Video shows early competing iPhone prototypes developed by Tony Fadell and Scott Forstall

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 11
A video posted to the internet on Tuesday shows two very early iPhone prototypes running differing software versions of Apple's "Acorn OS," one developed by a team led by Tony Fadell and another by Scott Forstall's group.




The pair of rare handsets and their respective bare-bones operating systems are shown off in images and a video posted to the website of parts leaker Sonny Dickson. In the short clip, both prototypes boot up to an extremely limited feature set, which mostly consists of diagnostics tools and basic system information.

Explaining the hardware, Dickson notes Apple put two teams to work when creating the software that would ultimately power the original iPhone. The first device, designated "P1," ran software developed with the help of Tony Fadell, while a second "P2" variant was the brainchild of Scott Forstall.

While both models share an -- extremely rough -- original iPhone aesthetic and are powered by identical internal components, the underlying software is completely different.

As seen last week, Fadell's P1 version of Acorn bears a striking resemblance to the aqua-styled onscreen interfaces seen on iPods at the time. In fact, the P1 implements a digital representation of a scroll wheel to cycle through hierarchical system menus made famous by pre-iPhone OS iPod products.

By contrast, Forstall's P2 client software is a more fleshed out direct touch -- ultimately multitouch -- interface complete with icons and interactive onscreen graphical elements. While an obvious prototype, the P2 version seen below shares similarities with the "SwitchBoard" operating system Apple currently deploys to test iPhone prototypes.

The P1 and P2 hardware showcased today are just two of likely hundreds or even thousands of iterations, both hardware and software, that evolved through Apple's comprehensive prototyping process to become the iPhone.





Rumors swirling as late as December 2006, just a month shy of iPhone's unveiling at Macworld, suggested the finalized smartphone would adopt a virtual click wheel and other features native to Fadell's attempt. Despite rampant speculation, it was Forstall's vision of Acorn OS that ultimately became iPhone OS, the operating system now known as iOS.

Monday marked the 10th anniversary of late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs' presentation of the original iPhone in January 2007. For an inside look at how iPhone changed the trajectory of tech, and how it continues to shape our future, make sure to read AppleInsider's in-depth retrospective.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,850member
    If the the touchscreen component wasn't available then Fadell's concept would've made more sense with a physical, touchpad click wheel, but that's not what we're seeing here. We're seeing virtual buttons where we would assume they would've been physical buttons and the window for the actual content not even taking up 1/4 or the display. This makes me think that the P1 version of Accord was never designed for or tested on the HW shown.
    bloggerblog
  • Reply 2 of 41
    That's an. Interesting video.
    Whatever happened to Fadell's loyal fans who thought Google buying Nest instead of Apple was a sign of Apple's decline? For that matter, what happened to Forstall's loyalists who thought his love of skeuomorphic UI and refusal to apologize for Maps made him the perfect future Steve Jobs?
    Solimacxpress
  • Reply 3 of 41
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    mdriftmeyerwilliamlondonperkedelasdasdk2kwjay-t
  • Reply 4 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,850member
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    If you look at what has changed from iOS 7 to iOS 10 (and we get to see iOS 11 in only 5 months) you'll see a lot of changes. Personally I love the direction they went with iOS 7 and iOS 6 looked so outdated even back when it was new. It was long overdue for a change.
    macxpresssmiffy31bloggerblogjay-troundaboutnowjony0
  • Reply 5 of 41
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    Forstall wasn't let go because he didn't support a "flat" UI. That's ridiculous. Go back and read the press release and then some of the reporting around that time. There were reports that Bob Mansfield wouldn't meet with him unless Tim Cook was present. There were reports that he was slagging off other teams to his team members in emails. In a BBC interview Tony Fadell said Forstall " got what he deserved". None of that has anything to do with flat UI.

    A number of the people involved in the original iPhone UI are still at Apple working on the user interface team. In fact one of them presented at WWDC last year (was part of the iMessage demo).
    SolibloggerblogStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 6 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,850member
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    Forstall wasn't let go because he didn't support a "flat" UI. That's ridiculous. Go back and read the press release and then some of the reporting around that time. There were reports that Bob Mansfield wouldn't meet with him unless Tim Cook was present. There were reports that he was slagging off other teams to his team members in emails. In a BBC interview Tony Fadell said Forstall " got what he deserved". None of that has anything to do with flat UI.
    Was there a change in his attitude because he wasn't chosen as Jobs' successor and/or is this a situation where he was always difficult but was able to be controlled by Jobs since he started back at NeXT?
  • Reply 7 of 41
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.

