According to new shots showing alleged leaked parts for the upcoming iPhone 5, website MacPost.net (via MacRumors) shows a white back cover from an Apple internal prototype iPhone dated June 7, 2011, labeled N94 and EVT (Engineering Verification Test). In Apple’s prototype design cycle, the EVT monicker is one step ahead of DVT, which stands for Design Verification Test. As you can see from the purported leaked part, the design of the back cover is largely similar (if not the same) to the current-gen iPhone 4, adding more speculation to the rumors suggesting the next-generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 5, will share the same design of the existing iPhone, only adding a new processor, better camera, and other minor speed bumps.
There’s been a bit of confusion in the past months regarding rumors floating around Apple’s next iPhone. Whereas the N94 and N93 codenames found in the iOS 5.0 SDK (actually, N94 showed up in iOS 4.3) clearly referred to a device running the same A5 processor of the iPad 2 (the iPhone 4 has an A4 processor), multiple sources couldn’t agree on whether Apple was on track to deliver one iPhone this Fall — the iPhone 5 — with a major redesign, a new iPhone with the same design but better specs, or two iPhones aimed at different markets and users.
For this reason, in the most recent weeks a differentiation in rumors has arisen to separate the iPhone 5 from an alleged “iPhone 4S”. The “4S” name, used as an unofficial monicker for the first time by 9to5mac in April, was initially used in regards to a prototype iPhone 4 with an A5 chip reportedly sent to developers for testing — thus not necessarily representing a final product — but has evolved with time into a widely-accepted rumor indicating a second product from Apple that could also refer to a cheaper iPhone the company is working on for pre-paid markets.
Again, there is a lot of confusion around the terms “iPhone 5″, “next-generation iPhone”, and “iPhone 4S”. However, sticking to SDK findings and reliable photographs of unreleased models — not just rumors without evidence — might be the best chance to guess what’s coming in October.
First off, N94 refers to an iPhone carrying the A5 processor, an obvious choice for Apple. With increased performances, low-power consumption and a huge leap forward in terms of graphics rendering, the A5 has been a success on the iPad and there’s no reason why Apple wouldn’t use it in a future iPhone. For reference, the current-gen iPhone 4 was codenamed N90 and N92 for its GSM and CDMA variations, respectively. N93 and N94 might be related to carrier variations of the same iPhone model or two new entirely different products — this can’t confirmed. However, N94 isn’t only present in the iOS 5 SDK: aside from today’s MacPost pictures, BGR showed photos of an unreleased iPhone model running on T-Mobile’s 3G bands back in April. The iPhone was white, like today’s back cover shots, and it was codenamed N94, running a test version of iOS with several Apple-only apps and utilities. Furthermore, MacRumors is now associating those photos from April to a new part leak that seems to depict a redesigned antenna for the iPhone 4-like new iPhone, whatever it may be. The iPhone 4 antenna design was behind the so-called Antennagate media debacle last year, so it would make sense for Apple to redesign it only to avoid further discussion.
Rounding up the evidence about N94 — again, one of the two unreleased iPhone models mentioned by the iOS SDK — it appears that this model will have an iPhone 4-like design, a slightly redesigned antenna, an A5 processor, and it’s been tested on T-Mobile.
However, it’s still not clear whether what we call “iPhone 5″ is actually a tweaked iPhone 4 (thus N94), or an all-new model that hasn’t surfaced in the SDK and leaked parts just yet. For as much as new cables and connectors suggest Apple is tweaking the internal specs of an iPhone, they don’t offer confirmation of the device’s design and external look.
To bring some clarity to this whole iPhone 4S/iPhone 5/two iPhones debate we’ve collected the most notable rumors from the past months, in order to see, now that a possible release date is nearing, how speculation evolved and changed over time. (more…)