Yet another iPhone 4G prototype revealed

Photos and a video of what appear to be a second "iPhone 4G" prototype have appeared on a Vietnamese Web site, showing a device that's somewhat more refined than the prototype unveiled in the recent Gizmodo Affair.

If Shakespeare had written the Apple iPhone-Gizmodo affair: Love's Labor Lost (or Stolen). A Felony in Three Acts. 

There's not a lot of new information revealed by TaoViet, a mobile device news site and forum. There's a cached site of the TaoViet homepage. The iPhone prototype photos show a series of external shots, including several with the device turned on, running an application but apparently not the full iPhone OS, and a teardown of the hardware.

Apple is widely expected to unveil the next iPhone model, dubbed iPhone 4 or iPhone 4G, at its World Developer's Conference in June.

Overall, the device is very similar to the one in photos published recently by Gizmodo. The new prototype includes the Apple A4 processor clearly labeled, the same CPU in the iPad, and the same micro-SIM card as the iPad, but it now plugs into the side of the phone instead of the top. One difference with the Gizmodo pictures is the absence of visible screws at the bottom of the device, on either side of the dock connector. (Other top-secret Apple projects found at a bar.)

The Vietnamese-language YouTube video shows a sleek, polished black slab, with a metal rim or band. On the back is the iPhone logo and "16GB" compared to "XXGB" in the Gizmodo prototype photos. Though turned on, the phone doesn't show the familiar grid of iPhone applications, indicating the user interface is not operational. What the screen does show is a blossom-like explosion, partially covering calligraphic rendering of the word "inferno."

At the bottom left of the screen is some text: "Start time: Run Bonfire!," "Duration: 0," and "Battery: 3 percent." Some have speculated that it's a hardware diagnostic program.

A story at MacRumors said the "individual who submitted the link to us stated a Vietnamese businessman had bought it in the U.S. together with an iPad."

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: RSS feed.

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