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When it comes to speculation about hardware, I like going to the code. Code doesn’t have “sources,” questionable or otherwise, and if something turns up there, you can be relatively sure it isn’t a ploy to deceive you (unless we’re being subtly manipulated, but that’s a conspiracy theory for another time). The recent iPhone 3.0 beta release includes code references to five as-yet unreleased products, four of which were spotted by Stephen Troughton-Smith, the same developer who unleashed tethering while playing around with his iPhone’s carrier bundle file.
Troughton-Smith discovered references to an “iPod3,1,” “iPhone3,1,” “iFPGA,” and “iProd0,1,” all of which are new additions to a property list file that has previously been found to reference existing products (“iPhone1,1”, “iPhone1,2″,”iPod1,1″,”iPod2,1”) that use mobile OS X as their operating system. In addition, Boy Genius Report found another reference to “iPod2,2” which is confirmed by MacRumors. Back in January, we told you about another new product, “iPhone2,1” mentioned in the same reference file, and it is still present, even though we haven’t seen a hardware release to correspond with the reference.
While these references may indicate new products, it’s worth taking a step back and considering what else they may signify. First, it’s likely that some might represent internal testing devices that will never see the light of day. Even though we consistently make much of potential new products, it’s easy to forget that Apple (s aapl) is testing hardware prototypes in its labs all the time — the company does, after all, pride itself on innovation, is dependent on it to maintain the bottom line.
So just because there is an “iPhone2,1” and an “iPhone3,1” mentioned, don’t expect to see two radically different devices released come summer. They might just be two generations of prototypes that will become “iPhone2,1” in the final code when the device is actually released. Likewise, Ars Technica points out that the “iFPGA” could be something that uses a field programmable array, and not meant for wide release since it lacks the numbering scheme of the others. The “iPod2,2” might be a minor update to the iPod touch, while the “iPod3,1” is probably the next generation in early testing.
That leaves the mysterious “iProd0,1”, which is just begging for speculation. It’s unique in that it breaks from both the iPod and iPhone name schemes, which would have those hoping for a tablet or large-format iPod touch-type device salivating. Unfortunately, it could also just as easily be something being tested internally that will never see the light of day, but here’s hoping.