The first oblique references to the next generation of Apple iPhones have been found in the wild.
According to a report by MacRumors, usage logs that provide developers with information on which devices are using their software have begun to include references to "iPhone3,1."
There is - as of today - no iPhone3,1. The current model, the iPhone 3GS, bears the designation of iPhone2,1. Therefore, the tea-leaf readers surmise, iPhone3,1 must refer to the next iPhone that Apple has coming down the pike.
The developer that reported the tell-tale identifier, Pandav, offers schedule-checking iPhone apps for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit light-rail system, (App Store links) iBART (Free) and iBART Live (no relation to iFart, iFart, or iFart).
The sighting of iPhone3,1 references in Pandav's iBART usage logs seems to indicate that the device is being tested in the San Francisco Bay Area, near the southern end of which is Apple's hometown of Cupertino.
MacRumors reminds us that the iPhone2,1 identification string was first similarly sighted in the Bay Area about eight months before the iPhone 3GS was released. iPhone releases have come in June 2007, July 2008, and June 2009, so an eight-month test period for iPhone 3,1 would keep iPhone3,1 on that early-summer release schedule.
Check back in June or July 2010 - although there is certain to to be a flood of rumors about the next-gen iPhone's capabilities before then. ®