Images of a handset claiming to be the iPhone 6 were published by American celebrity gossip site TMZ this week and subsequently republished by a host of technology blogs both in the UK and abroad.
Unfortunately, the phone pictured here is not an iPhone 6. As spotted by reliable tech tipster Sonny Dickson, this is in fact a Chinese-built fake made to look like the upcoming Apple handset, and which is running a version of Android modified to look like iOS 8.
These fakes have done the rounds online for several weeks now, but we suspect none will be seen by mainstream internet users quite as much as this one.
But how do we know it’s a fake?
It’s running Android
TMZ’s source says the phone isn’t running iOS - contrary to some secondary reports - which is apparently standard procedure for “security purposes” during the development of iPhones. While it is true that the first iPhone had its hardware and software developed by two different teams, who each had fake mockups of the other’s work, this iPhone 6 is actually running a modified version of Google’s Android software.
The home button assist tool shown on the screen copies a genuine part of iOS, but in this instance it refers to the system’s Back and Menu buttons, which iOS does not have and no iPhone has ever had. A quick Google search produces a YouTube video of a Samsung running Android made to look like iOS 7.
The Calendar app icon
In addition to this, the eagle-eyed folk at 9to5Mac have noticed that TMZ’s iPhone has the wrong Calendar app icon. As the site explains: “The first image shows that the Calendar icon uses a heavy bold font-face for the date (’13’), when iOS 7 and iOS 8 use a much thinner lightweight font...Although these clones get better and better at copying the real thing, it is still not that hard to spot the fakes.”
The gap between the glass and the display
Finally, the third way to quickly tell this phone is a fake is to look at the gap between the glass and the display panel itself. Apple bonds the display and touch-sensitive layer together and to the glass, almost completely removing the already-small gap between the three components. The TMZ iPhone 6 clearly has a sizeable gap on show in the first image.
Almost-complete iPhones have leaked out of the factory before - remember when an iPhone 4 was found in an American tequila bar? - and there’s nothing to say we won’t see a complete iPhone 6 before its expected 9 September launch date, but for now we urge you all to file this spotting under ‘fake’.