Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online
The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo 720p video capture at 120 frames per second.
The iPhone 5s offered Gold and Space Gray color options for the first time, and was also available in Silver. The previous-generation iPhone 5 was available in White and Silver, and Black and Slate. This prototype iPhone 5s is extremely unusual as it uses the iPhone 5's Black and Slate color option.
While it is possible that Apple was considering offering the iPhone 5s in Black and Slate, before opting for Space Gray instead, DongleBookPro suggests that the color was likely used to help conceal the next-generation device during development.
In addition, it is also notable that the prototype iPhone 5s was manufactured in December 2012, a mere three months after the launch of the iPhone 5 and nine months before it would be announced. This offers some indication of how far ahead the iPhone's development cycle runs.
The iPhone 5's Black and Slate color option was ultimately dropped in favor of Space Gray on the iPhone 5s, which has generally been a mainstay of iPhone color options since. The only models since then to not be available in a Space Gray option were the iPhone 7, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 Pro.
Black and Slate was among the more short-lived Apple device colors, with the option only being available for the iPhone 5, first-generation iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod Touch. The finish also spurned "scuffgate," where some iPhone 5 users complained about the tendency of the Black and Slate finish to be easily chipped, scratched, and scuffed, which may have contributed to it being discontinued.
DongleBookPro regularly posts images of unreleased Apple devices and prototypes, such as a first-generation iPod touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish and a first-generation Mac mini with an iPod nano dock.