Review

4th gen. iPhone gets a hands-on review

Gizmodo has managed to one-up Engadget in the 4th generation iPhone news war. They have the device, they've taken it apart, put it back together, and pretty much confirmed its authenticity (the innards contain Apple components). Whether this will be the exact form that the device takes upon launch is still unknown. However, it will likely be close. Here's their teaser video that they posted to YouTube.

Along with two other videos (sorry, they aren't allowing those to be embedded), Gizmodo has taken dozens of photos, provided plenty of specs, and really went all out trying to gather as many details as they could. Unfortunately, they were unable to boot the device into the OS. It seems that Apple remotely killed the phone upon learning of its whereabouts.

The device is said to be 4.5 x 2.31 x .37 inches and weighs 140 grams. It's got a bigger battery, higher resolution screen, a camera flash, front facing camera, and much more. 

Here are all the juicy details (taken straight from Gizmodo):

"What's new

  • Front-facing video chat camera
  • Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
  • Camera flash
  • Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
  • Improved display. It's unclear if it's the 960x460 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the "Connect to iTunes" screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
  • What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
  • Split buttons for volume
  • Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

What's changed

  • The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through. Tapping on the back makes a more hollow and higher pitched sound compared to tapping on the glass on the front/screen, but that could just be the orientation of components inside making for a different sound
  • An aluminum border going completely around the outside
  • Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
  • Everything is more squared off
  • 3 grams heavier
  • 16% Larger battery
  • Internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery"

Below are some photos comparing the new phone to the current 3GS model. For more photos, visit Gizmodo's exclusive review.

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111 Comments

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I think Apple is starting to get practical. You can do a great design without unnecessary slippery curves everywhere, plus it will be easier to fit more battery if the back is flat. The phone still looks great and functional, and I should say more 'manly' or gender neutral and less like a makeup powder box.

Does anyone have any further info on micro sims?
When I'm travelling abroad or going somewhere where I prefer a better camera, I like to take the sim out of my iPhone and take one of my other phones instead so I need to be able to use the same sim in different devices...

hektik said,
Does anyone have any further info on micro sims?
When I'm travelling abroad or going somewhere where I prefer a better camera, I like to take the sim out of my iPhone and take one of my other phones instead so I need to be able to use the same sim in different devices...

You'll need a microsim to sim adapter. It's basically a small piece of plastic. http://microsim-shop.com/

Still looks like a dev unit to me and not the final design (although I wouldn't mind if it is was). Still, I suspect Gizmodo are in some potential hot water over this. Rumor has it this phone was stolen not lost and Apple want it back bad (potential lawsuit). Be interesting to see what happens next (if anything)...

Anyone else starting to think this has been somewhat staged?

We're seeing drips and drabs of tiny footage / crappy resolution photos despite someone having full access to what they believe to have been a misplaced prototype.

Aergan said,
Anyone else starting to think this has been somewhat staged?

We're seeing drips and drabs of tiny footage / crappy resolution photos despite someone having full access to what they believe to have been a misplaced prototype.

There are close up pics, clear as day, when they take the phone apart.

Looks like a China iphone, too squared for me, also i didnt like d micro-sim that sucks, i think it's the worst point, that could make not buying that phone. And it really looks like the horrible Zune!

I hope this thing is just a prototype or something like that, cuz is ugly, i like the desing of the 3g and 3gs.

I think the fact that it booted at one point and now no longer does adds credence to the fact that the phone went missing unintentionally and Apple remotely wiped it. If in fact it ever booted and is actually an Apple prototype.

Hey, from what i understand, the iPhone has only been wiped by Apple, so there still the firmware on the phone? Bring this phone to a jailbreaker!

Now it appears that the phone was stolen at Apple campus. And if it's true, i don't think someone lost if after, so someone sold/gave it to gizmodo or gizmodo stole it at Apple campus! But that's great journalism

Looks like there is going to be a lot to this story, the news around the net is that Gizmodo forked over $10,000 and that the unit was in fact stolen from Apple. This is going to have some serious repercussion for a lot of people...Steve Jobs must be furious right about now, and is going to do some major ass kicking; as in lawsuits.

I like the design. Calling it a copy of the Zune is not really accurate.

You can tell Apple is standardizing their designs. If you look at the uni-body MacBooks, iMacs, iPad, etc. The MacBooks and iMacs have been shipping for a while now. They are following their own design path and it has nothing to do with what the Zune looks like.

Random Dood: Hey Steve...
Steve Jobs: I need that phone back for some testing..
Random Dood: Oh sure, here you...
Random Dood: <slight pause>
Random Door: Ahh... Steve... yeah... about that...

