The iPhone 5 Was Canned At The Last Minute, Instead We Got The iPhone 4S [Rumor]


An iPhone 5 conceptual prototype by
An iPhone 5 concept prototype by

Business Insider claims to have information on an iPhone 5 prototype from a source that “spent about two weeks” with the device. Citing several details about the alleged prototype, the source says that Apple ended up ditching the iPhone 5 at the last minute. Instead, the iPhone 4S was released as an incremental update to the product line.

While even Business Insider notes that its source has not been completely verified, the provided details do stack up nicely with the rumors we were all hearing leading up the iPhone 4S announcement.

Well, it turns out the “iPhone 5” – or at least, a fully redesigned iPhone – was real and it was scrapped only months before the iPhone 4S was announced.

We’ve been told this by an industry source who has been right about future Apple products in the past.

Apparently, Apple was actually working on the revolutionary iPhone prototype that several mainstream outlets were suggesting existed prior to the 4S. The iPhone 5 prototype in question allegedly had a 4-inch diagonal screen, aluminum back, touch-based home button, tapered design, incredible performance, and a 10 megapixel camera.

Siri was supposedly called “Assistant,” which lines up perfectly with another report that pegged the same name for Apple’s new voice technology. According to the unnamed source, the prototype also featured “a nicer screen with better colors,” but the device had a “messed up” color profile while in testing.

Our source said that Apple engineers he knows thought until about three months before the iPhone 4S was released, that a new fully re-designed iPhone was going to be Apple’s next big announcement.

Why did Apple can the iPhone 5 leading up to the announcement? Steve Jobs didn’t like the screen size.

He says the rumor among Apple employees is that Steve Jobs was unhappy with the bigger screen because it “fragmented” iPhones, Apple’s big argument against Android is the way all the different phones from different manufactureres fragment that operating system.

All of the specs mentioned by the source have been rumored before, so it’s not a stretch to assume that Apple has at least been working on an iPhone with some of these features. Some have called the iPhone 4S a rushed product, and it’s definitely odd that Apple would wait nearly two years to release an iPhone that’s barely different from the iPhone 4.

In all of this speculation, it’s important to remember that Apple is a company that plans its products years in advance. Was the iPhone 4S always the backup plan while Apple was testing the iPhone 5? Is a radical device like the purposed iPhone 5 prototype still coming? Who knows.

  • Adam Brewer

    In what world is 16 months considered “almost two years”?

  • Greg Smith

    exactly what this website said happened with the 3Gs was released…

  • Hugo Horta Ruivinho

    I can live with the current screen size, I’d only want 4″ if the screen went from one side to the other without almost no frame in order to have the smallest width possible.

    But what i really want is an aluminum back.. oh and those 10MP :)

  • John Neumann

    Uhmm, Venus. Duh! 


  • cassandralite

    Steve’s dead.  New rules.  New criteria.

  • Jordan Clay

    If you use a 6 month year instead of a 12 month year it is closer to 3 years!

  • FakeGibbyHaynes

    The same world where an editor can call a bug-laden product that he clearly never used “awesome”, then backtrack to cover his ass.  Welcome to C*nt of MacAndroid or whatever they think they want to be today.

  • Freddy

    They were showing this iphone to higher Apple employees in Australia fairly close to the release date of the 4s, so it must have a very last minute decision to scrap it.

  • JonnyBrownPants

    You talking about Browners? His work is often very sloppy!

  • John Neumann

    The real Gibby Hayes would never use an asterisk!! :D

  • Bob Forsberg

     When you guys annotate an article with [Rumor], be honest and use this. [BullShit]

  • crateish


  • applejack

    Before Apple decides to release a new phone, they better release updates to fix issues.

  • SevanGrim

    Apple has probably been working on a 5 since 4 came out, but there was never any intention of releasing it this year. The point of the “‘s” is to test out whatever new ideas they plan on putting in the net phone to the public, and milk money from the fanboys while they do it.

  • Shane Bryson

    I highly doubt there is any validity to this at all. Pretty sure the 4s was Apple’s plan for this release all along.

  • CharliK

    Yep. this sounds too much like “we are going to claim that it was going to happen and just like we said before it would, but it was cancelled. but we promise it was going to happen honest”

    second only to “even though they denied it they were dating but now they broke up right when their big movie is over so they won’t be around for us to take photos of and claim that it is proof that they are dating” in the tabloid game

  • heeloliver

    GLaDOS aggress. 

  • techgeek01

    This sounds like a wacky thing, but it could because of the metal back?

