Prototype iPhone obtained by Gizmodo was late pre-production model

Thu, Apr 22, 2010


Well, we sure hope you liked the leaked photos of the next-gen iPhone, because the device obtained by Gizmodo appears to be what the next iteration of the iPhone will look like when it presumably goes on sale later this summer.

Even when it was clear that the leaked photos of the iPhone 4G were authentic, some still questioned just how representative the photos were of what Apple was planning for the final product. Some speculated that the decidedly unique form factor was simply a pre-production prototype subject to change in the coming weeks.

But now it appears that what ya see is what ya get.

The iPhone obtained by Gizmodo had two bar codes on the back, with one of them being “N90_DVT_GE4X_0493.” Gibberish, right? Well, not if you’re John Gruber.

Citing sources close to Apple, Gruber explains just what exactly the above bar code signifies.

According to several sources (of mine) familiar with the project, “N90” is Apple’s codename for the fourth-generation GSM iPhone, slated for release this June or July. “DVT” stands for “design verification test”, an Apple production milestone. The DVT milestone is very late in the game; based on this, I now believe that this unit very closely, if not exactly, resembles what Apple plans to release.

Given Apple’s obsession with product secrecy, you have to imagine that they view any leak, no matter how minute, with serious concern. But given that the upcoming iPhone 4G sports an entirely new form factor, you have to imagine that this leak is particularly damaging to Apple, or at least in the minds of Apple executives. To wit: If, for example, Gizmodo leaked photos of the iPhone 3GS a few months before its release, it wouldn’t have been as grave a situation. In fact, most people would have probably yawned while casually mentioning that the new device looks more or less the same as the iPhone 3G. And so it goes.

All in all, this week’s episode was simply a perfect storm of bad luck that Steve Jobs and co. simply can’t forget soon enough.


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