Someone left a prototype of Apple’s next-gen iPhone disguised as a 3GS in a Redwood City bar. It was only a matter of time before the device wound up in some tech site’s hands—in this case, Gizmodo’s.
Look at it, people. It’s absolutely hideous.
Seriously? A flat, sandwich-like brick? I am sorely disappointed. It looks like something some enterprising young Chinese businessman would sell in one of the myriad shady stalls in malls across the Philippines. In fact, look around a bit and it’s likely you’ll find something that looks something, if not exactly, like this. One could argue that the bigger battery and whatever else changed hardware-wise necessitated such a bland form factor; I imagine a bezel would look tacky on something as thick as that. But still, I refuse to believe that Jon Ive and crew, with their impressive portfolio of devices, were unable to come up with a better body for it. The only theory left is that this misplaced prototype is so early, even the form factor is still open to modification; if this is true I sincerely hope Ive has come up with something better.
The next-gen iPhone is beautiful under the hood, to be sure. Among the new features in the next-gen prototype are a front-facing camera (something that would’ve made perfect sense to include two years ago), camera flash (probably still no Flash of the Adobe kind, though), what looks like a higher-resolution display, and and a bigger battery (the other innards have been shrunk to make space for it). Gizmodo doesn’t mention what processor it uses, though it will probably sport a faster chip than the 3GS.
Now listen to this: it uses a micro-SIM, just like the iPad. A MICRO-SIM. Haven’t heard of it? Of course—most no one uses it. Cutting up your regular SIM to fit the micro-SIM slot is a trivial task, but you nonetheless have to wonder why Apple would put such an obscure technology into what is arguably the world’s most popular phone. Perhaps they’re taking a risk and trying to move the industry forward by forcing their sizable user base to adapt to the micro-SIM standard. Perhaps the internal makeup of the phone simply cannot accommodate a regular SIM.
Despite its sheer hideousness, I would still buy the next-gen iPhone if I had enough money. The iPhone OS is still the best mobile operating system anyone can get; Apple’s App Store, draconian though its management is, still makes it worth buying. Nonetheless, if this wayward prototype turns out to be the final product, I would be sorely disappointed. Specially in recent years, Apple has been leading the industry, creating effective products and forcing competitors to follow their lead. If this is how Jobs and gang want the future of mobile phones to look, I’m not so sure I want them to keep leading.