It appears that yet another Apple iPhone prototype has gone on a walkabout -- and this time not merely to a beer garden in Redwood City, but all the way to the South Pacific.
The Vietnamese forum Taoviet is running pictures and video of what it claims is another iPhone 4G prototype that has slipped the clutches of the Cupertino clan. (Hmm, maybe those guys at eSarcasm were right after all.)
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According to MacRumors, this one's a little different than the model Gizmodo ponied up five large to get its hands on last March. For one thing, instead of "XXGB" on the back, it's emblazoned with "16GB." Two screws that were visible on the Gizmodo model aren't visible here, and there's a MicroSIM slot that wasn't on the other model. A teardown of the thing shows a different processor: an Apple-branded A4.
Also, unlike the Gizmodo device, this one actually works. But instead of the iPhone OS, it's running some test routine called "Inferno." If this is indeed a genuine 4G model, that's probably an apt description of the atmosphere in the Apple executive suites right about now.
Remember, this is the same company that required its app developers to literally chain the prototypes of Apple iPads to tables in windowless cells. Apple would have required a complete brain wipe of all third-party engineers if the company thought it could get away with it.
And now to have lost not one but two prototypes in the space of two months? It boggles the mind. Good Morning Silicon Valley's John Murrell wonders aloud if any Apple engineers have been drinking at the Hanoi Hofbrau. That or some of them have gone rogue -- most likely at the Chinese sweatshops facilities where these things are built, where a few thousand dollars for a stolen device is a lot of money for somebody making 50 cents an hour.