It was only a matter of time before someone rummaged through the iPhone 3.0 Beta, looking for hardware clues. Ars Technica got a hot tip from a developer who found something interesting when he dipped into the SDK: He found a plist file that pointed to four different unknown products.
Via Ars Technica
Here's the geekspeak-to-English translation:
The Software Developers' Kit (basically the info and programs the developers need to create apps and things for the iPhone) includes a preferences file that references some unknown, as-of-yet unannounced products. This is exciting because the rumor mill's been aflutter with stories and gossip about new iPhone models coming out (from a teeny tiny Nano phone to a monster 32GB iPhone, with all sorts of new hardware features). Lots of people outside the phone world have also been speculating that Apple's got other gadgets up their sleeves, like a revamped iPod Touch or a Mac Tablet.
There's been a lot of guesswork, so any evidence that helps validate the rumors really stands out. And the fact that there could be (and now, seemingly, will be) as many as four new devices is just plain exciting.
And now, for the geekspeak:
The speculation surrounds a specific file called USBDeviceConfiguration.plist (located at ' /System/Library/AppleUSBDevice/' in the SDK). In the 2.2.1 update, this was the same file that mentioned the original iPhone (iPhone1,1), the 3G model (iPhone1,2), and the 1st (iPod1,1) and 2nd-gen (iPod2,1) Touches. This gives credence to the notion that this new plist file likewise includes valid hardware info. The current USBDeviceConfiguration.plist mentions something called iPhone2,1 as well as iPhone3,1; iPod3,1; iFPGA; and iProd0,1.
(Ooooh. That looks promising. But what the heck is an iProd?? < - - - - NOT a typo.)
AT's tipster, developer Steven Troughton-Smith, thinks iFPGA might be a prototype with a programmable microchip. The label doesn't seem to follow Apple's standard hardware numbering protocol (with a 0,1 or number-comma-number pattern), so he's laying odds that there's probably no intention to release this. But the "iProd" does conform to the numbering standard. This makes Smith believe that this gadget - whatever it is - will be heading for the store shelves at some point, and based on the name given, it will probably won't be an iPhone or an iPod Touch device.
Then what? Oh my gosh - could it be? A Mac tablet would be awesome! Wait, wait - okay. Deep breath. I've got to put on my skepticism hat, because while these sure look like references to next-gen products, there's no certainty right now of when these will come to market, if they do at all. I know that really only time will tell. But in truth, I'm having a hard time containing myself. Unlike the past guesses and random wish lists, this looks like a solid indication that something neat may be on the horizon.
Any guesses as to what it could be? Go ahead and take a shot. The fantasizing is half the fun.