand that simply adding more pixels is pointless. You have to improve the entire imaging system to resolve the detail of more pixels. Improving the imaging system adds size, weight, and energy use. The iPhone is a phone with a camera, not a camera with a phone.

Quote:
3) Why no mechanical shutter release for the camera?

A mechanical shutter in a phone? Are you serious?
post #40 of 182
I don't think you should be giving Gizmodo any more free publicity.
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