Was this photo actually taken by an iPhone 5?

A mysterious photograph has surfaced with evidence embedded in the file that indicates the image was probably taken by an iPhone 5. Further analysis of the reflection in the photograph shows someone holding the device that captured the image. To begin, let's just say that the folks over at pocketnow who revealed the image have a lot of time on their hands.

photo purportedly taken by iPhone 5

The image itself could be a plate of sushi from anywhere, but according to the embedded geolocation data within the original photograph, it was taken on the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. The photo was cropped to 2235 x 2291 pixels, while Exchangeable image file format (Exif) data in the file points to an original resolution of 3264 x 2448. This happens to be the magic number of eight megapixels at the iPhone-friendly 4:3 ratio.

The iPhone 5 is widely expected to have an eight-megapixel camera and thanks to information from the supply chain and others this fact is almost certain. Of course, the analysis doesn't end there. Exif data claims the photo was taken by an iPhone 4, however the lens type doesn't match up. The photograph was taken with a 4.3mm f/2.4 aperture lens, however the iPhone 4 has a 3.85mm f/2.8 lens. Why the mismatch?

First of all, Exif data can be altered. But this is not necessarily intentional, as uploading the photo from an iPhone 4 could change the Exif data. Besides, Apple could have safeguards in place that would make the firmware identify itself as running on an iPhone 4 to hide the fact that its engineers are testing next generation hardware in the field. When it comes to this photo, it also contains data that points to the use of an OS X computer somewhere along the line.

iPhone 5 photo deconstructed
As if this weren't enough, one of the readers at This is my next did some forensic work on the sushi plate to see what was in the reflection. Warping the photo to straighten out the reflection reveals some guy holding what looks like a camera or a smartphone. It actually looks a lot like how anyone would hold an iPhone while taking a photo. He might even be snapping the photo without touching the screen, so could this be further evidence of an iPhone 5?

We know iOS 5 will allow photos to be taken using the volume buttons as a shutter release. Then again, the altered photo is blurry and it's not really clear what's going on. The good news is that Apple actually does serve sushi in its cafeteria, and the original image was posted to Flickr by an Apple software engineer and titled Lunch at Work. So was this photo actually taken by an iPhone 5?