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Credit: Gizmodo

The internet was a-buzz this weekend after Gizmodo got its hands on what seems to be a genuine prototype fourth generation (4G) iPhone. The device was “left in a bar in Redwood City” and acquired by the gadget site for $5,000.

Apple was able to wipe the phone remotely before anyone could test it out, but the site’s editors quickly disassembled it to discover its new hardware components. Their efforts suggest that the 4G iPhone will have several long-asked-for new features.

  • Longer battery life: Many of the components inside the phone had been miniaturized to make room for a battery that’s about 16% bigger than the current one.
  • A better screen: The screen on the new device is about the same size as the current one (or a little smaller), but it has twice the resolution–960x640 pixels.
  • A micro-sim: Like the iPad, the next iPhone will use a smaller type of mobile phone chip called a MicroSIM. The new format has more on-chip storage, requires less physical space and will also make it difficult to run an iPhone on a non-approved network.
  • A second camera: Presumably this will be for making mobile video calls via iChat. This makes sense since there are also numerous references to iChat in the latest iPhone OS code.
  • A better first camera, and a flash: A common complaint about the iPhone’s camera is the quality of the photographs it takes in low light. A new and improved camera and a flash will address this.

Getting hold of the device is remarkable given Apple’s paranoid attitude towards secrecy. Steve Jobs has reportedly even called to ask for it back.

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Tagged: Computing, Apple, iPhone, hardware, 4G, hardware hacking

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