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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I want Apple to release the iPhone around May.
1) I can laugh at those with the 4S.
2) It'll have to compete with the new quad core phones and ice cream sandwich phones.
3) The Windows hype machine will be at full blast with everyone wanting a piece of the action as it nears the release date.
4) By then the iPhone 5 will already be behind its competitors in terms of specifications on its release.

wasnt it revelead in the biography or somewhere else that apple designs stuff "3 years in advance"?

Why would we conclude that this phone was SCRAPPED? maybe its just a prototype of a future version and thats all

Julius Caro said,
wasnt it revelead in the biography or somewhere else that apple designs stuff "3 years in advance"?

Why would we conclude that this phone was SCRAPPED? maybe its just a prototype of a future version and thats all

No, they invest in technology 3 years in advanced. Meaning they buy the patent but don't design it until it's profitable to do so. It's quite smart actually.

The iPhone 5 has always been in development. However, it has been seriously delayed due to the lawsuit with Samsung (who makes and designs Apple's products, or used to). The actual iPhone 5 will be intel inside and so it's release schedule next year is anyone's guess. Apple and intel have a HUGE amount of issues to resolve before they are ready to make that change seamless to consumers.

excalpius said,
The iPhone 5 has always been in development. However, it has been seriously delayed due to the lawsuit with Samsung (who makes and designs Apple's products, or used to). The actual iPhone 5 will be intel inside and so it's release schedule next year is anyone's guess. Apple and intel have a HUGE amount of issues to resolve before they are ready to make that change seamless to consumers.

Unlike Apple, Samsung still wants to make a profit and not eliminate the competition. Samsung still supplies the parts for the 4S, LG still supplies Retnia display.

excalpius said,
The iPhone 5 has always been in development. However, it has been seriously delayed due to the lawsuit with Samsung (who makes and designs Apple's products, or used to).

Wait, Samsung designs what?

I don't know where to start on this comment.

But there is absolutely no way, whatsoever, that Apple will put an Intel chip in the iPhone. Intel's yet to make a useable mobile chip, and Apple's now designing their own.

Simon said,
I don't know where to start on this comment.

But there is absolutely no way, whatsoever, that Apple will put an Intel chip in the iPhone. Intel's yet to make a useable mobile chip, and Apple's now designing their own.

Theoretically, Intel could one day snap up a portion of the mobile processor market if their 3D transistors get somewhere.

Of course that only benefits the Windows ecosystem with Windows 8 tablets running Metro (WinRT) and x86 (Win32) apps. It would make no sense for Apple to introduce this given a massive collection of apps compiled for ARM on iOS.

I've been telling the Apple diehards all along that there is no way Steve Jobs would ever release a phone that had a difference in resolution. All their apps would have to support the new screen resolution. Something that Android had to deal with from the start and Apple has to start from scratch on.

Most people who love the iPhone so much don't realize this fact. It would fragment iOS further. Same thing goes for a iPad HD. A difference in screen resolutions would means apps would have to be rewritten.

Until Apple is ready to deal with this new fragmentation on their hands, get used to their boring UI which hasn't changed much since it's 1st generation release.

UndergroundWire said,
I've been telling the Apple diehards all along that there is no way Steve Jobs would ever release a phone that had a difference in resolution. All their apps would have to support the new screen resolution. Something that Android had to deal with from the start and Apple has to start from scratch on.

Most people who love the iPhone so much don't realize this fact. It would fragment iOS further. Same thing goes for a iPad HD. A difference in screen resolutions would means apps would have to be rewritten.

Until Apple is ready to deal with this new fragmentation on their hands, get used to their boring UI which hasn't changed much since it's 1st generation release.

You must not have gotten the memo. The iPhone 4 has a different resolution than the previous iPhones...

UndergroundWire said,
I've been telling the Apple diehards all along that there is no way Steve Jobs would ever release a phone that had a difference in resolution. All their apps would have to support the new screen resolution. Something that Android had to deal with from the start and Apple has to start from scratch on.