    I was watching this video on the making of the Nokia Lumia 800.  One of the reasons why the choose plastic was it was the best material for the antenna signals to go through and such.

    Meaning a full metal back would been completely impractical, since it could kill the antenna signal.  This is why there is a big black thing on your 3G iPads.  for the antenna to poke through.  since on the 4, it’s on the outside. this (above)? most likely would have to be inside.

    So, a metal back iPhone could kill the antenna signal, and I don’t think Apple wants to repeat antenna gate. So, I guess your choices are really anything else that is NOT metal.Plastic?  Probably is the best for signals to go through.  But plastic dosen’t have the “premium” feel like glass and metal.  I would have to argue, the Nokia N9/Lumia 800 is a beautiful phone and looks premium and its completely made out of plastic.  I know there is Carbon-fiber, but don’t know where that stands.
    Of right now, Plastic is probably the only material that antenna signals can go through easily. Plus side with plastic, it’s far lighter.  It’s also durable as well.  If you want to, you probably can give it a premium feel as well.Thinking about it know, it kind of makes sense.  The probably was (really) no way to have a full metal back without have a (large?) drop in antenna performance.  And making a full plastic back (excuse me, polycarbonate back ) would seem like a “downgrade” from glass and metal.  Even when factoring when, it probably would have been (far?) lighter, have better antenna performance and more durable than the current iPhone.Guess what bullet-proof glass and bullet-proof vests have?  Plastic.  Literally plastic.  Not glass or metal.  Plastic. (well there may be some glass and metal used)The point being, plastic may not be as “premium” as glass or metal, but it can be far more durable than either.That’s my bet.  ;)Metal back destroyed antenna reception.  Plastic back would have made it have far superior antenna reception, make it lighter and much more durable than the current iPhone, but does not have the “premium” ring to it. So they went with the iPhone 4 style.(well, or at least is one of the reasons)

  • freighttrain2126

    My guess was that the 4S was gonna be the phone all along, honestly when the iPhone 4 came out last year, most people had already thought the next one would probably be a “4S”. It wasn’t until the delay that the rumors of a redesign really started to take off.

    Not sure where I heard it, but it seems the most logical to me, was that the 4S was always going to be the plan, but with Steve Jobs health he really wanted to get the “5” ready. So they delayed the iPhone announcement to have more time to work on the “5”. But once it became clear they couldn’t release the “5” this year, they announced the “4S”. The main problem being getting the phone mass produced enough to meet sales, it became obvious the manufactures wouldn’t be able to make nearly enough at too meet demand and the production runs would also take too long. 

    Anyway thats the rumor I heard and seems to be the one that makes most sense to me.

  • JDWages

    The main point in this article is “screen size & market fragmentation.”  But if the larger screen had the same resolution (it technically still could be called RETINA), how then would the market be fragmented.  But seeing this article is only a fragment of what really went on behind the scenes at Apple, we may never know.

  • funnyandspicy

    Each time a new iPhone comes out, it’s a slight improvement over the last. Let’s go down the memory lane and figure out the people and technology.                                                

  • Gregintosh

    What if the WHOLE back is the antenna? :-o

  • jfutral

    That makes sense to me, too. Also. All these “rumours” seem to operate from the assumption that the ONLY phone being worked on is the next phone to be released. I would not be surprised and could actually believe just about all the phones that get leaked from “insiders” actually exist inside Apple. But they are probably concepts and prototypes. 

    A company like Apple works on more than just they next in the product line to be released. I think iPhone 5 is pretty much complete, just refining and adapting to potential new technologies to improve things like battery life, reception, etc., iPhone 6 is already done on paper and different styles are being protoyped, and iPhone 7 is on the drawing board and maybe some blanks to get an idea of possible feels. And I bet there are still failed iPhone 4 and 4s protoypes still hanging around that were good ideas before their time. Apple is a company that thinks 5 yeas down the road, not just next year.Joe

  • techgeek01

    I’m not an antenna expert at all, but did think that.

    Questions I have

    1) is that even possible in the first place?

    2) would antenna performance fall with contact with flesh? (like on the 4)

    3) looking at the antenna on the 4 (and I guess the 4S) it’s in multiple parts.  Would that mean the back would have to be in multiple parts as well?

    Again, not an antenna expert, so have no idea what those answers to those questions would be.

  • FakeGibbyHaynes

    Thank you for recognizing!!! And yes, the real Gibby wouldn’t have hedged.  I wanted to have a chance for the comment to be read, rather than be subject to immediate BanHammer.

  • FakeGibbyHaynes

    “Sloppy” is being charitable.  Putrescent is a far more fitting descriptor for Mr. Brownlee’s work.