Klownicle said,
Random Dood: Hey Steve...
Steve Jobs: I need that phone back for some testing..
Random Dood: Oh sure, here you...
Random Dood: <slight pause>
Random Door: Ahh... Steve... yeah... about that...

hahahaha brilliant!

Klownicle said,
Random Dood: Hey Steve...
Steve Jobs: I need that phone back for some testing..
Random Dood: Oh sure, here you...
Random Dood: <slight pause>
Random Door: Ahh... Steve... yeah... about that...

LMAO! Followed by lots of screaming I'm sure... (By both sides)...

I have a feeling that someone's balls are going to be in a vice some time today and Jobs will be the person to crank the vice.

Buttons on side are ugly, but i like that the ugly retro bevel is gone and its nice and flat. if I didn't have to use iTunes bloatware and put up with AT&T I'd actually be really interested in this.

thornz0 said,
Buttons on side are ugly, but i like that the ugly retro bevel is gone and its nice and flat. if I didn't have to use iTunes bloatware and put up with AT&T I'd actually be really interested in this.

Like that would ever happen lol. The buttons aren't actually all that bad in my opinion. According to the article, they do serve a purpose and that would be for the camera too, not just volume. That would make sense for them being the way they are.

dogmai said,

Like that would ever happen lol. The buttons aren't actually all that bad in my opinion. According to the article, they do serve a purpose and that would be for the camera too, not just volume. That would make sense for them being the way they are.

Which is why I will never buy an iPhone or another iPod. I don't like the buttons because they're round and stick out too far....like rivets or something *shrug* It's not that I don't like it having buttons.

iPhone 5G will be like phones of the 90's... Apple is bringing back big bulky plastic cases with esposed screws ... design at its best!

Looks a bit like old Sony Ericsons, HTC must be breathing a huge sigh or relief, it is fairly poor the current form is much better.

thealexweb said,
Looks a bit like old Sony Ericsons

You're right actually. Kinda like the T610s. Ugh, that reminds me how much thumbsticks sucked. At least Apple have improved on the design

I'm sure I commented on this earlier, Love that new Design much more. Was going to go to Windows Mobile for my next phone however this might just keep my interest.

Sawyer12 said,
I'm sure I commented on this earlier, Love that new Design much more. Was going to go to Windows Mobile for my next phone however this might just keep my interest.

I keep seeing pictures and now videos and the first thing that comes to mind is "I want one". I have a 3G now and planning to switch to WP7 so they need to make sure that phone really shines when it is released. I'm so close to sticking with it and moving to the new one, if they keep that design.

I love that new design, So much better than the old one. Hope they keep it that wat. I was going to go with Windows Mobile 7 for my next phone however this might just keep my interest. At work we have 3 Androiders and only 2 iPhoners now, Used to be a lot more iPhoners

AfroTrance said,
Who cares about the design? It looks slightly different. Has the hardware changed?

I'd say the hardware has changed quite a bit...

I like if it is indeed the direction that Apple is going with the IPHONE. But here are few things that made me wonder about the reviewer.

"It's unclear if it's the 960x460 display thrown around beforeâ€"it certainly looks like it, with the "Connect to iTunes" screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS."

If the phone was "terminated" over the air upon discovery - how do they know what the Connect to Itunes looks like?

Also one would know if a back that they had removed is made of glass or plastic wouldn't they?

There there has been rumors about this and that and it just so happens to land in the hands of a "TECHHEAD" who posts things online.

Hmmm..

I like if it is indeed the direction that Apple is going with the IPHONE. But here are few things that made me wonder about the reviewer.

"It's unclear if it's the 960x460 display thrown around beforeâ€"it certainly looks like it, with the "Connect to iTunes" screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS."

If the phone was "terminated" over the air upon discovery - how do they know what the Connect to Itunes looks like?

Also one would know if a back that they had removed is made of glass or plastic wouldn't they?

There there has been rumors about this and that and it just so happens to land in the hands of a "TECHHEAD" who posts things online.

Hmmm..

jordan. said,
I can't see apple going with this design. It is too squared off for them. Definitely just a prototype.

It does seem to go against their design choices in the past... That's why I agreed with another poster when they said that it seemed to be inspired by the Zune HD... I wouldn't have agreed normally, but it seems like such a departure for Apple...

if they followed the design of 3g, 3gs which i have dissembled before, they shouldn't collect dust as the screen is vacuum glued to the LCD panel. hardly possible for dust to go in.