Most people who love the iPhone so much don't realize this fact. It would fragment iOS further. Same thing goes for a iPad HD. A difference in screen resolutions would means apps would have to be rewritten.

Until Apple is ready to deal with this new fragmentation on their hands, get used to their boring UI which hasn't changed much since it's 1st generation release.

Uhhh, the iPhone 4 (and 4S and 4th gen iPod touch) has a different resolution than previous models (the original, 3G, 3GS, and earlier iPod touch models). Kind of blows your entire argument apart, doesn't it?

Shadrack said,

You must not have gotten the memo. The iPhone 4 has a different resolution than the previous iPhones...

They changed from 960-by-640-pixel resolution? You must of forgotten how to read.

UndergroundWire said,

They changed from 960-by-640-pixel resolution? You must of forgotten how to read.

No, they changed TO 960 X 640 from 480 X 320

Sraf said,

No, they change TO 960 X 640 from 480 X 320

NO THEY DIDN'T. The iPhone 4 had the same resolution. The first three had that resolution. The iPhone 4 upgraded that. To further upgrade that would look like a iPhone app on the iPad. PIXELATED!

UndergroundWire said,

NO THEY DIDN'T. The iPhone 4 had the same resolution. The first three had that resolution. The iPhone 4 upgraded that.

That's the point of the argument

Sraf said,

That's the point of the argument

They doubled it exactly. To further double it would become pixelated. That's the argument. It would be like iPad apps for the iPhone 5. That's what Steve Jobs didn't want.

Steve Jobs ordered the iPhone 5 cancelled due to the possibility of "fragmenting" the iPhone brand with different design profiles.

UndergroundWire said,

They doubled it exactly. To further double it would become pixelated. That's the argument. It would be like iPad apps for the iPhone 5. That's what Steve Jobs didn't want.

Steve Jobs is dead and what is written in this article is just a rumor. I'm sure they can make a larger screen if they wanted to.

I'm not sure I get what point you are trying to make exactly. iOS is fragmented when you consider the fact that an app developer has to develop a separate app for iPad and iPhone and they have to be sensitive to the fact that pre-iPhone 4 the resolution was lower. I can tell that you are chomping at the bit to scream iOS is fragmented, though.

Shadrack said,

LOL, I never said that. Where are you driving us today?

See my edit. Anyway thankfully Steve is dead. Fragmentation will help the iPhone. If they change the screen size, they have to change the resolution. Once the resolution is changed, they would have to adhere to a new design standard that needs to be implemented side by side so people who have the previous models are still supported. When Apple doubled the screen resolution in the 4, they merely doubled the app size for older apps and forced new guidelines which is scaled down on the 1st generation, 3G and 3GS. That is all. So it seemed seamless. This would not be seamless.

I guess what this whole conversation boils down to is one gigantic hypothetical so I will concede and say: yes. If there is another resolution to consider, app developers will have to consider it.

Enron said,
He scrapped it because this never existed.

There were/are references in iOS 5 for iPhone 4,1 and iPhone 4,2 - seeing as we only ended up with the one unified model it's like the the iPhone 4,2 is actually the next iPhone - the iPhone 5. So actually, it probably did exist and still does exist..

He scrapped it cuzz the price would be too much and the price gouge wouldn't be worth it to consumers. oh wait... he enjoyed gouging users of there hard earned money.

soldier1st said,
He scrapped it cuzz the price would be too much and the price gouge wouldn't be worth it to consumers. oh wait... he enjoyed gouging users of there hard earned money.

Your point? People can spend their money on whatever they want!

This article is just as silly as the rumors leading up to the iPhone 4S launch.

First of all, other than the 3-4 month delay, the 4S is completely consistent with what Apple did with the 3G and 3GS. Secondly, so what if there is good evidence that an iPhone 5 prototype existed before the 4S launch. That's really unsurprising and doesn't mean jack. For all we know they were probably also playing with their 4S prototype that they intended to release this year and the iPhone 5 was for next year. Is it to be assumed that Apple can only work on one iPhone at a time and development of the next iPhone can't possibly begin until the current one is released? That seems to be the fail logic of this article anyway.

