For a gadget blog like Gizmodo, this is roughly equivalent to us getting hold of a secret Palin memo revealing whether she’s running in 2012 or not. It’s the mother lode.

I haven’t pawed at the screen since, well, since that Christina Hendricks Esquire cover. But tell me I’m wrong:

What’s new

• Front-facing video chat camera
• Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
• Camera flash
• Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
• Improved display. It’s unclear if it’s the 960×640 display thrown around before—it certainly looks like it, with the “Connect to iTunes” screen displaying much higher resolution than on a 3GS.
• What looks to be a secondary mic for noise cancellation, at the top, next to the headphone jack
• Split buttons for volume
• Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic

What’s changed

• The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through. Tapping on the back makes a more hollow and higher pitched sound compared to tapping on the glass on the front/screen, but that could just be the orientation of components inside making for a different sound
• An aluminum border going completely around the outside
• Slightly smaller screen than the 3GS (but seemingly higher resolution)
• Everything is more squared off
• 3 grams heavier
• 16% Larger battery
• Internals components are shrunken, miniaturized and reduced to make room for the larger battery

Oodles of photos at the link; the design really is a noticeable improvement over the chintzy, curved, plastic-backed later models. (My first-generation silverback remains beautiful.) Even if you’re not a gadget fan, read the post as it’s fun to watch them wrestle with their disbelief that they’ve got an honest-to-goodness only-one-in-captivity iPhone 4G in their grasp. It tracks like a mystery novel: Sure, it looks like an iPhone, and it’s recognized as an iPhone when you connect it to iTunes, but not until you pop off the back is its true identity revealed…

They don’t say definitively that it’s HD, but the many hints about noticeably higher resolution point that way. Which is nice, but at that screen size, how much of a difference can there be between regulation definition and high? Exit question: Who’s getting one?

Tags: Sarah Palin