The first hints came in October of last year, according to Pinch Media -- devices reporting themselves as "iPhone 2,1" began showing up in the company's logs, as they ran applications which include the free Pinch Analytics usage tracking libraries. Appearances were very spotty at first, but became more frequent in December, and almost all the hits were in the San Francisco Bay area ... not coincidentally, the home base for Apple's engineering teams.
While it's not surprising that Apple would be working on a new iPhone version -- even letting it out on the road to test AT&T signal reception -- it is a little bit of a surprise that the device ID wouldn't be spoofed to feign the appearance of an older device. MacRumors notes that the 2,1 designation is already visible in the iPhone firmware, and AppleInsider suggests that the first-digit rollup may mean bigger architectural changes than a simple speed bump and restyling.
We can think of a lot of features that would be great to see an iPhone hardware revision -- video recording capabilities would be high on the list, along with better battery life -- but no way yet to know what's coming in 2,1 or when it might show up in a production model. The beat goes on.