If what we’ve been hearing about the Apple iPhone 5′s improvements over the existing iPhone 4 is true, it seems like a lot of the upgrades are going to be largely cosmetic. There may be a larger screen, and a higher-resolution camera, but the only foretold change that looks like it would have a large impact on developers is the switch to the new A5 chip from the iPad 2. According to the latest rumor, Apple’s been installing this chip in existing iPhone 4 models to provide developers with a handset that can perform at iPhone 5 levels.
Remember when one of Apple’s engineers left an iPhone 4 in a bar, giving us our first look at the new hardware? It was made-up with a custom case to appear like an old 3GS. Apple distributing these hybrid iPhone 4s with new A5 chips could be a bit of the same kind of undercover job, making someone serendipitously coming across one less likely to result in a leak. That may be reading too much into it, as the rest of the iPhone 5 hardware may not be set in stone yet, and Apple just wants to give developers as much of a head start as possible. Along with the new chip, these phones supposedly contain updated iOS software to take advantage of the new hardware.