Remember how disappointed everyone was back in October when Apple announced an iPhone 4S and not an iPhone 5?
Everyone had been led to believe by scores of reports that there would be a revolutionary new iPhone with a bigger screen and a new slimmer look.
Well, it turns out the “iPhone 5” – or at least, a fully redesigned iPhone – was real and it was scrapped only months before the iPhone 4S was announced.
We’ve been told this by an industry source who has been right about future Apple products in the past.
We have not been able to verify what he told us with a second source. So we’re still treating these details as rumors. You should probably still read this post with a nice fat dose of salt.
The story our source told us does, however, fit into a broader narrative that is currently being passed around the industry. Because of that we thought you’d like to hear what we heard and make a judgment for yourself.
So, here’s what we were told.
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.
This source said that he spent about two weeks with one prototype version of this phone.
The prototype had a bigger screen than the current iPhone. It was 4″ diagonal, like this Samsung phone.
Image: Dylan Love
The phone our source played with was not production quality. It was made in-house, out of prototyping material, just like this model.
The new phones were supposed to have aluminum backs like the iPad 2.
Eventually, our source hears, Apple wants to use its “liquid metal” technology to make colored iPhones.
Liquid Metal is like paint made out of aluminum, full-saturated with color. Scratch it, and the color remains.
The prototype our source played with had a screen with a messed up color profile…
…this leads our source to believe that the iPhone 5 was going to have a nicer screen with better colors.
Why? He says Apple tends to “ugly up” features it is actually improving in some of its prototypes to disguise them.
The prototype’s home button “was not a physical press button. You could touch it and hold it and physically reboot the device.”
Our source says the prototype was “squished” and “flatter” just like the pictures on the Internet guessed.
The prototype was MUCH faster than normal iPhones, but that’s because it had its limiter removed to disguise its actual power. Its battery life sucked.
Engineers told our source that the new phone was supposed to have a 10 megapixel lens.
Finally, our source said the prototype had Siri, but it was called “Assistant.”
So why did the new iPhone not happen?
Our source doesn’t claim to know.He says the rumor among Apple employees is that Steve Jobs was unhappy with the bigger screen because it “fragmented” iPhones, Apple’s big argument against Android is the way all the different phones from different manufacturers fragment that operating system.