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2011: Biggest Apple Product Leaks

Last year at about this time, we highlighted the biggest Apple leaks of 2010. While there wasn't quite as big a story as the iPhone 4 leak this year, we still saw a lot of early leaks of unreleased products.

iPhone 4S

When this parts leak video was released in January 2011, we weren't entirely sure what we were looking at. Global Direct Parts called it an "iPhone 5" at the time, and detailed differences found in the new antenna design. The changes were relatively small, but what we know now is that this was the first look at the iPhone 4S design -- 10 months before its release. The antenna design looks a lot like the Verizon iPhone which hadn't been released at the time, but the inclusion of the SIM slot means this particular design was definitely for the iPhone 4S.

Over the year, we would continue to see bits of pieces of the iPhone 4S such as the front panel, A5-based logic board and even partially assembled. In the end, however, we kept getting distracted by the possibility of a completely new design. It was the similarities to the iPhone 4 design that kept the iPhone 4S so off the radar.

Ultimately, Apple itself accidentally leaked the iPhone 4S name in the last iTunes beta before the device launched:

iPad 2

No, that isn't a photo of the iPad 2. That's a photo of a dummy model that was shown at CES about 2 months before the iPad 2's launch. The model was created based on leaked case designs to Chinese accessory manufacturers. It's also why the leaked iPhone 5 case designs seemed like such a good possibility at the time.

iPhone 4S Camera Test

A month before the iPhone 4S, an Apple employee accidentally posted this first photo from an unreleased iPhone device. As it turns out, that photo was taken by the iPhone 4S.

iCloud Screenshot

We had serious doubts about this iCloud login screenshot that was leaked several days before WWDC. But, it turned out to be quite accurate, and seems to have come from Apple's internal staging area for the site. We wouldn't see iCloud actually go live until two months later with essentially the same login screen.

Apple Loses Another iPhone

In what almost became a replay of last year's iPhone 4 leak, an Apple employee lost another prototype iPhone in a bar this year. While there were some initial doubts about the story, the San Francisco Police did later confirm their participation in the search for the device. The lost iPhone was never found. We assume it represented a prototype iPhone 4S device which likely explains why it didn't ever draw enough attention to be leaked/sold to any gadget sites.

MacBook Pro, Thunderbolt

Yes, there are still some Mac related leaks too. The specs for the first Thunderbolt MacBook Pros were leaked about a couple of days ahead of the launch.


Again, this is not a video made about Siri after its launch. This was a video about Siri leaked before Apple said a word about it. The details are so close, it's hard to remember that some people doubted its accuracy.

Biggest Fake

As a bonus, here's the biggest fake rumor of the year. We knew it was a fake when we posted about it on our blog, but this video of an "iPhone 5 Leak" on Apple's website has amassed nearly 3 million views in YouTube since being posted. We suppose people wanted to believe.

Top Rated Comments

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63 months ago
Nothing will ever beat the iPhone 4 leak :D;)
Rating: 15 Votes
63 months ago
I am still very surprised that we had zero rumors about the newest Mini's before launch!
Rating: 8 Votes
63 months ago

Nothing will ever beat the iPhone 4 leak :D;)

Hahahahahahahah yes! That was the best!
Rating: 6 Votes
63 months ago
Here's to a new year of leaks in 2012!
Rating: 6 Votes
63 months ago
Interesting read, I was surprised that the 4S antenna band was leaked 10 months ahead!
Rating: 4 Votes
63 months ago
Ah, what a year. Here's to 2012 rumours,

Looking back, the rumours this year were quite disappointing IMO, especially relating to the iPhone. I was, like many others, looking forward to the iPhone '5' I believed will be launched this year. The contradictory rumours about a release of an iPhone 4S/5 got me quite frustrated, yet excited. (feel sorry for those case manufacturers) We can probably blame Apple's stricter control of product leaks possibly because of the iPhone 4 leaks last year. Just hope 2012 has more leaks/rumours which seem to materialise.

Thank You MacRumors for your hard work in providing us with news and rumours we care about. ;)
Rating: 3 Votes
63 months ago

That whole incident was never proven to be true aside from the fact that the police [said it was true.]

Sure you can suggest that maybe the SF police somehow got duped by two people claiming to be Apple investigators, and it's some strange conspiracy theory that is being perpetuated by the SF Police, but it's an irrational and far less believable theory than what actually happened.

San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said he talked to Apple and confirmed the basic events:

Dangerfield says that, after conferring with Apple and the captain of the Ingleside police station, he has learned that plainclothes SFPD officers went with private Apple detectives to the home of Sergio Calderón, a 22-year-old resident of Bernal Heights. According to Dangerfield, the officers "did not go inside the house," but stood outside while the Apple employees scoured Calderón's home, car, and computer files for any trace of the lost iPhone 5. The phone was not found, and Calderón denies that he ever possessed it.

Rating: 3 Votes
63 months ago

Given that this was an Apple corp employee apparently sitting in the on campus cafe when the photo was taken, I don't think there was anything accidental about it. I think Apple wanted the leak and this is how they set it up

The EXIF was modified to indicate an iPhone 4 was used, but the pixel count betrayed it.

So no... I don't think the leak was intentional.
Rating: 3 Votes
63 months ago

Here's to a new year of leaks in 2012!

Firefox still won't be fixed by then? ;)
Rating: 2 Votes
63 months ago


How was it that the reception for the 4S was so "negative" while the 3GS was still seen as a step forward?

There were no 4.x" Android phones yet, thus staying at 3.5" was not such a big deal (nor were there LTE or NFC Android phones). The main points of criticism of the iPhone 4s that are backed up by arguments (ie, excluding those that say it should look different for the sake of being different) are exactly these:

* No 4.x" screen
* No LTE
* No NFC

Of course whether these are really important points in the market is another question.
Rating: 2 Votes

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