Apple ships iPhone 4S to developers

If you are one of a select group of iPhone developers, a rather nice surprise might well have landed on your doorstep recently, the iPhone 4S. The rest of us will have to watch with envy from afar.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, this prototype phone packs an A5 processor, the same dual-core chip you'll find in your iPad 2. It means an altogether more powerful phone, especially when it comes to gaming – something Apple is keen to push with its next-generation handset.

With that in mind, Apple is sending out the prototype phones to 'select developers', so they can work on versions of iPhone apps that take full advantage of the new iPhone’s improved hardware, specifically developers from 'high-level gaming outfits'. Will you see one out and about? Probably not. One developer who has one said that it 'spends its evenings in a safe in the company’s offices' and looks 'virtually identical to the iPhone 4'. So if you do see one, you probably wouldn't know anyway.

However, it does offer a small glimpse into what the iPhone 5 will offer. Rumours abound that the iPhone 5 looks much like the current model, but with improved inner workings and an enhanced eight-megapixel camera. The 4S sadly doesn't give us a first-look at the new iOS 5 operating system. it actually runs with an amended version of iOS 4 that supports the next-generation hardware.

But it does show that the new iPhone is well on track for launch, later in the year than we would usually expect, but looking good for a launch in late summer or autumn. iOS 5 should be here sooner, perhaps as soon as June.

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