Early 2005 iPhone Prototype Looked More Like a Thick iPad Mini

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Apr 12, 2001
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Ars Technica shares several photos of an early functional prototype of the iPhone from 2005, revealing a device closer in size to a thick iPad mini than an iPhone.

The photos were sent to Ars by an anonymous former Apple employee who worked on the project in the early 2000s. The prototype is 5x7 inches in size, and nearly two inches thick - though much of the thickness was to accommodate features like serial and Ethernet ports installed purely to use the device in a development environment.
Apple watchers have seen all manner of iPhone prototypes pop up on eBay, in court documents, and in leaked photos. But most were either close approximations of the first iPhone that was released in 2007 or of later models.

What we don't often get to see is early Apple prototypes, those from way before the iPhone started to look like a phone-like object. That's why we were excited to receive photos showing an in-house version of the iPhone from early 2005. The images to Ars through a former Apple employee who worked on various Apple hardware projects in the early 2000s and was thus exposed to some of the earliest versions of the iPhone.
Ars Technica points out that the Samsung ARM chip used is "a distant relative of the chip the first iPhone ended up using, just older and slower."


Article Link: Early 2005 iPhone Prototype Looked More Like a Thick iPad Mini
 

nep61

macrumors 6502
May 17, 2007
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Serial port... nice! Amazing how prototypes use available technology and then morph into what we have today.
 
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SmoMo

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Aug 20, 2011
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Wow, that is an Atari VCS joystick port right?
Why did they scrap that feature? :(
 

Tiger8

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May 23, 2011
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As usual, Android copies Apple! Samsung Note is a ripoff of the original iPhone!

:D :apple:
 

lucasfer899

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2012
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Thank god the iPhone was released at a later date when everything was a bit smaller. :eek:

Also, I wonder what the earlier oses were like :rolleyes:
 

Peace

macrumors Core
Apr 1, 2005
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Is this the device that sat on a shelve until Steve picked it up and thought of a phone ? Which later became the iPad ?

Or is this after he thought of the iPhone ?
 

karpich1

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2007
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No offense to some, as I like Apple products...

But had Apple released THAT, I'm sure SOME people would still be calling it the best thing since sliced bread.
 

geiman

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Feb 27, 2011
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Is this the device that sat on a shelve until Steve picked it up and thought of a phone ? Which later became the iPad ?

Or is this after he thought of the iPhone ?
Typically a prototype will look nothing like the final product.

Any embedded system starts life out in a similar fashion. Phones, tablets, etc. Even though that board looks nothing like an iPhone, at it's heart they are both the same (or in this case, very close to the original).

Look at the Beagleboard:

http://beagleboard.org/

Or the Pandaboard:

http://pandaboard.org/

They are both ARM development boards meant to speed the process of developing some sort of embedded system that is targeting the OMAP3/OMAP4 series of processors. The above pictures are simply Apple's version of these boards.
 

jafingi

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Apr 3, 2009
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Very interesting! Love to see how the iPhone has developed throughout the development phases.

Would have loved to see some of the old OS prototypes it ran. :eek:
 

unplugme71

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May 20, 2011
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I don't know how well a phone would work tied into an Ethernet connection. You'd have to have some seriously long cords available to be 'mobile'.