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Newly revealed early Apple iPhone prototype had massive 5x7-inch display

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
A newly revealed iPhone prototype from early 2005 shows a device very different from the final shipping product, with a 5-by-7-inch display nearly 2 inches thick frame much closer to the size of an iPad.

Prototype
A prototype Apple device that eventually led to the creation of the iPhone, via Ars Technica.


The development-only prototype, revealed on Monday by Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica, also featured a number of ports, including USB, serial and even a full-fledged Ethernet connection. The images of the device were revealed by a former Apple employee who saw some of the earliest iPhone prototypes.

While Monday's post refers to the device as an iPhone prototype, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs himself revealed in 2010 that his company actually started work on a tablet before it eventually became the iPhone. The larger display size of the prototype hardware would suggest this may have actually been intended as a tablet-style device.

"I'll tell you a secret: It actually started with a tablet first," Jobs said at the AllThingsD conference. "I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on with your fingers. I asked our folks, could we come up with a multitouch display that we could type on? And six months later they came back with this prototype display."

Prototype
The early prototype had a number of ports for development purposes. Via Ars Technica.


While Apple decided the time was not right for a tablet, the technology they had developed in prototyping the device, particularly touchscreen scrolling, prompted the company to begin pushing toward building a smartphone. The first-generation iPhone eventually arrived in 2007.

The source who provided pictures of the previously unseen prototype to Ars said that "at that early date, no one knew" what the final product would actually become. And while 7 years later it may seem like a bulky relic, the source said that at the time it was an impressive piece of hardware.

"At the time it was really impressive seeing basically a version of OS X running on it," they said.

Prototype
The logic board onApple's touchscreen prototype looks more like a PC than a smartphone. Via Ars Technica.


The prototype features a Samsung-built ARM A9 chip clocked at between 200 and 233 megahertz. The Samsung ARM11 chip that would eventually ship in the first iPhone had a clock speed twice that.

The prototype revealed on Monday is one of the earliest functioning units ever seen outside of Apple's top secret Cupertino, Calif., campus. The company was forced to publicly disclose a number of prototype devices last year in its ongoing patent infringement litigation with Samsung.
post #2 of 39
Thats awesome!
post #3 of 39

That looks like a typical commercial ARM single board computer sold for development, with a touchscreen stacked on top... a common configuration.

 

The Flash card slot is a giveaway.  Apple might've bought a Windows CE dev kit off the shelf, and ported OSX to it.

 

 

Or it could be an ARM reference design.  Either would be a normal starting development path most engineers would take.  Been there.

 

Still cool to see.  I love prototypes.  Reminds me of the original prototype Windows Mobile phone:

 

 


Edited by KDarling - 3/11/13 at 6:33am
post #4 of 39

Looks like a pretty standard development prototype. The only interesting part is that they tried to make it all fit behind the display. Usually you see these things as large boards with the display mounted to the board. It was obviously critical for them to also use it as a proof of concept as a "hand-held" form factor to validate the user experience prototypes. 

 

I understand why they don't show much of their old prototypes, but it would be nice to see more. :)

post #5 of 39

Well...5x7 might be a tad too large. However, after playing with my wife's Note 2, I'm convinced that a 5" - 5.5" iPhone would be the perfect phone.

 

After playing with her phone, I'm very glad I bought an iPhone 5. I just wish the screen were as big as her Note 2.

post #6 of 39
Cool. I can't wait to see Samsung release a phone that's 5 x 7 and 3 inches thick - with everything from USB and CF to parallel ports.

And then they'll brag about how innovative it is and how it's nothing like Apple's prototype.

And the normal Samsung shills here will brag about how the future is 5 x 7 phones and the whole market is going there and Apple will be left behind if they don't release one soon.
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post #7 of 39

So who's the source that leaked this?

post #8 of 39
Yeah, I agree with Tylersdad. After playing with the Enterprise, I absolutely need a spaceship sized iPhone.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #9 of 39

Also from the Ars Technica piece... the iPhone BSG edition? :

 

post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post



He looks like he needs to take a dump.
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post #11 of 39

Whats that slot next to the flash card slot?  Is that a SD card slot?

