Fourth-generation iPhone cases match Apple's prototype design

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Photos of new iPhone third-party protective cases show accessories that were designed to meet the physical form factor of Apple's prototype fourth-generation handset.

As first discovered by HardMac, the cases from China feature the same rounded corners found in two prototype iPhones that leaked to the public. The back of the case features a larger space for both the camera and accompanying flash, and the side features holes for two rounded volume buttons.

The report noted that the cases are ready to ship, even though the next-generation iPhone has not yet been formally announced. Apple is expected to introduce the device at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, set to kick off on June 7.

The purported design of Apple's forthcoming iPhone has been photographed extensively, thanks to two high-profile leaks of the hardware. Most recently, a Vietnamese website obtained a prototype handset and dismantled it, revealing an A4 microprocessor and 256MB of system RAM powering the device. Prior to that, Gizmodo bought a prototype left at a bar for $5,000 and also disassembled the device to confirm it was made by Apple.

The new hardware features a forward-facing camera, an improved rear camera (believed to be 5 megapixels), a higher resolution display expected to be 960x640 pixels, and a second microphone expected to be used for noise canceling. Like the iPad, it relies on a Micro-SIM card for connectivity with a GSM wireless cellular network.

The new cases from China are designed to fit the shape of the prototype, which has a back that is completely flat, and reportedly made of a new material to improve cell reception. The new hardware also has split buttons for volume, which some have theorized could serve as a physical camera shutter button.