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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 94
    Given how fast one can type on an iPhone keyboard it seems extremely unlikely that Apple would spend any energy on such a project.
  • Reply 3 of 94
    Make that 4 models. I hear they are working on one that uses a stylus as well.
  • Reply 4 of 94
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,941member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 94
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 94
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 94
    a fifth prototype was said to have a mouse.
  • Reply 8 of 94
    Instead of a slide out keyboard why not a slide out gamepad?
  • Reply 9 of 94
    A 6th prototype had a rotary dial.
  • Reply 10 of 94
    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....
  • Reply 11 of 94
    A seventh prototype was said to have a dial controller styled after the original Pong.
  • Reply 12 of 94
    Adobe Flash will make it's debut on the iPhone 5.
  • Reply 13 of 94
    an eight prototype will have flash, but once you boot it up its out of battery
  • Reply 14 of 94
    I just read on macrumors theres an ninth prototype that boots off cassette.
  • Reply 15 of 94
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 94
    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...
  • Reply 17 of 94
    ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member
    10th prototype that only interfaces with the controller for Steel Batallion
  • Reply 18 of 94
    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?
  • Reply 19 of 94
    Instead of a slide out keyboard why not a slide out gamepad?
  • Reply 20 of 94
    phizzphizz Posts: 142member
    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.
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