  • Apple

    4 inch screen, so radical. Prototype looks like a galaxy phone, rectangular shape with rounded corners, sue sue sue.

  • Jim

    Agreed,  and very easy now to blame it all on Steve Jobs.   Yes it’s all his fault!

    I think that a lot of these  rumour sites are desperately trying to justify their rumors as being correct until the last minute.  

    Then they suddenly start talking about how the iPhone 5 would have had a 10 megapixel camera!  When the original rumors all claimed 8.

    It starts to make you doubt any rumors.

    I think that the 4S was, and always was, intended to be launched and that they were and are and still are working on the next generation and that the only guaranteed thing that we can all be sure of is that the only people that know exactly what is going on with Apple and the iPhone and other devices are the ones that are not telling anyone. 

    Let’s face it,  the only person from Apple that opened his mouth was Mr Climate Change himself and personally I wouldn’t trust him to tell the truth since he was a politician and who trusts a politician to tell the truth though he didn’t lie about multiple phones being launched,  they did launch a 8Gb memory Iphone 4 and the Iphone 4s in 16,32, and 64 Gigabyte models, so technically multiple phones were launched since each is a different device in its’ own right!

    I am now in the stance that I will wait until they launch a device and when they launch a device I judge the device on its’ own merits and not what some rumor monger has churned out to people through chinese whispers!

  • Jim

    It’s like the phrase that another blog uses “Randomly correct Rumor Site”,  when they should be saying “Regularly Wrong occasionally a guess is correct site”.

    Let’s face it,  if you make random guesses it stands to reason that chances are you are going to get some of these guesses correct.  This is all that these rumors are, gossip and guesses.

    It’s like the editor in chief of another site who ‘wowed’ people, or his fellow writers, by making a guess and getting it correct.  He changed the guess multiple times over the course of months and made his guess when most of the gossip had the weight bearing on the obvious.

    I’m not an expert and I didn’t expect the iPhone 5 and only an Iphone 4S and I didn’t expect the form factor to change at all,  I didn’t expect LTE and that a no-Brainer and it was a relatively easy change to incorporate the HSPA+ for AT&T to use, it is a ‘now’ technology.

    I can supply lots of rumors about Apple devices,  could do Blackberry ones as well but I won’t because I might actually guess something correct and it would ruin the ‘wow’ when it is launched like all the guesses and rumors ruined the ‘wow’ factor of the iPhone 4s which was a great phone give an ‘okay’ phone greeting because people expected so much more because of the ridiculous rumors that were spread around on the web.

  • John Schoettler

    Perforated aluminum would solve the reception issue.

  • guest

    You mean transparent aluminum, don’t you?

  • J

    All kinds of tactics are used to limit iPone4S sales. This is one of them.


  • DaveLG10101

    Siri was tried on the iPhone 4 so that alone is not a reason to use the 4S to try it.

    I thought the larger Retina display and software that makes graphics independent of hardware was the next BIG technology (Hardware and Software) Apple was working on.

    Apple could avoid the fragmentation issue Android has since they control both hardware and software 100%.

    Plus they can just introduce an iPhone 5 and no longer sell the other versions.

    Right now there iPhone production is a bit messy.

    I look for iPhone 5 to make hardware and software changes that are pretty major: bigger screen and resolution. 

    The iPAD will also get the full iPAD 3 treatment. To avoid fragmentation Apple needs to introduce iPhone 5 and iPad 3 pretty close together to avoid fragmentation.

    Look for the iTouch to become a iTouch 5 with WiFi and Cellular plan similar to current iPAD.

    The thing to look for is large volume production capability for phone and pad screens and wide adoption on LTE. I doubt Apple will make a “5” version that doesn’t use it. 

    Anything less than screen size and density improvements would look like another minimum “4s/iPad2 upgrade.

  • Josh Bourgeois

    If by resolution you mean total number of pixels, then yes, there would be no fragmentation, but it would no longer be a retina display.  If you mean pixels per inch, then the iPhone 5 would have more total pixels, meaning developers would need to redesign all of their assets to accommodate the larger screen, at which point we would see fragmentation.

  • JDWages

    As my previous post states, since the screen size increase would be quite small, the pixels would still be so small as to fall into the definition of RETINA.  Besides, that definition varies from person to person based on their eye-sight, and it also varies by the distance viewed.  But since we’re not even close to doubling the physical screen dimensions here, I still feel it would have the “appearance” of a RETINA display in pixel terms.  Hence, I don’t understand the fragmentation comment at all.