Didn't Neowin make a big deal not too long ago about not posting so much of this baseless rumor **** that doesn't really count as news?

So by going with Stevie philosophy the iPhone design will never change so as not to introduce "fragmentation"? That is nuts if the iPhone 5 has a bigger screen were they going to produce other iPhone 5 with smaller screens as well? I don't think so.

Thinking about it didn't he create somewhat of a "fragmentation" with the introduction of the Retina display?

primortal said,
So by going with Stevie philosophy the iPhone design will never change so as not to introduce "fragmentation"? That is nuts if the iPhone 5 has a bigger screen were they going to produce other iPhone 5 with smaller screens as well? I don't think so.

Thinking about it didn't he create somewhat of a "fragmentation" with the introduction of the Retina display?

Why do you keep "quoting" fragmentation all the time? If you don't know what it means or are trying to use it as an alternate meaning for what ever reason, then just say it.

Much of the fragmentation that Jobs hated was software related. Many of the android based mobile phones are perfectly good hardware with a lot going for their actual hardware designs.
However the fragmentation that comes from the disjointed android OS that has bits pulled, replaced and sometimes just missing because the carrier or developers of that handset didn't want to add it for what ever reason isn't always the case for the fragmentation with Apple.

See with an Apple mobile at the moment (and even ipod touch) you know the Apps are going to work, the screen size is the same on all devices and apps have all been designed to work like that. Even running iPhone apps on the iPad resizes the screen, so we'd have an issue with apps on a iphone 5 with its 4" screen running 3.5" apps, if the android apps are anything to go by thats a hard minefield to manover in, and even Angry birds sufferd quite badly in that respect.

Along with that, Apple would then older iphone and ipod touch devices that are no longer supported in Apps using the latest API. So it would very much make the Apple iphone a fragmented device.

Where they always want their products to WJust Work" having their latest device not working with every app isn't going to cut it, else they are quite happy to have older devices not working with newer stuff... Something that Apple have always done, is pushed forward and not looked back with regards to backwards compatible.

I put quotations around fragmentation for emphasis....

Points well taken. Apple has the right business model with control of the devices but sooner-or-later they are going to have to deal with the larger screen size and making sure their app base can handle the disparate screen sizes. I don't think users are going to like the fact the apps will be segmented into groups like iPhone gen 4 or less, iPod Touch 4 gen or less,' iPhone 5 apps and lastly iPad apps.

Andriod is fragmented because they allow the OEM's to designed the look-and-feel, if they had tighter control over the look-and-feel like Microsoft and Apple it would be soft of a level playing field. But being this goes against grain for Android this fragmentation will only get bigger as time goes on.

Not sure the mechanics of programming of mobile devices by there's gotta be a way to handle the different screen resolutions. It's done today on desktops, people have a huge plethora of screen resolutions and all the majority of applications display correctly. Even games work across different screen resolution. I don't know if that flexibility comes at a cost of disk space but it seems logical that it's doable in the mobile space.

primortal said,
I put quotations around fragmentation for emphasis....

Points well taken. Apple has the right business model with control of the devices but sooner-or-later they are going to have to deal with the larger screen size and making sure their app base can handle the disparate screen sizes. I don't think users are going to like the fact the apps will be segmented into groups like iPhone gen 4 or less, iPod Touch 4 gen or less,' iPhone 5 apps and lastly iPad apps.

Andriod is fragmented because they allow the OEM's to designed the look-and-feel, if they had tighter control over the look-and-feel like Microsoft and Apple it would be soft of a level playing field. But being this goes against grain for Android this fragmentation will only get bigger as time goes on.

Not sure the mechanics of programming of mobile devices by there's gotta be a way to handle the different screen resolutions. It's done today on desktops, people have a huge plethora of screen resolutions and all the majority of applications display correctly. Even games work across different screen resolution. I don't know if that flexibility comes at a cost of disk space but it seems logical that it's doable in the mobile space.

