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iPhone N94 prototype's front assembly leaked, set to be an iPhone 4S?

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As we approach the rumored September or October launch date for the next batch of iPhones, the web's been spiced up with photos of alleged parts for an "N94" iPhone prototype. We've been rather skeptical about them until the above photos landed in our inbox, courtesy of our friends from uBreakiFix. A little while back we'd already heard from our other sources that the N94 is set to be a cheaper version of the current iPhone 4 (probably the 8GB iPhone 4 mentioned by Reuters last week), which would explain why all these components and cables look super familiar. The only notable difference here is the funny dot right next to the sensor location above the earpiece -- the dotted pattern is very much like that used by the microphone and the webcam LED indicator on Mac computers, but obviously the latter is more likely the case here.

That said, do bear in mind that according to the mark along the bottom of this part, we're apparently looking at an "EVT1" (Engineering Verification Test) piece from March 3rd 2011 (making it about three months older than the white N94 back covers that made the rounds last week, assuming they're legit). Additionally, when our sources last checked around June and July, the N94 had yet to hit the DVT stage, so it's hard to determine whether these parts will remain the same in the final design, or whether the N94 will even make it to the production line at all.

On the other hand, our sources pointed out that an elusive N97 device -- previously reported by the Wall Street Journal as a tiny iPhone -- had already reached "DVT" (Design Verification Test) stage back in June, though there's little information about it other than that it's been tested with various cellular technologies (though plagued by some bugs related to switching between specific frequencies back then), plus it may sport a camera module supplied by Sony, which was semi-confirmed by Howard Stringer himself back in April. Whatever the N97 ends up being, hopefully we'll have something at least as slim as our little souvenir from Beijing.


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