    Scott was a colleague and one of the main architects of AppKit. Ives doesn't know a damn thing about Software Design or Development. Steve Jobs never would have ousted Forstall. He was one of his most favored top architects at NeXT and Apple. Scott was very good at his job.

    The problem we see isn't just a few folks, but a lot of key architects from NeXT left between 2007-2012. When you lose people like Bertrand Serlet you lose far more than someone like Chris Lattner. Bertrand was a guiding force behind Openstep and later OS X. He is brilliant as well as being a very engaging and personable human being, who not unlike a conductor of an Orchestra knew how to make it all cohesively work and meet deadlines.

    Also, losing the creator of the Mach Microkernel and Senior VP Avie Tevanian was a monumental blow that most people don't grasp.

    edited January 11 williamlondonboredumbelijahgasdasdjbishop1039icoco3jay-tjony0
  • Reply 8 of 41
    Soli said:
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    Forstall wasn't let go because he didn't support a "flat" UI. That's ridiculous. Go back and read the press release and then some of the reporting around that time. There were reports that Bob Mansfield wouldn't meet with him unless Tim Cook was present. There were reports that he was slagging off other teams to his team members in emails. In a BBC interview Tony Fadell said Forstall " got what he deserved". None of that has anything to do with flat UI.
    Was there a change in his attitude because he wasn't chosen as Jobs' successor and/or is this a situation where he was always difficult but was able to be controlled by Jobs since he started back at NeXT?

    Steve spent most of his time at PIXAR after 1993 and the release of Openstep for Intel. We weren't making black hardware anymore and PIXAR was working on Toy Story. Steve didn't invest much time at NeXT until WebObjects and even then later he was mainly back at PIXAR. When the merger was a possibility he immediately re-engaged on NeXT and the possibility of being the special consultant advisor that later became iCEO moved him from 100% PIXAR to 100% Apple.

    Steve was really a Hardware man. He expected the OS to work as meticulously as he expected the hardware to be both aesthetically ideal and as reliable as possible. He hated to have an idea and later discover it would take time to develop it. It's also one of the reasons he loved being on the forefront of controlling the OS and Hardware. It was also a problem for NeXT because instead of being just ahead of the industry curve we were always ten years ahead, which translated into no one being interested.

    Tim Cook seems to prefer being 6 months ahead and thus irritates the hell out of those more in favor of Steve's 18 months ahead of the competition. If you are just barely ahead of the competition most people will overlook your innovation as nothing special. But nearly two years and everyone will be a copycat.

    Scott was very much respected, but let's be honest, a lot of the folks today who are Senior VPs weren't even senior managers at NeXT. Most of the top brass moved on and out of the industry entirely after the merger. Some people are better at seeing the big picture and others have big egos who were given a huge title to match.

    Believe it or not, but Craig is a dick and butted heads with a lot of former colleagues he worked with at NeXT and later after he came back to Apple by leapfrogging others more qualified than himself. People rave about his ``keynote'' entertaining moments, but he's actually not the most laid back person to be around. Forestall was far more qualified to demo OS X, iOS than Federighi ever would be. Craig's focus at NeXT was EOF (Enterprise Objects Framework) and that was it. Scott was one of the principal architects of AppKit and much more.

    A fellow colleague of mine and friend to this day that was better than all of them at charisma, showmanship and always made the best in-house demos is Mark Tacchi. He garnered fame by creating the Java Gamelet Toolkit on a whim, while at NeXT. He's the founder and CEO of Vendini. Also founded one other company named HipBone.

    If anyone would have been Steve's successor it would have been Mark, but during the merger people offered him a ton of cash to bolt and run a new startup software engineering division at more than double what Apple was willing to pay. He's just an all around great person who knows how to engage, is amazingly compassionate and a keen eye for building teams, while having a grounded ego.

    Guys like Faddell are pure opportunists. Guys like Tacchi wanted to work at NeXT because of it's unique vision and its founder's history. They are rare.

    edited January 11 2old4funwilliamlondonboredumbtechprod1gyelijahgasdasdjbishop1039jay-tpaxmanbadmonk
  • Reply 9 of 41
    leighrleighr Posts: 146member
    Have to say that I miss Scott's work. Still hope that one day he will return to Apple.
    edited January 11 williamlondonasdasdcali
  • Reply 10 of 41
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,006member
    This shows how bad the iPhone could have been if not for Jobs good taste.  

    However, this is proof of concept prototype stuff.  It shows the potential of each (and the huge drawback of the iPod interface for touch).  