It is certainly doable on mobile devices, but the foundation really needs to be there. WP7 as an example was designed to handle this for you. Regardless of screen size, everything should just work. Not knowing what iPhone's development model looks like, I'm going to assume this was not considered (I say that because I've seen iPads running iPhone apps and it runs it in an itty bitty "iPhone sized" window...). My bet is that Apple will start improving their development model a generation or two ahead of time so that these apps can be ready for the larger screen and they will be able to confirm that few people will be affected with app resizing issues.

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).

That doesn't even make sense. What's "better" about one colour profile and another, except that a warmer profile is more suited to yellow incandescent light and a cooler one the hard white light you get in offices?

no, apple have adopted the evolutionary/revolutionary model, i think everyone knew it was going to be similar spec-wise to the 4, just like the 3GS was to the 3G.

Perhaps the new case design was wishful thinking or an early prototype of what will become the 5, i just hope they launch it next september.

REM2000 said,
no, apple have adopted the evolutionary/revolutionary model, i think everyone knew it was going to be similar spec-wise to the 4, just like the 3GS was to the 3G.

Perhaps the new case design was wishful thinking or an early prototype of what will become the 5, i just hope they launch it next september.

The more probable scenario is that apple was working parallel on a newer design model as well. Also, what is to say that the rumour mill that was churning out all the iphone 5 details are all now embarrassed about how wrong they were and are churning out this piece to cover what little is left of their credibility. Part of the reason why there never was a iphone 5 spotted in the wild (unlike the iphone 4 case) is b/c even if it was out there, everybody thought the person was using an iphone 4.

REM2000 said,
no, apple have adopted the evolutionary/revolutionary model, i think everyone knew it was going to be similar spec-wise to the 4, just like the 3GS was to the 3G.

Perhaps the new case design was wishful thinking or an early prototype of what will become the 5, i just hope they launch it next september.

Pretty much this. The only reason I thought we might have seen a redesign was because of the delay until September. Looking back on it now I think this was more of a business strategy, as September used to be the iPod announcements but let's face it the iPod is pretty much dead as seen with the poor iPod announcements this year, and the year on year declines in sales.

Now Apple have the April window for iPad announcements and September for iPhone, they're roughly 6 months apart which spreads things out nicely in terms of resources to design them and revenue streams generated from them

So really it was scrapped so that Apple could get more money on a bridging device that really is no different to the iPhone 4?

Ryano121 said,
So really it was scrapped so that Apple could get more money on a bridging device that really is no different to the iPhone 4?
Apart from the better camera, faster processor, improved antenna design and having support for multiple network types in one phone?

virtorio said,
Apart from the better camera, faster processor, improved antenna design and having support for multiple network types in one phone?

Exactly, camera catching up to the rest of the market, processor catching up to the rest of the market, fixing flaws in the iPhone4, and multi-band radios like other phones have offered for many years.

Yep, it brings so many new things to fix the broken features of the iPhone4, it is amazing they don't call it iPhone(Infinite Progress)

Really?

thenetavenger said,

Exactly, camera catching up to the rest of the market, processor catching up to the rest of the market, fixing flaws in the iPhone4, and multi-band radios like other phones have offered for many years.

Yep, it brings so many new things to fix the broken features of the iPhone4, it is amazing they don't call it iPhone(Infinite Progress)

Really?

So, you'd rather they didn't improve anything then?

thenetavenger said,

Exactly, camera catching up to the rest of the market, processor catching up to the rest of the market, fixing flaws in the iPhone4, and multi-band radios like other phones have offered for many years.

Yep, it brings so many new things to fix the broken features of the iPhone4, it is amazing they don't call it iPhone(Infinite Progress)

Really?


Oh, you probably mean releasing an 8MP camera that actually competes with P&S cameras and not the rinky-dinky crap cameras in other cells (MP doesn't = quality), releasing a dual-core smartphone whose OS actually USES both cores and not just one, giving it a dual-core graphics engine that beats every other phone on the market, and putting out an OS that has almost 0 fragmentation and performs as smooth as silk?

Oh yeah, Apple "caught up" to the market, then took the HOV lane and zoomed past it.

Let's face it, in this industry, there's a new "king of the crop" every other day.