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Apple rumored to be evaluating 3 new iPhone prototypes, one with slideout keyboard

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
A Taiwanese website that has been the source of numerous Apple hardware leaks now claims that Apple has built three hardware prototypes for its next-generation iPhone, including one model with a slide-out physical keyboard.

The new details come from tw.apple.pro, but are the result of a rough online translation. The site's source claimed that Apple has built three prototype models for its anticipated "iPhone 5," and one of them has a "sliding cover" that conceals a keyboard.

Another prototype reportedly built by Apple looks largely like the iPhone 4, but has improved hardware including longer battery life and superior camera. That version of the handset would not be a major physical change from the previous-generation iPhone 4, and would be akin to the iPhone 3GS replacing the iPhone 3G, the report said.

Finally, the site also reiterated rumors that the next-generation iPad will include a built-in camera, and will also be thinner than the first-generation model.

In years past, Apple.pro has got its hands on numerous hardware leaks from Apple's overseas suppliers. Last year it got its hands on a white panel for an iPhone 4 before the handset was announced, and it also obtained an iPhone 4 battery in June.

In 2008, it offered a first look at Apple's redesigned MacBook.

Last July, the same site also showed off a mysterious small touchscreen which it speculated could be used in an "iPod touch nano." In September, Apple unveiled its new iPod nano with a small multi-touch display.

In addition, in 2008, the blog posted photos of the new unibody enclosure of Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro before it was released.

But also in 2008, the site posted photos of an alleged 13-inch MacBook casing which proved to be false. And in 2009, the blog claimed that Apple was working on a 15-inch MacBook Air, another product that never came to market.
post #2 of 93
Not surprising. I'm sure Apple builds dozens of working prototypes. The million dollar question is: which one(s) will make it into production?

At this point in their product lifecycle, a decision has probably already been made. It takes months to ramp up and prep the hardware component suppliers....so with an anticipated June kickoff date, Apple will need to start building these by the beginning of May.
post #3 of 93
Given how fast one can type on an iPhone keyboard it seems extremely unlikely that Apple would spend any energy on such a project.
post #4 of 93
Make that 4 models. I hear they are working on one that uses a stylus as well.
post #5 of 93
Apple has implied that they often put out many different prototypes with unique features specific to each vendor that is a candidate to build that one specific prototype to weed-out leaks in the supply chain.

I doubt Apple would ever seriously consider a slide-out keyboard. It's not their style. That's not to say that Apple would not submit that request to vendor "A" to see if they can keep their mouth shut.
post #6 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Apple has implied that they often put out many different prototypes with unique features specific to each vendor that is a candidate to build that one specific prototype to weed-out leaks in the supply chain.

I doubt Apple would ever seriously consider a slide-out keyboard. It's not their style. That's not to say that Apple would not submit that request to vendor "A" to see if they can keep their mouth shut.

This theory seems much more plausible than the idea that Apple might put an iPhone with a slide-out keyboard into production.
Mac user since August 1983.
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Mac user since August 1983.
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post #7 of 93
According to "clip die" tomb said to me

The real translation is

According to Steve Jobs, who said to me in my dream

As the pixel size of the camera,

The rear camera will also be provided by OmniVision. There are two choices: 8M-pixel and 12M-pixel cameras. Because using 12M-pixel memory consumes a lot of memory and is slow to upload to cloud devices like Facebook. Due to business considerations, it will lean more to 8M-pixel camera.
post #8 of 93
a fifth prototype was said to have a mouse.
post #9 of 93
Instead of a slide out keyboard why not a slide out gamepad?
post #10 of 93
A 6th prototype had a rotary dial.
post #11 of 93
A slide out keyboard would be interesting to see considering one of the things that many detractors say is that they wouldn't buy it (or any smart phone) without a physical keyboard. If they were able to keep it the same thickness and include a physical keyboard, I might jump on it as an option. I don't know how many times typing in landscape mode has been a pain in the butt because most of the screen real-estate gets absorbed by the keyboard.

It might not be their style, but the more I think about it, the more I might like it (especially with the option of switching between the on screen and physical keyboard). Now if we could add a rotary dial....
post #12 of 93
A seventh prototype was said to have a dial controller styled after the original Pong.
post #13 of 93
Adobe Flash will make it's debut on the iPhone 5.
post #14 of 93
an eight prototype will have flash, but once you boot it up its out of battery

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if i say something confusing please tell me!

