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Did parts from a new iPhone model (briefly) appear on YouTube?

The odds are resoundingly against any surprise CES announcements concerning Apple’s iPhone (Apple will reportedly wait to around Valentine’s Day for that). But that’s not stopping a new wave of iPhone speculation fueled by leaked photos and videos that seem to show parts belonging to a device that is very similar an iPhone 4 — but not quite.

Several iPhone repair and parts companies claim to have somehow gotten a hold of parts that belong to a new model of iPhone. The website posted a video to YouTube yesterday that appeared to show a bare metal iPhone chassis. Earlier today, the video was yanked indicating a complaint from Apple.

How the companies could have come into possession of the parts is as big a mystery as how an Apple engineer could leave an iPhone 4 prototype in a bar, but without allowing for alcohol consumption as a valid excuse.

If the parts do indeed belong to a new iPhone model, then it appears that Apple may have adjusted the phone’s antennae design to correct the “antennaegate” issues that initially plagued the iPhone 4’s launch last summer.

Another theory circulating suggests that the parts belong to a re-worked iPhone that is meant to run on a CDMA network — potentially fulfilling the interminable “Verizon iPhone” prophecy. However, it has been pointed out that the chassis appears to have a SIM card slot which would imply either dual CDMA/GSM capability or that it’s designed to run on Verizon’s nascent LTE network, which seems rather unlikely.

Another curiosity unveiled in the video was the absence of a rear-camera hole, leaving many to wonder if Apple is planning on doing away with a two-camera design completely or has merely developed slimmer parts that require less infrastructure support. Light leaks from the camera design have been suggested as a cause of the delayed release of the white iPhone 4.

As we learned from last year’s iPhone 4 leak, Apple is going to remain tight-lipped and guard its secrets closely until Steve Jobs is good and ready to say something. And until then, or until we see a leak of a wired-up model, we can only guess at what 2011 has in store for the  iPhone.

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