Lost Foxconn iPhone May Have Been Source of Teardrop iPhone 5 Case Designs

M.I.C gadget reports that it has heard from a small iPhone accessory shop in Shenzhen, China that Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn had lost a prototype of Apple's redesigned iPhone 5 carrying the tapered teardrop form factor seen in a number of case designs over the past few months.

iphone5 11
Mockup of tapered iPhone 5 based on leaked case designs

While the sourcing on the report is certainly questionable, the detailed account is an interesting read and it would not be the first time that a mobile phone accessory vendor has been involved in leaked iPhone prototypes.

The missing prototype is said to have been enclosed in a case to disguise it as a current-generation iPhone 4–which brings to mind the iPhone 4 prototype acquired by Gizmodo that was camouflaged as an iPhone 3GS. How Apple achieved that with the iPhone 5 supposedly wider and longer than the current iPhone 4 is a point to ponder.

It is said to be a test model with a finalized iPhone 5 chassis featuring the tear-drop design. However, the interesting thing about it is that it apparently houses what we assume to be slightly modified iPhone 4 electronics with components such as the A4 chip and even the same amount of memory.

The report goes on to note that an outside party had paid a Foxconn employee to deliver the prototype device, which was reportedly then sold to a case manufacturer for approximately $3,100.

It is unclear when the alleged loss of the prototype occurred, although reports of the tapered design extend back to least April and a design document showing the form factor appeared by late July. Since that time, numerous case manufacturers have released cases for the new form factor, but actual evidence of the device in the form of parts leaks has yet to surface.

Not all Apple prototypes make it into production, with the 2009 iPod touch with camera being a notable example of a design that made it quite far through the prototyping process before Apple decided to remove the camera. There has been considerable debate about whether Apple will be launching this redesigned teardrop form factor for the iPhone, as evidence from leaked parts has so far only shown an "iPhone 4S" design based on the iPhone 4.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber hints in his link to news of the media event invitations that there may in fact be only one new device introduced next week, which would presumably be the more conservative iPhone 4S design.

Something tells me there’s only one new iPhone.

The comment is far from confirmation, but Gruber has in the past offered accurate information on Apple's plans and has on occasion coyly hinted at such knowledge in his comments.

Related Forum: iPhone

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Top Rated Comments

slicecom Avatar
167 months ago
All we have is one week and counting till we know, please stop with the shady stories MR!
Yeah MacRumors, why are you posting rumors? ...wait
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kirk26 Avatar
167 months ago
All we have is one week and counting till we know, please stop with the shady stories MR!

Silly me, but this is a Mac rumors website. :rolleyes:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dgree03 Avatar
167 months ago
Anyone at this point still hoping that the iPhone 5 will have a redesigned case is setting themselves up for disappointment as Apple unveils the "all new iPhone 5" and out comes an iPhone 4 look-alike.

I for one can't wait for my A5 chip in an iPhone 4 case called the iPhone 5 or just plain iPhone as Apple realises that suffixes are useless.

I just refuse to believe that after 16 months they will "3GS us" Times are different now than they were in 2009, too much competition to give a phone without the physical apperance/Internals of other market leaders.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sth Avatar
167 months ago
The comment is far from confirmation, but Gruber has in the past offered accurate information on Apple's plans and has on occasion coyly hinted at such knowledge in his comments.
I think it was just a remark on the fact that Apple added the "1" badge to the phone icon on the invitation.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iBreatheApple Avatar
167 months ago
I think we can assume it won't be in a tear-drop form factor. Can you imagine how awkward it'd be to hold the phone in landscape?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tinmania Avatar
167 months ago
No people. There isn't going to be a case redesign. The current phone looks awesome! Why would you replace a design (thereby increasing costs) in order to make something that looks worse when no one is tired of the current design?
Well many of us are tired of a 3.5" screen. If they can make the <whatever it is called> noticeably larger and still keep the iPhone 4's shape, fine. But if still a 3.5" screen I will be disappointed.




Michael
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)