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PC means personal computer.  

i have processing issues, mostly trying to get my ideas into speech and text.

if i say something confusing please tell me!

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post #15 of 93
I just read on macrumors theres an ninth prototype that boots off cassette.
post #16 of 93
My understanding is that Apple may actually go through dozens of prototypes and design iterations to come up with the final product. That really shouldn't be a surprise either. The assumption here though is that these are further along than normal lab prototypes, more like production tests units. Or maybe the translation is messing with my mind.

What doesn't mess with my mind is this idea of an iPhone with a keyboard. I think it is a very real possibility. Why? It is pretty simple really, such a keyboard provides for a larger screen or view port while entering text. Such a device makes for far easier text entry and more importantly far better editing. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing those little auto correct errors after you send out a message.

More importantly the slide out keyboard doesn't have to be the fixed function device we have seen on other phones. Instead it could be a slide out LCD touch screen of sorts. This would allow Apple to continue to have one device for world wide distribution due to the nature of a soft keyboard. It would be well worth a few bucks extra at the check out counter, especially for people using their iPhones a lot for text entry. In effect you get a much larger screen in the same form factor. The issue then becomes how do you do such a keyboard without making the iPhone FAT.
post #17 of 93
In 1949 Huffy invented training wheels - an extension bolted onto the rear axel of a bike so that 3,4 and 5 year olds could now learn to ride a bicycle years before their old siblings, greatly expanding the market for an existing product category that had become saturated.

Adding a keyboard is a marketing move, not a design move, to provide training wheels for people who would like to use an iPhone but don't think they can type on a virtual keyboard.

The iPhone on Verizon with a keyboard should have moto and rim very scared...
post #18 of 93
10th prototype that only interfaces with the controller for Steel Batallion
post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A Taiwanese website that has been the source of numerous Apple hardware leaks now claims that Apple has built three hardware prototypes for its next-generation iPhone, including one model with a slide-out physical keyboard....

Oh come on!

There are so many obvious things wrong with this story. It's about as likely to be true as last weeks onion story on the new "fleshy" macbook. Why did anyone even post this crap? Is it a joke? Are you just dim?
post #20 of 93
Instead of a slide out keyboard why not a slide out gamepad?
post #21 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

10th prototype that only interfaces with the controller for Steel Batallion

And I heard the iPad 2 can interface with up to four of them for touted "business collaboration" features.

It's gonna sell like hotcakes.
post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by hismastersvoice View Post

I just read on macrumors theres an ninth prototype that boots off cassette.

You seem to want to equate an outdated piece of technology with something that is still very much in common use. Worst you seem to think that any design Apple comes up with will be modeled on current approaches. Frankly I'd rather expect that Apple would continue to innovate here. It doesn't take a lot of effort to imagine Apple putting a spin on a slide out keyboard that would be a big win for heavy iPhone users. Done right it keeps iPhone compact while expanding usable screen real-estate. That is no joking matter.
post #23 of 93
Well I heard from a reliable source that Apple is making a new iPhone that is made out of ground up unicorn horns, and runs on dreams ...

Doesn't take much to start a rumor ...
post #24 of 93
The only model that matters: Edge-to-edge screen iPhone!
That's the direction of the future. It's all about the display.
post #25 of 93
11th prototype that electrocutes anything named gizmodo chen.
"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

Given how fast one can type on an iPhone keyboard it seems extremely unlikely that Apple would spend any energy on such a project.

You must not know a lot of people.
post #27 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I doubt Apple would ever seriously consider a slide-out keyboard. It's not their style. That's not to say that Apple would not submit that request to vendor "A" to see if they can keep their mouth shut.

I agree completely, anyone who has followed Apple for any length of time knows they would not consider a slide-out keyboard. They made that prototype to expose a leak (or else it is just chaff).
post #28 of 93
Another in-development prototype involves a clever iPhone interaction system in which the controller is ... wait for it ... YOU.

One simply has to set it on a surface with appropriate physical calibration, stand back, and well ... go for it!

