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Apple's iPhone 5 Prototype Now Out in the Wild, Says Report

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Upon Apple's (AAPL) unveiling of the third-generation iPad, analysts and bloggers were surprised to find... a total lack of surprise. Nearly every feature -- from the Retina Display to the 4G networking support from AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) -- had been detailed and expected days, even months, ahead of the launch. Not since an Apple staffer drunkenly left behind an iPhone 4 in a German beer garden two months prior to its unveiling had so much wind been taken out of Apple's usually secretive sails.

At that point, we had to wonder: Have we seen the end to Steve Jobs' notoriously clandestine Apple? What's happened to the company if it can't maintain a shroud of secrecy as well as Android (GOOG), BlackBerry (RIMM), or Windows Phone (MSFT)?

But with a new report from 9to5Mac, it would appear that cloak-and-dagger operations at Cupertino are continuing unabated.

According to 9to5Mac's Marc Gurman, prototypes of the iPhone 5 -- or "New iPhone," following the naming pattern introduced by the "New iPad" -- are now being field-tested amongst the staffers. And as with previous models, the units are housed in cases that make it appear like an iPhone 4 or 4S.

Good to hear that Tim Cook still has a bit of Steve Jobs in him.

Gurman also notes that the prototypes do not contain an A6 processor but rather a variation of the A5X chip found in the latest iPad. The slightly different architecture will reportedly still pack 1GB of RAM. As of now, the pre-release model is carrying an "N96" codename, but it's not yet known if this label will apply to the final release.

(See also: Microsoft Destroys Beloved Franchise's Last Shred of Dignity and AT&T Falsely 'Upgrades' iPhone 4S to 4G)

Twitter: @mcs212

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