    I can just hear Jobs saying "Make it (the buttons and icons) more like OSX."   
    jay-t
  • Reply 11 of 41
    We always had some money budgeted for looking at new technology and one year we used it to purchase a NeXT cube and 5 workstations. To this day it was the best computer I have ever used and I can't imagine what it would perform like on modern hardware. I miss using it a lot and I wish I had purchased on when they were available on eBay. Everything else still seems so crude by comparison and I have to wonder what it would have evolved into.



  • Reply 12 of 41
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 3,221member
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    What!! It was more stagnant prior to 7. In fact, that's probably why he had to go.
    Apple was losing out to Android big time in features during IOS 6.
    macxpresssmiffy31
  • Reply 13 of 41
    nhtnht Posts: 3,417member
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.

    Scott was a colleague and one of the main architects of AppKit. Ives doesn't know a damn thing about Software Design or Development. Steve Jobs never would have ousted Forstall. He was one of his most favored top architects at NeXT and Apple. Scott was very good at his job.

    The problem we see isn't just a few folks, but a lot of key architects from NeXT left between 2007-2012. When you lose people like Bertrand Serlet you lose far more than someone like Chris Lattner. Bertrand was a guiding force behind Openstep and later OS X. He is brilliant as well as being a very engaging and personable human being, who not unlike a conductor of an Orchestra knew how to make it all cohesively work and meet deadlines.

    Also, losing the creator of the Mach Microkernel and Senior VP Avie Tevanian was a monumental blow that most people don't grasp.

    Lol, I don't get the Chris hate.  Yes Avie and Bertrand were important but if you look at their body of work post Apple and the loss appears to be primarily institutional knowledge.  It's unlikely that they would have moved the ball that much further forward.

    Chris may or may not have another big technical advance in him but if he does it was unlikely to happen at Apple anyway.  Still his loss is no less than Scott, Bertrand or Avie.
    edited January 11 StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 41
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,191member
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    It does seem a shame Scott was skewered by skeuomorphism!  I think he'd have come around to a flatter interface too. As to maps, I don't know enough to say if he was just a fall guy or really to blame.  He was certainly a great asset to Apple over the years and as an aside a very good presenter too.  However, I think talk of him being Steve's replacement were premature and not helpful to his career at Apple.  I too wonder if that went to his head making him unbearable for Cook and Ives.  One day soon I'm sure there will be a movie.
    edited January 11
  • Reply 15 of 41
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,339member
    @Mdriftmeyer:
    "Tim Cook seems to prefer being 6 months ahead and thus irritates the hell out of those more in favor of Steve's 18 months ahead of the competition. If you are just barely ahead of the competition most people will overlook your innovation as nothing special. But nearly two years and everyone will be a copycat."

    Brilliant - just very well said...
  • Reply 16 of 41
    Seems legit. Viewing this link on YouTube shows top comment by Bob Burrough confirming he built the OS for the device on the right. 
  • Reply 17 of 41
    nhtnht Posts: 3,417member
    boredumb said:
    @Mdriftmeyer:
    "Tim Cook seems to prefer being 6 months ahead and thus irritates the hell out of those more in favor of Steve's 18 months ahead of the competition. If you are just barely ahead of the competition most people will overlook your innovation as nothing special. But nearly two years and everyone will be a copycat."

    Brilliant - just very well said...
    Given that the watch is still more than a year ahead of the competition I'm thinking this is bullshit.  Not every Apple product was 18 months ahead even under Jobs.  

    Take Marcs comment with a large grain of salt.  
    caliStrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 41
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,014member
    Soli said:
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    Forstall wasn't let go because he didn't support a "flat" UI. That's ridiculous. Go back and read the press release and then some of the reporting around that time. There were reports that Bob Mansfield wouldn't meet with him unless Tim Cook was present. There were reports that he was slagging off other teams to his team members in emails. In a BBC interview Tony Fadell said Forstall " got what he deserved". None of that has anything to do with flat UI.
    Was there a change in his attitude because he wasn't chosen as Jobs' successor and/or is this a situation where he was always difficult but was able to be controlled by Jobs since he started back at NeXT?

    ...

    Tim Cook seems to prefer being 6 months ahead and thus irritates the hell out of those more in favor of Steve's 18 months ahead of the competition. If you are just barely ahead of the competition most people will overlook your innovation as nothing special. But nearly two years and everyone will be a copycat.