NGRaziel said,
Yay, but, is it better or not at NOT collecting dust under the screen ?
I read somewhere (cant remember where) that to prevent this issue they were going to make the digitizer and screen into one unit as opposed to 2. This way it will be sealed. However if your screen breaks I believe it will be more expensive to replace.

addc182 said,
if they could confirm the camera resolution (at about 5MP) i would be sold

Yeh 5MP is what I expect it to be. I just hope the flash is good

Well looks better in those pics but I don't like those seams. I like that is thinner. Didn't look like that on the first pics.

KoL said,
Well looks better in those pics but I don't like those seams. I like that is thinner. Didn't look like that on the first pics.

I am sure the seams will be gone in the final product, after all it is a prototype.

KeR said,

I am sure the seams will be gone in the final product, after all it is a prototype.

Yup. Those Seams are horrid

this exact design has been seen many months ago, if not a year? i can't pinpoint it..
wasn't it already stated this was a asian knockoff?
but whatever, somethings a little odd here
it ain't a bad design, dislike the round buttons on the side though, whats up with that? also, these two buttons are what i'm remembering from a previous design we've all ween around long ago
anyone have an idea?

umm if this is an asian knockoff, it's gotta be the best knock off of all time: because it's been recognized by itunes and xcode

mr.r9 said,
The design is generic, boring, & nothing new.

Don't you mean minimal, exciting and revolutionary? We're talking Apple after all.

mr.r9 said,
The design is generic, boring, & nothing new.

Maybe they should have added a full qwerty that takes up half of the device.

They need to fix the borders around some of the buttons, power, volume etc. Also they need to make it THINNER!!!! We need it thinner then the current iPhone, also add a small (Tiny) curve to the back. Thumbs UP!

EgyptianDuck said,
They need to fix the borders around some of the buttons, power, volume etc. Also they need to make it THINNER!!!! We need it thinner then the current iPhone, also add a small (Tiny) curve to the back. Thumbs UP!

it is thinner, look at the comparison pics with the 3GS.

Edited by KeR, Apr 19 2010, 3:08pm :

It's slightly thinner, and I like the flat surfaces more than the 3gs' curvy ones. Also, it's got a 16% larger battery, and from the other photos it seems like the battery will be replaceable. This phone seems to have absolutely everything anyone had been requesting in terms of hardware. Software-wise, it would be nice if it supported Adobe Flash & Microsoft Silverlight, but both of those technologies threaten the app store's business model so that's more likely than not the reason they'll never be supported or allowed.


I'm not sure what Apple plans on adding hardware-wise to the next generation in Summer 2011. They took care of the high-res screen, the higher megapixel camera, camera flash, front-facing video camera, larger replaceable battery, more memory, faster and new generation cpu ... what else is there to add hardware-wise? I desperately hope the iPhone HD supports UMTS/HSPA+ (21.6 Mbps) instead of just UMTS/HSPA (7.2 Mbps). If it doesn't, that would be a HUGE disappointment for us Canadians whose carriers all run on UMTS/HSPA+ and all allow full tethering.

Edited by sabrex, Apr 19 2010, 4:59pm :

sabrex said,
It's slightly thinner, and I like the flat surfaces more than the 3gs' curvy ones. Also, it's got a 16% larger battery, and from the other photos it seems like the battery will be replaceable. This phone seems to have absolutely everything anyone had been requesting in terms of hardware. Software-wise, it would be nice if it supported Adobe Flash & Microsoft Silverlight, but both of those technologies threaten the app store's business model so that's more likely than not the reason they'll never be supported or allowed.


I'm not sure what Apple plans on adding hardware-wise to the next generation in Summer 2011. They took care of the high-res screen, the higher megapixel camera, camera flash, front-facing video camera, larger replaceable battery, more memory, faster and new generation cpu ... what else is there to add hardware-wise? I desperately hope the iPhone HD supports UMTS/HSPA+ (21.6 Mbps) instead of just UMTS/HSPA (7.2 Mbps). If it doesn't, that would be a HUGE disappointment for us Canadians whose carriers all run on UMTS/HSPA+ and all allow full tethering.

I hope the iPhone 5g will be the best upgrade of its lifetime! That's when i'll be upgrading from my 3G, so...

EgyptianDuck said,
Also they need to make it THINNER!!!! We need it thinner then the current iPhone, also add a small (Tiny) curve to the back.

What? Why? Unless you're wearing horribly tight jeans I don't see the need.

sabrex said,
It's slightly thinner, and I like the flat surfaces more than the 3gs' curvy ones. Also, it's got a 16% larger battery, and from the other photos it seems like the battery will be replaceable. This phone seems to have absolutely everything anyone had been requesting in terms of hardware. Software-wise, it would be nice if it supported Adobe Flash & Microsoft Silverlight, but both of those technologies threaten the app store's business model so that's more likely than not the reason they'll never be supported or allowed.


