Usually, tipsters looking to prank us with a faked shot of an unreleased Apple product will send us something like the fake iPod classic we saw a few months ago. You know, the classic Blurrycam shot, where it's obvious that A) the tipster has no idea how to use his camera's focus, and B) also has no idea how to use Photoshop.
But today's subject went above and beyond. First off, he didn't stop at sending us a single image of a faked iPhone 5 -- he sent us a full-fledged video. The purported story behind this video is that Apple fouled up somehow and managed to accidentally include a hidden link to the iPhone 5 on its Swiss website. Ludicrous? Absolutely. But if you suspend disbelief for a bit and watch anyway, the video shows our tipster navigating through this secret site, flicking through galleries of a quite convincing-looking iPhone 5 and even a comprehensive tech specs page. The whole thing looks like a lot of effort went into it, with near-professional quality renders of the supposed iPhone 5. Frankly, it's the best fake I've ever seen -- and it was good enough to hoodwink some other sites that have posted it as a legitimate leak.
A good fake, however, remains a fake; there are several clues to the faux-ness throughout the video, and they aren't exactly hard to find. First off, check out the URL in the address bar during the opening split second of the video.
Rather than a standard http:// address, the video kicks off with a file:// prefix -- meaning the browsing wasn't of a website hosted on a server, but instead a collection of local files on Peter's desktop. This is an immediate tipoff that the whole thing is fake. All our tipster had to do was edit out this one second of video, and he might not have burnt all his credibility from the word "Go." (And I'm sure it's a total coincidence that the first person to send this video to us was named Peter.)
Any other clues this video might be fake? Oh yeah. There's the random string of characters between www.apple.com/chde and iphone5 in the URL -- the current Swiss site for the iPhone 4 is a simple www.apple.com/chde/iphone. There's clumsy typesetting on the iPhone 5 logo. The "hero" images don't autoscroll the way they do on Apple's real site. The gallery's background is grey instead of black. Screenshots of the phone show "No Service" in the status bar -- a great way to advertise a mobile phone, right? The time in the status bar reads 8:07 AM rather than Apple's traditional 9:41. Battery percentage is showing, too, which Apple doesn't show off in its product shots.
The forehead-slapping "duh" moment comes in when you see that all of the apps in the gallery shots have English names... on a Swiss site. Oops.
The iPhone 5. iPhone without the phone. This changes everything.
Peter really went overboard on his tech specs page, with what looks to be carefully-calculated dimensions for an iPhone 5 with a 4.2-inch touchscreen at 275 ppi. The camera has been upgraded to 8 megapixels and 1080p video, and capacity is bumped to 32 or 64 GB. In all, it's a laundry list based off all the rumors we've heard so far, but it falls flat on at least one detail. The tech specs on Peter's page list iTunes 9.2 as the minimum required version for the iPhone 5, and we know full well that iTunes 10.5 will be the earliest version of iTunes that iOS 5 will support. Also, he's missing photos and descriptions of the top and bottom ends of the supposed iPhone 5; I guess he just forgot those?
The thing is, I actually like Peter's renders of the iPhone 5 -- I'd be neither surprised nor sad if the device looks similar to them -- but trying to pass this off as a "leak" is what's prompted me to poke fun at him. If he'd sent us these pics and said something like, "Hey, check out my iPhone 5 renders, do you think they're pretty close?" we might have taken him more seriously. But trying to put one over on us (and the rest of the Apple-centric web) this way gets you inducted into the Blurrycam Hall of Shame. We hope that publishing this rundown means our more easily misled readers will stop sending us his video as a tip.