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Phil Schiller's Greasy Fingers Spark IPhone 3G Video Camera Frenzy


Apple keynotes come and go, but the folklore surrounding them never dies down. The latest keynote discovery suggests that the iPhone 3G sample unit used by vice president Phil Schiller included a front-facing video camera.

Apple events are known not only for drawing an excessive amount of media attention, but for a frame by frame examination of pictures in order to find new details about products. This year’s Apple developer conference currently underway in San Francisco isn’t any different. In an absence of a potentially shocking "one more thing" moment that no-one saw coming, online media outlets are digging for unnoticed details.

The first such moment was when Drudge Report posted screenshots taken from Jobs’ keynote, suggesting that Apple CEO looks a bit skeletal. The Wall Street Journal immediately picked on the story which soon ended up all over the Internet, triggering cancer scare which prompted Apple’s PR to admit that Jobs is suffering from "a common bug"

Today, Gizmodo ran an article about an interesting discovery by Nathan Ziehnert, a Gizmodo reader who had thoroughly analyzed the keynote frame-by-frame, secret service style. Ziehnert pointed to a particular moment when Apple’s VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller joined Jobs on stage to demonstrate the new iPhone’s capabilities. The demo unit had a cable connected to the big screen so enable attendees see what was displayed on the handset. The big screen was also showing a view from a camera behind the executive’s shoulders, as he was tapping the iPhone’s screen.

At one point, it appeared as if the demo unit revealed a front-facing camera placed in the upper left corner of the device. The story goes that this additional front-facing video camera is present on a demo unit, but mysteriously absent from the final product set to ship on July 11. You can watch the video attached to the article to determine for yourself if that is the case. For a brief moment, it actually appears as if Ziehnert found an unannounced feature.

A few moments later, you will notice that the alleged camera is simply grease. Yes, we had some hope for this feature, but on the other side it is a bit unrealistic to assume that super-secretive Apple would make such a blatant mistake and use an unannounced prototype on stage. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun watching the video.

Although video recording capability has been heavily rumored up to the point of certainty and fooled even analysts, Apple somewhat surprised users with the omission of such a capability in the iPhone 3G. But for most users video was never an issue with the iPhone in the first place. What people apparently complained most about was the absence of 3G support and a steep prices, both of which Apple addressed - at least when we look at the hardware itself and not attached services.