An Apple man since 1977
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post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylersdad View Post

Well...5x7 might be a tad too large. 

 

Not really, since was likely a tablet prototype. Not a phone one.

 

for a tablet it might have been a bit too small

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #13 of 39
Newton sized. Well, screen at least. :-)
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post

Looks like a pretty standard development prototype. The only interesting part is that they tried to make it all fit behind the display. Usually you see these things as large boards with the display mounted to the board. It was obviously critical for them to also use it as a proof of concept as a "hand-held" form factor to validate the user experience prototypes. 

 

That would be true of larger PC type boards.  This kind of SBC usually fits very easily behind a display. 

 

 

Moreover, this particular development setup doesn't look very handheld friendly, considering they mounted the circuit board upside down with no protection from fingers, and they have what looks like about 2-3" tall legs for sitting on a desk.  

 

Now, if they removed the legs and slapped it into a rectangular plastic case, that would be better for testing in someone's hands. 

post #15 of 39
What a stupid tittle.

It's not an iphone prototype. It is an ipad prototype. Jobs said they started working on the ipad first... and at one point they told themselves... "we could do a phone" and then back benched ipad development.

The first time I heard him say this was at All Things Digital interview with Walt Mossberg.
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Whats that slot next to the flash card slot?  Is that a SD card slot?

 

Good guess.  Sure looks like it matches up:

 

 

post #17 of 39

This just proves that Apple gimped the iPhone. Why, even their prototypes had VGA, USB, and SD cards!¡

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #18 of 39

Made in Korea.

post #19 of 39

Maybe, but if you still expect clarity from a headline, you need to learn about critical reading.

 

We know what Steve said (we all heard it,) but we've all also heard him say a number of things that weren't true/were spun/etc. Do you really think that in the wake of PIMs/cell phones (like the Trio, etc.) that Apple wasn't looking at putting a cell phone in it from day one?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by See Flat View Post

What a stupid tittle.

It's not an iphone prototype. It is an ipad prototype. Jobs said they started working on the ipad first... and at one point they told themselves... "we could do a phone" and then back benched ipad development.

The first time I heard him say this was at All Things Digital interview with Walt Mossberg.
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by stike vomit View Post

Made in Korea.

Yeah, "Made in Korea," just like the rooster's crow makes the sun rise!

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by See Flat View Post

What a stupid tittle.

It's not an iphone prototype. It is an ipad prototype. Jobs said they started working on the ipad first... and at one point they told themselves... "we could do a phone" and then back benched ipad development.

The first time I heard him say this was at All Things Digital interview with Walt Mossberg.


would "iDevice prototype" have made your day better?

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #22 of 39
I'm most amazed that in just under two years they went from that to this…


Edited by SolipsismX - 3/11/13 at 10:11am

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #23 of 39

It's an engineering development prototype.  It's part of the natural development of new technologies.  It's a beautiful thing.

post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Maybe, but if you still expect clarity from a headline, you need to learn about critical reading.

We know what Steve said (we all heard it,) but we've all also heard him say a number of things that weren't true/were spun/etc. Do you really think that in the wake of PIMs/cell phones (like the Trio, etc.) that Apple wasn't looking at putting a cell phone in it from day one?

When Jobs spun something (or even outright lied on occasion), there was almost always a reason. The misinformation clearly benefited Apple, so he had a reason to mislead.

The statement about making the tablet first and the phone came out of that was a deathbed statement made long after the fact. What benefit was there for him to lie at that point?

More importantly, if it was a phone, why in the world would they have used a 5x7 screen? That's ridiculous for a phone.
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post #25 of 39
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
…a 5x7 screen? That's ridiculous for a phone.

 

Funny how so many people here think otherwise. 

