The iPhone 4.0 appears to have leaked online but while the new iPhone specs seem to fit with what we’ve been expecting, there are still some iPhone 4.0 mysteries to be solved. Here’s our rundown of the most pressing iPhone 4.0 unanswered questions…
1 What are those seams for?
When the first pictures of the iPhone 4.0 leak popped up, we thought the seams on the side of the design might be there to allow for a user replaceable battery. That now seems like wishful thinking. The seams apparently don’t have any practical function so are perhaps there purely for aesthetic reasons. The flat, metallic look of the new iPhone recalls the work of Dieter Rams whose work for Braun influenced the design of the iPod and definitely inspired the original iPhone calculator.
2 Why the slightly transparent plastic back?
Rumours of different coloured iPhone models have been around ever since the first iPhone emerged. The slightly transparent plastic back of the iPhone 4.0 could point to a return to the age of the iMac G3 which famously came in a range of eye-popping colours. The use of a plastic back is also likely to be down to the need to provide good reception. The iPad has an aluminum back but the 3G version has space at the top for the antenna, the smaller, thinner iPhone 4.0 doesn’t have that luxury. The plastic back on the iPhone 4.0 leaked model may not even be the final design. Apple filed an iPhone patent for a model with a strong ceramic back in 2006.
3 Why ditch the old iPhone design?
The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are actually the odd ones out in the current Apple product line. The curved back and chrome trim of the iPhone 3GS doesn’t follow the same design language as the aluminum styling of the Macbook Pro and the iMac. The squared look of the iPhone 4.0 leak actually makes sense when you consider the iPad and Jonathan Ives’ love of Dieter Rams’ simple design ethic.
4 How did it escape?
The iPhone 4.0 that’s currently in the hands of Gizmodo was apparently found in a bar in Redwood City, California. Redwood City is only 15 miles away from Apple’s base in Cupertino. To test phones properly, you have to use them out in the real world where they’ll come into contact with other wireless signals and interference. That need to test phones in the wild would explain why this iPhone 4.0 model was coddled in a iPhone 3GS mimicking disguise. Gizmodo hasn’t revealed how the phone came into its possession but John Gruber of the Daring Fireball claims that Gizmodo bought the iPhone 4.0 from whoever found it.
5 What will Apple do next?
If the iPhone 4.0 model that’s been revealed online is genuine, Apple will want to recover it. That could mean simply asking for it to be returned or using more serious legal measures. There is speculation that Apple deliberately leaked iPhone 4.0 to test the new design on the public but given its previous obsessive approach to secrecy that seems unlikely. Leaving the phone lying around in a bar would also be a pretty clumsy way of going about it. Don’t expect Apple to confirm or deny anything until it’s ready to really launch the new iPhone, most likely at WWDC 2010 in June. We’d expect Steve Jobs to pretty peeved right now.
Let us know: what questions do you have about the mysterious iPhone 4.0?