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iPhone 4G Discovered on Bar Floor?

A customer displays an Apple iPhone 3GS at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif., Tuesday, July 21, 2009. Apple Inc., the closest thing the tech industry has to a luxury brand, said Tuesday its profit jumped 15 percent in the most recent quarter despite the recession. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Yes, I know we just got through with iPad madness - not to mention the hullabaloo over an upgraded operating system for the iPhone. But when it comes to the latest goings-on at Apple, the news - or should that be the rumor mill? - is in no short supply.

The latest media scrum has to do with a purported sighting of Apple's next iPhone. The blog site Gizmodo has published what it says are images of an upcoming item that - get this - was lost in a bar in Redwood City, Calif. Call it coincidence but another tech blog site, Engadget, separately published its own set of pictures over the weekend.

In its analysis of the unit, Gizmodo reports that the prototype's new features include:


  • Front-facing video chat camera

  • Improved regular back-camera

  • Camera Flash

  • Micro-SIM (like the iPad)

  • Secondary mic for noise cancellation

  • Split volume buttons

  • Metallic power, mute, and volume buttons


Though Apple is famously secretive about disclosing - or even hinting at - future product plans, the company is again the recipient of another massive round of free publicity. And that raises the intriguing question whether Apple's savvy marketing team had a hand in stoking the rumor mill. As CNET noted recently, Apple has announced major iPhone-related news in the June-July timeframe in each of the last three years. Meanwhile, the blog site Boy Genius says it has confirmed with "multiple AT&T sources" that the carrier has canceled employee vacations in June. Previous vacation bans accompanied iPhone launches in 2007 and 2008.

Barron's Eric Savitz wryly put it this way: this is either the real deal, or an awfully impressive fake.

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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.