Developer Epic Games, the maker of the awesome Infinity Blade series, an elegiac masterpiece that really showcases what iOS gadgets are capable of, may be in possession of one of the very few production units of Apple’s highly anticipated handset, the iPhone 5.

A reader pointed us to a page on Epic’s website which makes a brief mention of the device. It could be nothing, but it could be everything as well.

If Apple’s elite developers are testing their warez against a sixth-generation iPhone, than the official unveiling couldn’t be more than a few short weeks away, as previously rumored…

A notice (hat tip to omri!) on the Epic Games’ page containing tips from the Infinity Blade development team says that last content update to Infinity Blade has been tested against iOS 5 and iPhone 5. Clicking the banner simply opens up an iTunes Preview of Infinity Blade.

This could be a typo, mind you.

Also, it’s likely an old thing as the graphics links to the original Infinity Blade game rather than the sequel, Infinity Blade II. Furthermore, the banner promises a sneak peek of Infinity Blade II (released last November) and Infinity Blade: Awakening, an iBook by Brandon Sanderson (released on October 4, 2011, the same day the iPhone 4S got introduced).

If this is an oldie, Epic Games would be wise to update their website more often.

Another thing to consider: Epic Games is one of the very few developers who get to show off their warez at Apple’s announcement related to new iPhones and iPads. Its Infinity Blade series classes as what you’d call a system seller and is exclusive to the iOS platform (no, it doesn’t exist on Android).

Henceforth, it isn’t impossible to imagine Epic Games being among the inner circle of select few developers who enjoy preferential treatment from Apple. For example, Epic got to demo Infinity Blade Dungeons (it’s totally eye-candy) at Apple’s iPad unveiling earlier this year. The game is landing this fall and is said to tap the latest chips inside current-generation iPhone and iPad devices.

A Businessweek article published on March 19, 2010, a month before the iPad hit store shelves, explained Apple had allowed a cherry-picked group of triple-A developers to test their software on then unreleased iPads.

As always, Apple went to extraordinary measures to secure its devices:

Would-be testers of the tablet-style computer, due to be released Apr. 3, must promise to keep it isolated in a room with blacked-out windows, according to four people familiar with the more than 10-page pact that bars partners from disclosing information about the iPad.

Those units were immobile and kept under a lock.

To ensure that it can’t be removed, the iPad must also remain tethered to a fixed object, said the people, who asked not to be named because their plans for the iPad have not been made public. Apple won’t send out an iPad until potential partners send photographic evidence that they’ve complied.

News Corp.’s The Wall Street Journal also had the privilege of using secured iPads ahead of the official release (say ‘hello’ to access journalism). According to the outspoken media magnate Rupert Murdoch, from a March 2010 Wall Street Journal piece:

Mr. Murdoch said the Journal planned to be on Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer. “In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” he said in response to a question. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.”

As a rule of thumb, this elite group of developers got to use locked iPads only after Apple had introduced the device two months earlier.

Following the aforementioned logic, Apple should provide a select group of developers with a chance to have an early crack at the next iPhone, but only after the company formally announces the device come September 12.

This would leave developers with only nine days to test their apps and games against the iPhone 5, between the September 12 announcement and the rumored September 21 availability.

And with incredibly complex and demanding games such as the Infinity Blade series, nine days is barely enough to discover bugs, let alone fix them. That said, it would make sense to allow developers access to test hardware at least a couple weeks ahead of general availability.

So, perhaps Apple treated Epic Games and other elite developers to a few pre-production units of the next iPhone after all?

  • Of course they do, they had the ipad 3 ahead of release also. How do you think they did there demo?

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    I would eat my hat if Epic does no have one or more iphone 5

  • Solowalker

    Of course they do. Infinity Blade 1 was essentially released with the iPhone 4 and made for it (but ran on the 3GS). Infinity Blade 2, same deal with the 4S. While they gave an early demo of Dungeons on the new iPad, it’s also being made for the new iPhone and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t released alongside the device’s release.

    It’s also interesting that they’re advertising Dungeons in the new Infinity Blade 2 update, saying it’s coming soon. I’ve got a feeling that “soon” roughly corresponds with the September event timeframe now that that’s been confirmed by everyone but Apple themselves, which also falls in line with Epic and Chair’s recent update cycle for Infinity Blade 2.

    I’m so excited. Dungeons will likely be the first new app I buy for the new iPhone.

    • And also for some people, one of the main reasons to buy the new iPhone 🙂

  • busted hahahahhaha

  • Sure, they probably have an iPhone 6. The iPhone 5 is the 4S they 100% do have a iPhone 5.

  • I’m sure companies out there who develop apps for iPhone have dev kits already for the upcoming iOS to make sure their apps are compatible.

  • I don’t like how there’s 5 dots on right and 8 dots on left on the picture. That isn’t in style of Apple.

  • Where is the picture in the heading from? Is it just an artists mock up or is that from some leaked picture I missed? If that’s what to expect from the new iPhone, I will be very happy!

  • So am I correct dual speckers?

  • Thats probably from when they thought the iPhone 4S was gonna be named iPhone 5.

  • No way a developer would get an unreleased phone. I highly doubt this and that’s probably a typo. They won’t call it the iPhone 5 anyhow; doesn’t make sense all around.

    • Solowalker

      I’m also in the camp they’re not going to call it the 5, but that’s another matter. On the topic of whether or not developers get access to unreleased phones:

      http://9to5mac.com/2011/04/21/apple-floats-iphone-4s-with-a5-chip-to-select-developers-to-prepare-for-next-gen-iphone-2/

      • If they have one, it’s probably a prototype w/ the hardware specs they’ll need, but not a finished design.

      • Solowalker

        Quite possible, but the opposite is likely, too. Nobody expected the 4S to be the final design but turns out what those select developers had was indeed final (by default at least, since they didn’t change the design from the 4).

        Of course they don’t need to know what the outside will look like, just what the inside is capable of and how it works. But I’d be surprised if they didn’t have *something.*

      • I can agree with that.

  • Of course they do. The 5th gen iPhone is the iPhone 4S, even I have one.

    Or did you mean the 6th gen iPhone, which in no way will be called the “iPhone 5”?

    Noobs.

    • alexanderlyd

      how are we ´noobs´ ?

  • Nicolas Cevallos

    They call the “iPhone 5” to the iPhone 4S.

  • Have you ever thought that every game from epic games inc. comes out when a new iphone comes out (IB1 IB2) not with the ipad I can bet a million dollars that infinity blade dungeons will come out in the appstore when the next iphone comes out

  • Just an FYI,
    iPhone 4s = iPhone 5.
    iPhone coming out in Sept-Oct = iPhone 6

    Just saying 🙂

  • Anyway must be old, why would they even test it on iOS 5 while using an iPhone 5

  • JaeM1llz

    iOS5 won’t even be released for the iPhone5, just like you can’t use iOS4 on the 4S. This page was clearly created before the 4S was released and everyone thought that it was going to be called the iPhone5.