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Summary:

One would think that keeping a tighter grip on iPhone 4 pre-launch hardware would be somewhat of a priority at Apple right now. Nonetheless, another iPhone 4 prototype has fallen into the hands of someone outside of Cupertino.

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One would think that keeping a tighter grip on iPhone 4 pre-launch hardware would be somewhat of a priority at Apple right now, especially given that the company has already failed to do so once before. Nonetheless, another iPhone 4 prototype, and one that appears to be much closer to a retail hardware device, has fallen into the hands of someone outside of Cupertino.

Photos of a different unit which look almost exactly like the iPhone 4 handset purchased by tech blog Gizmodo appeared on Vietnamese forum Taoviet.vn. The only differences in the case design appear to be the inclusion of the phone’s capacity (16GB) in place of the XXGB that appeared on the Gizmodo phone, and the lack of screws in the bottom of the device.

If the leaks are accurate, and it’s becoming very hard to say they aren’t what with all the confirmation in the form of legal action by Apple itself, then it means the original leak didn’t affect the device’s design plans at all. It still appears to have the same glass/plastic back and aluminum border that we saw before, and the same screen size. A teardown also reveals the internals haven’t changed, and that the iPhone 4 sports an Apple branded processor, possibly the same as or a successor to the A4 chip that powers the iPad.

This iPhone appears to be powered up, and possibly running some sort of pre-release testing firmware. According to MacRumors, it’s something that’s not uncommon with tester hardware, and at least some of the visual elements seem to resemble what we’ve seen in the past. This one appears to be codenamed “Bonfire!”

What’s interesting about the leak itself is that even though it comes from a Vietnamese source, it’s said to have originated in the U.S. The forum poster apparently claims that a Vietnamese businessman bought the iPhone in the U.S. along with an iPad on a business trip. So either Apple is very sloppy in their own backyard, or this is yet another example of an expertly managed hype-building campaign.

If Apple sticks to its standard release timeframe, then it makes perfect sense to be seeing a product this far along at this point in the game. WWDC kicks off next month on June 7, and we’ll almost definitely see the unveiling of the new iPhone hardware during the keynote on June 8. With less than a month to go, there’s little time for big changes, so expect to see something pretty much exactly like this gracing the shelves of your local Apple Store or AT&T kiosk late June or early July.

Check out the photos of the new device in the gallery below.  

  1. I say this is yet another example of an expertly managed hype-building campaign. Apple marketing can be seriously clever.

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  2. oooooooooo!!! i waaaaaaant!!

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  3. can you not read?!?!? it quite clearly says inferno, not bonfire :P

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    1. Simon the Screen does say Inferno, but the program running is called “Bonfire”.

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  4. Looks beautiful indeed. The removal of the glossy backing was really a good idea. The form factor is also a bit more pleasant, at least from the looks of it, as I haven’t felt it in my hand of course.
    I just hope this leak won’t hurt Apple’s business and also won’t hurt the Vietnamese people who currently have the phone.

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  5. I’m actually a bit surprised that Apple have ditched the smoothed edges and corners and gone for this hard edged look. It seems like a regression to an early noughties design, but that’s just a personal aesthetic preference.

    Is the screen smaller than the current iPhones by the way? I find it odd that some of the HTC phones have bigger screens and Apple are scaling it down.

    Time will tell.

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  6. iPhone sales fall for the first time in the U.S. Android sales overtake iPhone. This is pure Jobs/Willy Wonka hype. The ‘story’ of this phone changes every week. I don’t believe we’ve seen a tenth of the truth, yet.

    Apple reports it stolen only after photos are published. High tech crime unit decides they should be able to get some publicity from the biggest tech story of the year. Roughs up journalist in an illegal search so he won’t mess with Apple again.

    All because, just this once, it was a real leaked iPhone! Shame Apple!

    I don’t like the design, but it is infinitely more practical than previous offerings. Finally my Invisible Shield won’t peel away at the edges! All the same, I hope Jon Ive can make it look a bit more appealing before it goes on sale. I like that it’s 20% thinner and the flat back is a must. I just wish the screen was bigger and 16:9.

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  7. yet another brilliant marketing ploy by apple. apple will never go back to the box, squarish design like the old iPod. they prefer a much smoother look. i have seen this prototype before in youtube (being sold as knock-offs in third world countries) and it’s a fake. u think now that it’s out in the open (if indeed this is the real mccoy), that apple would release the same one? where’s the element of surprise? shock value perhaps? they are way smarter than that.

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  8. @ SIMON
    The screen says Inferno, but the programs codename is “Bonfire”.

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  9. Me too!!!!

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