We, as well as many others, were expecting an iPhone 5 instead of the iPhone 4S, and in fact we have a source who held the device in his hand. We also told by a different source why the iPhone 5 was not launched.
Now, Business Insider has linked up with a source who didn't just hold the iPhone 5, he spent about two weeks with an iPhone 5 prototype.
It validates our earlier reporting on the iPhone 5 and its existence. We didn't necessarily expect anyone to believe our assertions about the iPhone. BI, however, is a different story.
There are, however, differences between our sources and theirs in terms of why the phone was ultimately rejected.
Our information was that developers were working up to the very end, trying to get the iPhone 5 done in time for an October launch. However, problems with the manufacturing of the curved screen on the device were not ironed out by the time of the iPhone 4S launch, so the device was tabled, and will probably be what we see in 2012.
BI's insider says that it was another axing by Steve Jobs. He apparently was not happy with the fact that the device had a 4-inch screen, larger than prior iPhones, calling it "fragmentation." If that was indeed the case, it would have meant we might never have seen an iPhone with a larger screen, except that Jobs has now passed away.
He held sway over Apple product development with an iron fist. With new CEO Tim Cook in place, we might indeed see a larger-screened iPhone, which many feel is necessary as larger screens are all the rage in Android smartphones.
BI's source played with a prototype, not a finished product. Our source used a near-production quality model.
Among the key points he made.
- The new iPhone 5 was supposed to have an aluminum back, similar to the iPad 2.
- Eventually, Apple wants to use its "liquid metal" technology to make colored iPhones. Apple purchased exclusive rights to the use of liquid metal earlier.
- The prototype's home button "was not a physical press button. You could touch it and hold it and physically reboot the device." It's unclear what that means, exactly, but it sounds more like a capacitive button than a pure soft button.
- Engineers said that the iPhone 5 was supposed to have a 10 megapixel rear-facing camera. The iPhone 4S eventually ended up with an 8MP camera.
- The prototype had Siri, but it was called "Assistant," which was actually a rumored name for Siri.
In addition, some prototype-only "features:"
- The prototype was much faster than a normal iPhone, but that was due to the fact that Apple had removed the limiter is uses on shipping devices. Its battery life was terrible, because of that.
- The prototype had a screen with a "messed-up" color profile, but this was actually a good thing, meaning the iPhone 5 was going to have a better screen with improved colors. The reason, he said, was that Apple tends to "ugly up" features it is improving in its prototypes in order to disguise them.
Now if only Apple employees could hang onto their prototypes.
Really, we wouldn't be broken up about it. The iPhone 4S did not include LTE, and the iPhone 5 would not have, either.
Assuming the information about Jobs objecting to the size of the iPhone 5's screen is true, or even if it were not, and our information is the more correct of the two, we fully expect that Apple will release the iPhone 5 ... not a new one, this one, that was nearly complete, next year.
Unless, as is Apple's trend, it comes up with something even better.