The label pictured to the right of this story, combined with a Radio Test Report carried out by EMC Labs on a PlayStation 3 with a new model number - are adding to the speculation that the PS3 Lite is just around the corner. Both documents, and a letter from Sony asking for photographs of the test machine to be be withheld from public view - are all available at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States.
The FCC is "charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable."
The letter (pictured below) from Sony asks that "to avoid premature release of sensitive information prior to marketing or release of the product to the public" photographs of the test machine - be "withheld from public disclosure" for 45 days from September 4th 2007.
A request for confidentiality is always good fodder for the rumour mills.
The test diagram - pictured below - for what is, let's remember, a Radio Test, appears to show that only two USB ports have been tested onboard the PS3. One is connected to a controller and one to a PSP. The diagram also fails to show memory card slots!
The report also contains the sentence: "As for the differences between: Model CECHG01 and the original model: CECHA01, please see "Point of Difference". The "Point of Difference" is not available.
Okay, there's the trail of "evidence" for the PS3 Lite. Now let's look at it.
First glance: new PS3! The new model number! The lack of USB ports (only two are tested). The lack of memory card slots - not tested! Hold on a second... the lack of Blu-ray in the test diagram! Finally, the confidentiality request... for marketing reasons of a new product. It all stacks up.
Or does it? We could look at it this way:
New model number: Sony has just brought a new component manufacturer online
. This could mean new processes for existing components. Hence new testing and new model number.
Only two USB ports tested: one to a controller and one to a PSP. It's a standard test of the ports for radio frequency emissions to external equipment. Why test the other two ports? There is simply no need.
No memory card slot noted! Again, it's a radio test.
No Blu-ray mentioned. The Blu-ray drive hasn't changed.
Okay, a plea for confidentiality on photographs of the test machine. That one is intriguing but not shocking - it's standard practice for multi-billion dollar, muti-nationals to protect as much information as possible even to minor changes in product.
For now, SPOnG's opinion is that it's time for a great deal of calm. We're looking into the matter and will report back on which of the two ways we've outlined (or maybe a third, fourth of fifth) the documents can be read.
All the documents - including the Radio Test diagram (pictured below) - can be found here