An "engineering sample" for Apple's next iPhone.
They may or may not be the real deal, but somebody has gone to the trouble of creating purported "engineering samples" of Apple's next iPhone, as well as a smaller version of theiPad.
In a pair of reports today, tech site GottaBeMobile offers photos and speculation about both sample devices, which the outlet says come courtesy of "a trusted source inside the Apple supply chain."
Of note, neither of these units is functional or looks anything like a finished product. Instead, the, iPhone looks to be nothing more than milled aluminum, while the iPad-like device is made out of molded plastic.
The bottom side of the smaller iPad design.
Between the two, the smaller iPad appears to be a more complete representation of a product. It sports a smoothed, orange facade that GottaBeMobile estimates to be about 8.4 inches tall and 5.65 inches wide. Similar to recenti Phone 5 computer mock-ups (which have been based on rumors), the device has a bottom with a pill-shaped dock adapter, and nearby speaker and microphone grills that are a bit of a throwback to the underside of Apple's first iPhone.
As for the iPhone 5 sample, the noteworthy changes are a taller screen as well as what appears to be a hole for a microphone between where the rear camera and LED flash have been on the iPhone 4 and 4S. Apple currently puts its second microphone, which is used for noise-canceling, on the top of the device, right next to the headphone jack.
For those hoping that Apple is, in fact, at work on a smaller iPad, this ain't exactly the smoking gun. However their proximity to a recent pair of reports from The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch as well as Bloomberg suggesting that Apple was gearing up for mass production of such a device, makes the "samples" noteworthy.