Did Jobs scrap the iPhone 5 before launch?

So last month, when Apple revealed only the iPhone 4S and not the hotly rumoured iPhone 5, we asked "what the hell (was) going on?" Today, we may have a possible answer for the iPhone 5's absence from the global spotlight.

According to a Business Insider source, the phone did exist earlier this year. In fact, there was a working prototype with the following characteristics:

  • It had a 4" screen. The iPhone 4/4S sports a 3.5" display.
  • The phones were to have an aluminum backing, in contrast to the glass backs of the iPhone 4 and the glossy plastic backs of the iPhone 3G and 3GS.
  • The aluminum backs would be coated with "liquid metal," to give the option of colored iPhones. This would be similar to the coating on current iPod nanos.
  • The color profile on the screen would be better than that on current iPhones (the color profile on the prototype was deliberately bad for testing purposes).
  • The home button was capacitive, instead of a tactile hardware home button.
  • The phone had a similar profile, as seen in the above conceptual rendering.
  • Performance was better, but the prototype was not underclocked to save battery life.
  • The camera was 10 megapixels, compared to the iPhone 4S's 8 MP and the iPhone 4's 5 MP.

So why was the iPhone 5 scrapped, despite a working prototype? Business Insider's source wasn't aware of a specific reason, although the rumor amongst Apple employees was that Steve Jobs ordered the iPhone 5 cancelled due to the possibility of "fragmenting" the iPhone brand with different design profiles.

In the end, we're left with the iPhone 4S. At least the 4S does contain one feature of the prototype, the "Assistant" now renamed to Siri.

Thanks Muhammad Farrukh for the tip on the forums!

Image Credit: Macrumors

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