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Confirmed next-gen Apple iPhone seen in person, disassembled

Apple's next-generation iPhone has been obtained by Gizmodo, confirming the forthcoming hardware's forward-facing camera, high-resolution 960x460 display, camera flash, a secondary mic for noise cancellation, and a number of design changes in the new-look device.

Author Jason Chen went hands-on with the device Monday, in a major leak completely uncharacteristic for a company as secretive as Apple. It is the exact same device revealed in photos over the weekend by Engadget.

In addition to a forward-facing camera for video chat, new iPhone also has an improved camera on its back side, with a lens "quite noticeably larger" than the one on the previous-generation iPhone 3GS. As was previously reported, the device also uses a MicroSIM card for its GSM cellular connectivity. It also has split buttons for volume, and the power, mute and volume buttons are all metallic.

Apple also changed the back of the device to be completely flat, with a material made either of glass or "shiny plastic," Gizmodo wrote, to improve reception. The handset also has an aluminum border that extends around its outside.

The screen is also said to be "slightly smaller" than the iPhone 3GS, but with a higher resolution. The device is also 3 grams heavier and has a 16 percent larger battery. The internal components have been shrunken to make room for the battery.

"We're as skeptical—if not more—than all of you. We get false tips all the time," Chen said. "But after playing with it for about a week -— the overall quality feels exactly like a finished final Apple phone -— and disassembling this unit, there is so much evidence stacked in its favor, that there's very little possibility that it's a fake.

"In fact, the possibility is almost none. Imagine someone having to use Apple components to design a functioning phone, from scratch, and then disseminating it to people around the world. Pretty much impossible."

Gizmodo was unable to get past the iTunes connectivity screen on the device, so the new features in the phone could not be accessed. The person who found the phone said it was running iPhone OS 4.0 before it was announced, but Apple "remotely killed" the device, making it unusable. The device could not be restored because each firmware is device specific, and there are no publicly available firmware versions for Apple's next-generation iPhone.

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The device also came in a plastic case housing to make it look exactly like an iPhone 3GS. The report called it a "perfect disguise."

Opening up the case revealed Apple-labeled parts with new components not found in previous versions of the device. Though the external appearance is "drastically different," the report said the new iPhone "gets back to the simplicity of the iMac and the iPad."

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"In fact, you can argue that the current iPhone 3GS—with its shiny chrome rim and excessively curved back—is out of place compared to the hard edges and Dieter-Ramish utilitarianism of the iMac and the iPad," Chen wrote. "Next to the iPad, for example, the new iPhone makes sense. It has the same feeling, the same functional simplicity."

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For more, see Gizmodo's exclusive report.

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