Leaked next-gen iPhone 'real deal,' says expert

Fit and finish, timing make it likely Gizmodo's iPhone is what Apple will sell this summer

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Gizmodo noted that the feature set fulfilled most wish lists. "They've delivered many of the features people have been waiting for ... while at the same time upgrading everything else," the blog said.

That, however, is one reason why people might want to be skeptical of the find, countered Vronko. "Since when does Apple give so much of what people want at the same time?" he asked, pointing out that the company marches to its own beat and doesn't tend to fulfill every customer request. "It would be unusual for Apple to make so many user-demanded changes in one shot," Vronko opined.

Gizmodo posted only one photograph of the inside of the new iPhone, but Vronko said he still expected this summer's model to sport an Apple A4 system on a chip, or SOC, the same one used in the new iPad. Or if not the very same A4, a derivative. "The key to making the battery last a long time in a phone is not how much the processor [requires] when it's running tasks, but how much it doesn't consume when it's not, how quickly it completes a task and goes into idle," said Vronko.

Gizmodo didn't say whether it believes the screen is a traditional LCD or based on the newer organic LED technology. Vronko, who has speculated before about Apple turning to OLED, said that the newer display technology would yield significantly longer battery life than the iPhone 3GS, with its LCD screen, is capable of. "OLED screens are quite available, and Apple can certainly justify putting one in the iPhone with its profit margins," Vronko said. "Again, I'm kind of surprised that they wouldn't go to OLED."

He also said there is only a 50-50 chance that Apple has bumped up the system memory of the iPhone from the 3GS's 256MB to 512MB. "The limited form of multitasking that Apple has in iPhone 4 doesn't require them to go to 512MB," he said. On the other hand, video chat would benefit from more RAM.

And the flat back would let Apple place a complete or partial touchscreen on the reverse side of the iPhone down the road. "It could easily be a capacitive touchscreen for touch on the back, maybe for a modified keyboard, a split-style keyboard," said Vronko. "Think of a musical instrument," he said.

Although Apple previewed the new iPhone 4 operating system earlier this month and said it would ship this summer, it has not confirmed whether it will issue new hardware at the same time, and if so, when any updated iPhone would ship.

Apple did not reply to a request seeking comment on the Gizmodo post and the claims by Gruber that the device had been stolen from the company.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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