A bigger screen. An intriguing new teardrop design. These were just some of the few changes users were expecting to see in the iPhone 5. Only thing was that Apple was forced to scrap its iPhone 5 plans, depending on who you talk to, and release the iPhone 4S instead. While only Apple knows for sure whether the iPhone 4S had always been in the pipeline or if it was merely introduced as a stop-gap measure, BusinessInsider this past weekend claimed to have talked with a solid industry source who claims to have played with a real live iPhone 5 prototype.
Take this all with a grain of salt, as always, but here’s what they found out.
Plans to release the iPhone 5 were allegedly scrapped just a few short months before the iPhone 4S was introduced.
Our source said that Apple engineers he knows thought until about three months before the iPhone 4S was released, that a new fully re-designed iPhone was going to be Apple’s next big announcement.
BusinessInsider’s source claims to have spent a few weeks with an iPhone 5 prototype and says that, as has been rumored, it featured a larger 4-inch screen. Design wise, it was to feature an aluminum back and sported a form factor that was both thinner and flatter than the iPhone 4. This, of course, aligns with many of the leaked iPhone 5 cases and schematics that appeared online in the weeks preceding the iPhone 4S announcement.
Interestingly, the source notes that Apple is interested in using their licensed “liquid metal” technology to make colored iPhones. It certainly worked for Apple’s iBooks and the overwhelmingly popular iPod Mini line many years back, so doing the same with the iPhone seems like a no-brainer.
Further, this alleged iPhone 5 prototype had a capacitive home button. “You could touch it and hold it and physically reboot the device,” the report reads. Hmm, sounds a bit fishy to us.
Another tidbit is that this prototype iPhone 5 had extremely poor battery life on account of its larger screen. Apple, more so than most other companies, places a premium on extracting as much out of a device’s battery as possible. Currently, some users are experiencing battery glitches with the iPhone 4S so don’t ever expect Apple to release a larger screen iPhone with subpar battery life.
Some other rumored features included a 10 megapixel camera and a more fleshed out version of Siri called “Assistant.” Indeed, the Siri app Apple purchased in 2009 was actually more full featured than the Siri that shipped with the iPhone 4S. To that end, expect Siri to grow and expand by leaps and bounds in the years to come as Apple slowly but surely extends its capabilities to new and exciting heights.
So why, in the end, did we not see an iPhone 5?
Well, the report claims that Steve Jobs wasn’t too keen on the bigger screen because it “fragmented” the iPhone much in the same way that the Android ecosystem is fragmented on account of varying form factors and screen sizes across devices.