I hear you can like pet tigers and shit! I can't wait.
post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

You must not know a lot of people.

How about a floppy drive or an ADB keyboard?
post #30 of 93
If it means I can halve my ATT bill or go to another carrier, I'm in favor of this.

I'm thinking this new iPhone and a second gen. iPad (if it can print) and I'm good to go.

Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone 4 but ATT is killing me. I

I'm loving the TomTom GPS, but if that was on the iPad-Problem solved! I never use the video cam on my iPhone. I do use the Nike+GPS for running though but its not a critical App.

I like the camera with flash. Seriously, All I want is to pay $79/mo to ATT to run my iPhone 4 and I'd be cool

best
post #31 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by starnyc View Post

In 1949 Huffy invented training wheels - an extension bolted onto the rear axel of a bike so that 3,4 and 5 year olds could now learn to ride a bicycle years before their old siblings, greatly expanding the market for an existing product category that had become saturated.

Funny but in my case we were given a box of used parts and told to make a bike out of them. Training wheels are just one approach to bike riding, one that appeals to overly protective and sheltering parents.
Quote:

Adding a keyboard is a marketing move, not a design move, to provide training wheels for people who would like to use an iPhone but don't think they can type on a virtual keyboard.

The desire for a slide out keyboard has nothing to do with the virtual keyboard. In fact if Apple goes this route I would not be surprised at all to find that the slde out keyboard is virtual.

Think about it, if you slide out a virtual keyboard that keyboard can be anything. It can be a QWERTY keyboard or something defined for another language. It could be a special purpose keyboard for a calculator or any number of other custom input screens. This would include the slide out "keyboard" becoming a game controller.

Think just a bit about having a slide out keyboard that can be defined at run time for the specific game in play. The app tailors the input device to the game not the other way around. It actually makes a lot of sense in this context because all of the screen is there for the game yet you have touch controls specific to the game in play.
Quote:
The iPhone on Verizon with a keyboard should have moto and rim very scared...

Possibly but that isn't really the competition any more.

Personally I've seen a lot of knee jerk reactions in this thread. Maybe that is to be expected, but I think if a little thought was put into it you would see some real positives here. A big positive being that you gain realestate while not growing the size of the device. That is followed closely by the ability to expand the usefulness of the slide out keyboard.
post #32 of 93
Doesn't apple build proto's in their ID facility in Cupertino? Why would anyone in Asia have a clue if they have not gone to production?
post #33 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

A big positive being that you gain realestate while not growing the size of the device.

How do you reconcile that with the years of evidence that show Apple values thinness very highly?
post #34 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I agree completely, anyone who has followed Apple for any length of time knows they would not consider a slide-out keyboard. They made that prototype to expose a leak (or else it is just chaff).

I don't think they will come out with it, but anyone who's followed Apple will also know that they will make complete u-turns on there statements. Bit like Steve jobs saying smartphones arnt the future a year before the iPhone.

An option to have a slide out keyboard could be good though, in landscape mode the keyboad is basically useless as it takes up the whole screen.
post #35 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotScott View Post

a fifth prototype was said to have a mouse.

hahahaaha
post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobrk View Post

A 6th prototype had a rotary dial.

hahahahaha
post #37 of 93
I don't think the "training wheel" idea has much to stand on. The iphone/ipod keyboard destroys every other touch interface keyboard. I support many "low end" users that barely can use a keyboard and they have no issues on the iphone touch screen.

Don't think production of that model would be worth it's while.
2010 17" MBP and many i devices.

Former Owner of multiple generations of Mac's all the way back to the Performa 6400.
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2010 17" MBP and many i devices.

Former Owner of multiple generations of Mac's all the way back to the Performa 6400.
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post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal 9000 View Post

How about a floppy drive or an ADB keyboard?

Hell no, way to young stuff!

Wait until an iPhone can handle texas instrument magnetic strips or even the punch cards used in 70's. Or maybe Steve O'Mighty may have apps loaded on to a jesusPhone from papyrus scrolls!
post #39 of 93
Slide out keyboard? What crap is that, what, did Apple start walking backwards or something?
post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlevier View Post

A seventh prototype was said to have a dial controller styled after the original Pong.

bwahahahaa
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