Apple Caught Field Testing Fourth-Gen iPhone

This news shouldn't surprise anyone, certainly not in terms of location. Apple has begun field-testing the 4th generation iPhone in the San Francisco Bay Area. Developers of the iPhone app iBART, which is used to help commuters around the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART), Pandav, have reported the finding via the Pinch Media analytics used in their applications.

The Cupertino-based company probably has engineers and testers using BART throughout the Bay Area.

Pinch Media's analytics breaks down customer usage by specific devices as referenced by the internal device ID numbers assigned by Apple. The original iPhone is iPhone1,1; the iPhone 3G is iPhone1,2, and the iPhone 3GS is iPhone2.1 This new device ID is iPhone3,1, which was first seen in beta versions of iPhone OS 3.0 way back in March, but wasn't seen "live" until now.

Apple similarly began testing the iPhone 3GS way back in October 2008 and Pinch Media saw the new device ID string for quite some time in their numbers before reporting it.

Typical of new iPhones, there is very little information about the device, at least yet. The biggest rumor is that AT&T may lose exclusivity for the hot app phone, with Verizon getting the device (and probably tons of defectors, if that happens) at the time of the next iPhone refresh in mid-2010.