    Scott was very much respected, but let's be honest, a lot of the folks today who are Senior VPs weren't even senior managers at NeXT. Most of the top brass moved on and out of the industry entirely after the merger. Some people are better at seeing the big picture and others have big egos who were given a huge title to match.

    Believe it or not, but Craig is a dick and butted heads with a lot of former colleagues he worked with at NeXT and later after he came back to Apple by leapfrogging others more qualified than himself. People rave about his ``keynote'' entertaining moments, but he's actually not the most laid back person to be around. Forestall was far more qualified to demo OS X, iOS than Federighi ever would be. Craig's focus at NeXT was EOF (Enterprise Objects Framework) and that was it. Scott was one of the principal architects of AppKit and much more.

    A fellow colleague of mine and friend to this day that was better than all of them at charisma, showmanship and always made the best in-house demos is Mark Tacchi. He garnered fame by creating the Java Gamelet Toolkit on a whim, while at NeXT. He's the founder and CEO of Vendini. Also founded one other company named HipBone.

    If anyone would have been Steve's successor it would have been Mark, but during the merger people offered him a ton of cash to bolt and run a new startup software engineering division at more than double what Apple was willing to pay. He's just an all around great person who knows how to engage, is amazingly compassionate and a keen eye for building teams, while having a grounded ego.

    Guys like Faddell are pure opportunists. Guys like Tacchi wanted to work at NeXT because of it's unique vision and its founder's history. They are rare.

    You seem to have some inside knowledge there, and so I wouldn't dispute anything you have said about the NeXT/Apple days.  A few comments though:
    - Many of the products and parts coming from Tim Cook's Apple are more than 6 months ahead of the competition.  Apple Watch is one (2 years in and no competitor has a product with the capabilities, fit/finish, reliability, and overall features), I expect AirPods and W1 chip to be another at least a year ahead.  New solid state storage in MBP.  A-Series processors in general (year old iPhones trouncing new Samsungs in single core performance).  Apple Pay.  Not to mention, but what Apple delivers is often much more thought out w.r.t implementation, more secure, and enables more privacy (perhaps not an issue with much attention today, but I personally think that will change with ever more cyber attacks and proliferation of the IoT crap).
    - Someone who is a great & talented designer / architect doesn't necessarily make the best leader of people
    - No matter how good a company is, some of the brightest stars and talent will want to move on and do different things.
    - A company can only hold so many "visionaries".
    StrangeDaysroundaboutnow
  • Reply 19 of 41
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,206member
    eriamjh said:
    This shows how bad the iPhone could have been if not for Jobs good taste.  

    However, this is proof of concept prototype stuff.  It shows the potential of each (and the huge drawback of the iPod interface for touch).  

    I can just hear Jobs saying "Make it (the buttons and icons) more like OSX."   
    The thing at the right is obviously a hardware testing prototype. Nothing about the software interface was ever intended to go into production devices.
    asdasdStrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 41
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,518member
    That's an. Interesting video.
    Whatever happened to Fadell's loyal fans who thought Google buying Nest instead of Apple was a sign of Apple's decline? For that matter, what happened to Forstall's loyalists who thought his love of skeuomorphic UI and refusal to apologize for Maps made him the perfect future Steve Jobs?
    That is just a test OS, showing touch working. It's flat because its wireframes. It would have been Jobs who loved sheuomorphism. 
    I honestly would love to see Forestall back at Apple. I think iOS has really gone stagnant after iOS 7. It's a heck of a lot of more of the same. Don't get me wrong I love my iPad Pro with Pencil, and I love my iPhone SE. But my iPhone SE is the same design that was there when Scott was there, and the software UI hasn't moved that much at all. And I think he probably could have gone along with a flatter UI. Sometimes I wonder if Ive just wanted Forestall out because of personal conflicts and didn't actually have much planned for the UI aside from flattening it. Where as Forestall had a TON of ideas.
    Forstall wasn't let go because he didn't support a "flat" UI. That's ridiculous. Go back and read the press release and then some of the reporting around that time. There were reports that Bob Mansfield wouldn't meet with him unless Tim Cook was present. There were reports that he was slagging off other teams to his team members in emails. In a BBC interview Tony Fadell said Forstall " got what he deserved". None of that has anything to do with flat UI.

    A number of the people involved in the original iPhone UI are still at Apple working on the user interface team. In fact one of them presented at WWDC last year (was part of the iMessage demo).
    Forstall was well liked by his own team though. 

    Fadell. by the way, seems to be positioning himself as the "father of the iPhone" but clearly nobody used his stuff. Forstal must be under some huge NDA to not reply to this. 
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