Two videos from Vietnamese website Tinhte [Google Translation] making the rounds of the Internet this morning claimed to show an internal build of the soon-to-be-announced iOS 5 running on a prototype white unit of the iPhone 5. The videos generated quite a debate on several blogs and among iOS developers on Twitter as a completely new multitasking system, folders and settings are demoed. Whilst many initially reported the iPhone shown in the videos was a 64 GB iPhone 5 running iOS 5, further inspection of the videos revealed the prototype unit (likely an iPhone 4) is running an old internal build of iOS 4.0 – carrying build number 8A216. Of course Apple might have changed the number of a “real” iOS 5 build to prevent people from leaking it, but we think that’s very unlikely. Plus, the iPhone sports old Calculator and Voice Memos icons – the Golden Master version of iOS 4.0 carried build number 8A293, so this might be an internal seed tested before the first developer betas released last year.
This build is interesting for a couple of reasons. First off, it shows Apple had been considering an alternative, Exposè-like interface for switching between applications – a UI Apple eventually discarded in the public version of iOS 4.0 for the icon-based multitasking tray. The Exposè design is very similar to jailbreak tweaks like Multifl0w in the way it displays apps in the background through a preview of their actual windows, rather than simple icons. The internal multitasking implementation features snappy and elegant animations, alongside a new placement for Spotlight search on top of running applications. The videos also showcase a different folder creation system with a smaller overlay on top of the device’s Springboard. In the settings, there are a series of preference panels like direct Facebook integration (perhaps linked to MediaStream) and “file sharing”, although no further details are provided. Update: as @chronic reminds us, File Sharing was enabled in the iOS 4 developer betas to let devs control sharing with iTunes through an on/off switch.
It is possible that these features are still being considered for iOS 5 – and especially in the case of file sharing, that would make sense as Apple is working on a Mac-to-Mac file sharing protocol called “AirDrop” for the upcoming OS X Lion.
The device shown in the videos also runs some Apple internal applications, and has a series of extra settings that suggest the build is legit and somehow leaked by Tinhte – which has a good track record when it comes to Apple rumors and products leaks. It is unclear whether this is a real white iPhone 4, an updated version of the device, or a simple mod – but the fact that it’s got 64 GB of storage seems to confirm the iPhone itself is legit, too.
Update: Here’s an interesting coincidence – it was exactly a year ago today when a screenshot showing Facebook integration in the iPhone’s Address Book surfaced online. One year later, and we’re still speculating. The feature, never officially implemented by Apple, was rumored to be aimed at letting users link contacts to social profiles on Facebook. This seems to back up the fact that these videos are showing an old internal build of iOS 4 with functionalities that may or may not be unveiled in iOS 5 at the WWDC.