iPhone 5 prototype released to developers. Or is it iPhone 4S?

iPhone 5? iPhone 4S? Too early to nail down a name. But the new handheld sports a speedy A5 processor, according to a new report.

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    iPhone 4S, iPhone 5. Choose your moniker: Either way, a new iPhone should hit later this year.
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iPhone 4 units kitted out with the new A5 chip are being sent to a handful of developers, according to a new report from 9to5mac.com. The A5 –– which already powers the iPad 2 –– is a next-generation processor, capable of chewing through data approximately nine times faster than the A4, the chip currently found in AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 handsets.

So why should you care? Well, because it looks like this A5 chip will be a centerpiece of the advertising campaign for the new iPhone 5. "[W]e have heard Apple is going to push this gaming performance and speed as one of the next-generation iPhone’s major marketing points," Mark Gurman of 9to5mac.com wrote today. Gurman does not identify his source.

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As for the iPhone 4S designation –– a nice echo of the iPhone 3G S –– that's just shorthand. "The person who chose to share this information with us calls it the ‘iPhone 4S’, though the device itself only has typical Apple prototype nomenclature," Gurman notes. "He also shared that the device spends its evenings in a safe in the company’s offices." Just like a spy movie.

The iPhone 4S scuttlebutt comes as a gazillion blogs echo with news of the (probably) forthcoming iPhone 5, which is expected to hit shelves in September. Just to be clear: Neither iPhone 5 nor iPhone 4S is a set-in-stone moniker. There is going to be a new iPhone, and it will almost definitely include the A5 chip, and a better camera, but we have no idea what the thing will be called, and neither does anyone else.

Click here to check out some previous reporting on iPhone 5-gate. For more tech news, sign up for the free Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday morning.

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