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Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 02:05 pm PT (05:05 pm ET)

Mystery device reference discovered again in iPhone OS 3.1

A file in the latest iPhone OS 3.1 beta refers once again to an unknown product with a new model number, fueling speculation that Apple has a new touchscreen device based on its mobile operating system coming soon.

The reference to a device called "iProd 0,1" was first discovered in March in the iPhone 3.0 OS beta firmware. The latest beta update also includes a reference to iProd, but this time the USBConfiguration.plist file gives the product the "1,1" distinction — something Apple typically uses to refer to its first-generation products.

The information, revealed to ArsTechnica by a developer, has led to speculation that a new, unannounced piece of hardware running the iPhone OS could be nearing launch.

The reference to iProd 1,1 has a product ID of 4762, while the original iProd 0,1 was model 4757. The new model also has references to Ethernet configurations, leading the report to suspect the supposed new device could have "gained high-speed networking capabilities" since the 0,1 hardware incarnation.

"What we are willing to bet on is that with a 1,1 moniker the product will see public release soon—perhaps as early as September, when Apple typically unveils new iPods," the report concludes.

When the original reference to iProd 0,1 was discovered, it was alongside a call to an iPhone 2,1 — a device that turned out to be the new iPhone 3GS. They were discovered alongside iPod 2,2, iPod 3,1, and iPhone 3,1.

Apple always uses the first number in these device identifiers to refer to major revisions, the naming schemes allude to a second major reworking of the iPhone in testing at Apple as well as a minor revision of the current iPod touch and a third-generation overhaul. The original iPhone is seen as iPhone 1,1, while the iPhone 3G appears as iPhone 1,2 — a minor upgrade to an existing design. The first- and second-generation iPod touch show as 1,1 and 2,1 respectively.