I'm not sure what Apple plans on adding hardware-wise to the next generation in Summer 2011. They took care of the high-res screen, the higher megapixel camera, camera flash, front-facing video camera, larger replaceable battery, more memory, faster and new generation cpu ... what else is there to add hardware-wise? I desperately hope the iPhone HD supports UMTS/HSPA+ (21.6 Mbps) instead of just UMTS/HSPA (7.2 Mbps). If it doesn't, that would be a HUGE disappointment for us Canadians whose carriers all run on UMTS/HSPA+ and all allow full tethering.

yeah, HSPA+ would be an awesome addition for us in Canada. I'm sure next year they can find more things to change. I'm happy about the screen resolution increase but would have liked to see a bigger screen overall.

profets said,

yeah, HSPA+ would be an awesome addition for us in Canada. I'm sure next year they can find more things to change. I'm happy about the screen resolution increase but would have liked to see a bigger screen overall.

There's nothing I can really think of that needs to be added at this point. The features they added were the ones I always thought should some day be added. I don't think Apple would have added so much so suddenly if not for the competition from the Android phones, especially the Nexus One. With both a Verizon & AT&T model, I think they are out for blood and want to kill their competition as soon as possible.

Edited by sabrex, Apr 20 2010, 12:47am :

Island Dog said,
Interesting design, but PR stunt definitely.

Hmm...doesn't seem like something Apple would do, but it's definitely got people talking.

Mike Brown said,

Hmm...doesn't seem like something Apple would do, but it's definitely got people talking.

I think he was referring to leaking the device to journalists. Leaking information has been talked about a lot when it comes to Apple, and ex employees have confirmed this...

I definitely like that phone design better then the other models... Reminds me of the Samsung:Eternity that one of my friends has but it does look nice.

Lewism said,
Someone is getting fired.

...and I do wonder if it ought to be someone at Gizmodo.
If I lost my phone and somebody found it, I would expect them to return it - and definitely not to disassemble it. That seems to me to be an outrageous way to treat somebody else's property.
And the fact that it is a prototype is not a justification - if anything it makes it morally worse. Journalism is good, but not behaviour like this.

gb8080 said,

...and I do wonder if it ought to be someone at Gizmodo.
If I lost my phone and somebody found it, I would expect them to return it - and definitely not to disassemble it. That seems to me to be an outrageous way to treat somebody else's property.
And the fact that it is a prototype is not a justification - if anything it makes it morally worse. Journalism is good, but not behaviour like this.


oddly .. I completely agree with you. But this leads me to believe that perhaps this whole story is made up. I would hope that the people at gizmodo were given this ipod to leak the story.

jerzdawg said,

oddly .. I completely agree with you. But this leads me to believe that perhaps this whole story is made up. I would hope that the people at gizmodo were given this ipod to leak the story.

The conspiracy theory did cross my mind but it seems less likely.
Anyway, if that is the case, fire the guy at Gizmondo for telling a pack of lies about where he got the thing!

Edited by gb8080, Apr 19 2010, 3:43pm : Pressed enter too soon!

gb8080 said,

...and I do wonder if it ought to be someone at Gizmodo.
If I lost my phone and somebody found it, I would expect them to return it - and definitely not to disassemble it. That seems to me to be an outrageous way to treat somebody else's property.
And the fact that it is a prototype is not a justification - if anything it makes it morally worse. Journalism is good, but not behaviour like this.

I agree with you 100%...

And I know what others have stated about Apple allegedly leaking devices and information to journalists, so that could be the case here as well. If not, the journalist was wrong...

dhan said,

compared current iPhone, I think it's a step backwards.

Me too, but I still love it.
But they had many more components to fit in something so small. A flash, bigger lens, a camera at the front, a second mic, most likely a 4G chip, a bigger battery... So it had to become bigger, they did manage to make a nice design for it.

PsykX said,

Me too, but I still love it.
But they had many more components to fit in something so small. A flash, bigger lens, a camera at the front, a second mic, most likely a 4G chip, a bigger battery... So it had to become bigger, they did manage to make a nice design for it.

I doubt there's a 4G chip inside. Also, is it actually bigger? they mentioned its thinner and the body looks less wide than the 3GS

c3ntury said,
Hmm.. seems to be copying Zunes design?

I would agree that the two devices look similar, but I could find a handful of other products on the market that also look similar. I don't think it looks like the Zune HD though. The Zune HD has a different looking front and back. Is it rectangular with a screen? Yes, it is. If that means they are copying Zune, then they have been copying Zune since before Zune HD existed.

c3ntury said,
Hmm.. seems to be copying Zunes design?

It does seem to have copied the form of the Zune HD. And I wouldn't have said that if it weren't such a departure from the Apple design principles...