iPhone 5 Test Units Arrive Sealed in Boxes at Carrier Labs

Operators are starting to receive boxed versions of the next-generation Apple iPhone with the purpose of testing ahead of the phone’s official debut this fall, according to a British newspaper.

Carrier sources close to The Guardian have reportedly learned that Apple is actively working with wireless operators to confirm that the iPhone 5 will work flawlessly on their airwaves.

The units are said to arrive inside “locked and sealed boxes.” Only high-profile testers assigned by the carriers are to open them up for tests inside their labs.

According to said source, barely anyone gets to open the boxes. Those who do will see the hardware “encased in a dummy body,” which still ensures no one can get the full scoop on the next-generation iPhone just yet.

The move is said to be directly tied to the Antennagate fiasco. In an obvious approach, Apple is now taking all precautions that reception issues never plague an iPhone ever again.

The British paper goes to speculate that Apple is also likely adopting new methods to ensure no leaks occur either.

Last year, the iPhone 4 was shrouded in controversy even before it was officially confirmed, with one of Apple’s testers losing a prototype unit in a bar.

The device eventually got into the savvy hands of Gizmodo.com, a technology-centric site whose editors were later investigated and slapped on the wrist for their decision to disclose the specifications of the iPhone 4 ahead of its official debut.

Apple also no longer sends Gizmodo invitations to its iconic events.

Carriers will not want to end up in the same boat with them. As such, they will ensure iPhone 5 testing is done behind a series of closed doors with no risk of having someone photograph a unit and get the word out, according to the paper.

Should this happen, not only could the tester lose his job, but the operator might risk losing its privilege to carry the next iPhone.

As far as the release date is concerned, September still looks like the safest bet, according to the newspaper.

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