The last couple of weeks certainly haven’t been stellar for Apple’s R&D department. First came the loss and retrieval of the next generation iPhone 4G compliments of Gray Powell. Now something just as intriguing showed up this weekend on eBay and subsequently disappeared. Remember those rumors of the third generation iPod Touch getting a camera? Remember how it was almost a lock and then on the day they were supposed to appear they were a no-show? Well it seems they were closer than even any of us know.
Several tech news outlets are reporting the mysterious appearance, and subsequent disappearance, of two prototype iPod Touches that were listed on the popular auction site. The prototypes carry the rumored cameras everyone expected last year and were running a development version of the iPhone OS. Labelled DVT-1 and DVT-2, the prototypes have the same finish and appearance of a third generation iPod Touch in every other way besides the rear-facing camera. While some may speculate these may be prototypes for an upcoming version, the consensus among the technorati is they are more likely iPod Touches that should have been versus ones that may come. Of course, if Apple has ironed out the design, usage, or supply line problems that caused the camera to be yanked in the first place, we might very well see camera-bearing Touches this summer.
Sadly, before I could get my Paypal account warmed up, they were yanked off of eBay almost as fast as they appeared. Whether this was a legitimate seller looking to unload something they thought they had title to or just someone shopping them to gadget sites like Gizmodo in a “private sale”, it looks like this tantalizing view is all we get for now. It offers one more view behind the sacred veil that covers Apple’s research and development processes. We would probably be astounded at the number and configurations of prototypes Apple tests in the run of product development. The gamut of rumors we hear in the year or two between product releases are only small glimpses of the prototype capabilities someone has seen. And of course it is somewhat in Apple’s best interests to keep these rumors coming in a steady trickle from Cupertino. Rumor builds interest and interest builds anticipation. How much product do you think Apple moves on curiosity alone?
It will be interesting to see the product line up that comes our way in June. There will be a new iPhone, I think Messers Powell and Denton have confirmed that for us adequately. I think this latest breach in the Reality Distortion Field proves we might also be looking for new camera-bearing iPod Touches as well.
What do you think about this latest leak? Would you upgrade to a camera-toting fourth generation iPod Touch? Is a camera just a cheap upgrade to make people buy new units? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.