People should stop whining about a the smaller connector. We'd all be stuck with 8-track if technology didn't move forward. It has to change sometime and the current connector looks like a Soviet Union era connector. There will certainly be an adapter available likely in the box and at low cost otherwise.
And, yup, it's not micro-USB. Apple likes proprietary connectors and it's well known they are working on a smaller 30-pin.
The part is real. Machining this just for fun would have been one huge and time-consuming PITA for no gain. As for whether this is the new iPhone part that Apple will use who knows as Apple always has many different prototypes that they test. Apple doesn't even know which on they are going to use until they do all their prototyping and testing.
I would have liked to have seen the same form factor even if it was the same weight and thickness as the current iPhone but I guess Apple determined in it's testing that the best way to accomodate a larger screen with same the width as the current iPhone (therefore enabling one hand operation) was to make it thinner and longer. The same width and thinner does of course have the side benefit of actually making it easier to use with one hand as your hand can wrap around it easier. This is better for those with smaller hands (and bodes well for all the buyers in China, whose population is typically smaller framed than a lot of the rest of the world).
Moving the headphone port to the bottom, which was likely a necessity to increase the screen size, is way better for not having the headphone cable flop over the front of the screen and also for putting it in your pocket and retreiving it with the screen facing you in portrait mode and not having to flip it around. But then the world is slowly moving to bluetooth headsets and other wireless technologies for getting the iPhone audio and video transferred so that will begin to matter less and less as time goes on.
The SIM tray is slightly smaller but the phone likely uses the same micro-SIM. They did this because it was possible to make it smaller in order to save space. It seems to me it would be way smaller if the new SIM standard that Apple spearheaded was being employed. Also, the approval of this standard probably came a bit to late for Apple to employ it in their new iPhone.
Magsafe? Nope. Many have enumerated the reasons why. But, this doesn't mean that inductive charging won't come at some point. It will for sure. Cables are a hassle. It just won't be the current Magsafe standard.
As for increasing the length of the iPhone while keeping the width the same, one has to think about how these electronic devices are built. IC's and circuit boards are oriented basically in two planes and as such are layered over one another. Therefore space the 'Z' plane is not as important as room in the 'X' and 'Y' planes. If there is not enough room in the Y plane extra space can be used in the X plane. Layering these IC's and circuit boards therefore requires more X and Y space than Z space. To pack everything that Apple needed to into the phone in order to make the screen size larger they simply had to make the phone longer. Making it thicker was not an option, given their previous thicknesses, nor would it have helped as much given the X and Y space matters more. I am not sure how battery technology affected this, likely not too much, but the fact that batteries have been developed that can be molded into any shape and thickness for use in such a phone bodes well in the future for such a thinner and longer phone.
Now that we have a pretty good idea of what the future iPhone might look like (or not) I can't wait to find out what new features the phone will have other than the givens of larger screen size, smaller connector, better speakers and better camera. I don't really care much about NFC. It just means I wave something different other than my credit card in front of a reader which doesn't really make my life any easier or less expensive, plus opens up a new host of fraud problems (and possibity of problems paying for something if I lose my phone).
As usual, we can see that Apple does a lot of thinking when they design new devices.
Edited by Apple II Plus - 6/7/12 at 8:50am