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How to spot a fake iPhone 5 leak

With the launch of Apple's latest iteration of the iPhone becoming more and more imminent, the rumour mills are working overtime to produce some very convincing photos and videos of supposed 'leaks'. Here's our guide to spotting which ones are just Photoshop wizardry.

iPhone 5 Bad Mockup-4

Every tech blog worth its salt will be posting up the apparently ‘leaked’ photos and videos of the new iPhone 5 between now and it’s imminent launch, and we love it. Don’t get us wrong, we’re just as excited as the next Apple affectionado about the latest mobile device to come out of Cupertino, but we’re also pretty cynical about these supposed leaks. Okay, leaving an iPhone prototype knocking around in a Californian bar might be a good sign that a leak is genuine, but otherwise Apple’s security is tight and it’s very unlikely. With that in mind, we thought we’d throw together a few helpful pointers to help you work out which leaks are the real deal and which are Photoshop fakery.

Rule number 1: If it looks bad, it’s probably never going to be made by Apple
This hard and fast rule is multi-functional across the entire range of Apple’s products. The long and short of it is, Apple make great looking products, so why on earth would the latest iteration of anything look so ghastly? As a company, Apple have one of the most distinctive brands
and clearest strategy when it comes to the materials they use and the way they build their products out of any tech manufacturer out there. In other words, if it doesn’t look like something Apple would built, then it probably isn’t. Here’s a few examples: A: Now, we all know about Apple’s penchant for using big slabs of aluminium as a basis for their products, but this one looks like it skipped a few milling processes, had a few holes cut out and headed straight towards the laser engraver. It’s just not working, and whilst we’d love to see Apple stray away from crack-prone glass with their mobile devices, this isn’t quite what we were expecting.

iPhone 5 Bad Mockup-2 Exhibit B: Words pretty much fail us on this one. After antennaegate we know the bumper was rolled out for a lot of iPhone 4s, but this mockup makes it look like Apple would build the bumper onto the iPhone 5 in anticipation of problems. D’oh. Secondly, look at the rather old version of iOS that’s running on this, that’s another clue, which leads us neatly on to…

Rule number 2: Look at the OS
Apple are pretty particular about the way the operating system looks in promotional photos, they’re particular about the way their operating system looks full stop. In a press photo the iPhone’s time will always read 9.41 or 9.42 and it wont show a carrier but will have full signal. They’ll also displays apps in the right order. Add to that the fact that if you’ve managed to get your grubby mitts on an iPhone 5 prototype, whilst dodging proverbial bullets from Apple’s legal team who are screaming for it to return to Infinite Loop immediately, you’ve probably not had time jailbreak it. Ergo, jailbroken iPhone = probably a fake. Check these out:

iPhone 5 Bad Mockup-3Exhibit C: Whilst the UI and the concept of having all screens on one screen for multitasking might well be feasible. 1) Take a look at the background, it’s like Barbie has been sick. 2) Check out that Odd-looking search bar at the top, it’s all transparent and weird looking. The current search bar dominates the width of the screen so why would Apple make it any smaller? It just doesn’t make sense. Besides, even if this was a jailbreak, who takes photos of a supposed iPhone 5 after they’ve jailbroke it but not before? It’s got to be fake.

iPhone 5 Bad Mockup-4

Exhibit D: This one only appeared online today, posted as part of a YouTube video supposedly referring to a secret part of Apple’s German website. It all seems pretty convincing, right? Well, take a look at the time on the phone…that’s not 9.41 nor 9.42! Plus, it’s displaying no service, and Holy Jobs! iPhone promo shots never do that!

Rule number 3: Think iPhone and Mac users can use Photoshop? Think again.
This probably ought to be rule number one, because it’s the most requirement of creating a convincing ‘leaked photo’, it’s got to be a good Photoshop job. Classic giveaways include blurry or pixelated photos, or just photos of iPhone 4s that’ve been warped to death by Photoshop’s distort tool. The warped iPhone 4s are the easiest to spot because rather than looking like a brand new model which a lot of thought and time has gone into, they look like, well…like someone warped the life out of an iPhone 4. Some photoshop jobs are a little more convincing, but look out for backgrounds and hands, they’re often a good indicator of where something’s been expanded or condensed.

iPhone 5 Bad Mockup-5 Exhibit E: Unless we’re going to presume that Apple now like to try and make their iPhones look like they have faces, or that genuinely they think a 3D camera (despite not having a 3d display) is a good idea. We can safely say that this is a (pretty awful) Photoshop job. The two cameras aren’t even aligned for a start. That’s not the production quality we’d expect from Steve’s friends at Foxconn. Secondly, check out that 5, the only time we’ve Apple used a script font that bad is the word ‘Demo’ at any keynote. Basically, this is a terrible Photoshop fake.

We hope we’ve armed with you with enough tips and advice on spotting those pesky fake iPhone 5 leak photos now, the same rules pretty much apply to videos, too. If it’s shaky or blurry, it’s probably not worth watching. Of course, the true test of whether an iPhone 5 photo is real or not is whether Apple release it or not, but that’s a whole new argument in it’s own right.

Have you seen any convincing iPhone 5 leak photos? Have you picked up on a few awful fakes that we haven’t? Let us know in the comments or Tweet us @iCreateMagazine, we’d love to see them!