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

We know what Steve said (we all heard it,) but we've all also heard him say a number of things that weren't true/were spun/etc. Do you really think that in the wake of PIMs/cell phones (like the Trio, etc.) that Apple wasn't looking at putting a cell phone in it from day one?

 

Apparently they had not made that connection yet.  Jobs claimed that it was only after he saw the tablet prototype's touch UI demo, that he suddenly realized it would be great for the iPhone they wanted to do.

 

As for all the silly Korea remarks in this thread, the irony is that the 2004 Samsung CPU used here was the first ARM to have integrated NAND Flash boot code, and therefore the circuit board would've almost certainly come from the Samsung engineering reference design referred to in its documentation.

 

Yes, that's right. The electronic design of the original iPad prototype was done by Samsung.  Oh, the horror!  However, that's a pretty common origin for any new design.

 

 

post #27 of 39

I'm sure Apple experimented with every fucking size, aspect ratio, and design under the sun before they settled with what they released, which they believed was ideal. People act as if it didn't even occur to Apple to use another size, or they're technically unable to. No, whatever you can dream up, I'm sure they tried it. 

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

I'm sure Apple experimented with every fucking size, aspect ratio, and design under the sun before they settled with what they released, which they believed was ideal. People act as if it didn't even occur to Apple to use another size, or they're technically unable to. No, whatever you can dream up, I'm sure they tried it. 

They had 20 different models, or so the story goes.
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post #29 of 39

This photo where the iPhone's screen is facing down, makes the thing look like a casket.  I'm glad this design was buried.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stike vomit View Post

Also from the Ars Technica piece... the iPhone BSG edition? :

 

post #30 of 39

The past of the iPhone = The future of Android

 

This is the look of the SAMSUNG GALAXY pop pocket plus ultra advenced:

- with a do-sexta core SAMSUNG EXYNOS 8 processor at 3,2 Ghz and TDP of 25 W

- 16 GB RAM

- 4-8-16-32-64-128-256-512GB user memory (yeah only 4GB will be sold but don't worry it supports full size SD cards)

- Super active flexible matrix phosphorescent green light emiting diode high definition (yeah still pen-tile)

- Revolutionary S-battery that supports up to 2 hours of video playback (183 Wh)

post #31 of 39
Pity they didn't make it (samdung's thinking), would have solved the issue of multiple iterations in screen size that samdung had to go through to arrive at their current monstrosities.
post #32 of 39

I dont remember where but i read that when project "Purple" was started (development code name of the iPhone) it was development of a tablet computer.  Steve Jobs steered the development  away from a tablet computer into what was to eventually become the iPhone.    

 

I think it was in his autobiography.

 

The original iPhone was a tablet.

 

Lol sorry for the repeat I didnt see that someone posted the same thing above1smile.gif

post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


When Jobs spun something (or even outright lied on occasion), there was almost always a reason. The misinformation clearly benefited Apple, so he had a reason to mislead.

The statement about making the tablet first and the phone came out of that was a deathbed statement made long after the fact. What benefit was there for him to lie at that point?

More importantly, if it was a phone, why in the world would they have used a 5x7 screen? That's ridiculous for a phone.

Don't be a silly. Whatever you might think of it, he misled people for good, bad, or unknown reasons throughout his life. Just talk to anyone who ever worked or lived with him.

 

The item shown is clearly a concept exploration prototype—not much past a breadboard. It was big because it was made for testing and experimentation. They wanted to see what it would be like, how the interactions would feel, etc. The size of the prototype doesn't really reflect where the concept was going or even all the features it would have. It's a sketch!  

 

You and your "deathbed statement" obsessions. Try to get a grip.

 

I say they planned to put cellular in it from the start because they already knew that a mobile computing device without a reliable network connection would be pretty darn boring. Cellular was the obvious choice and if you go that way, it might as will have voice communications as well. Anyone working in this conceptual space at the time (years before actually) understood this very well. The best way to actually do it in a usable, viable, affordable way was still in exploration, but cellular was [the obvious] technology.


Edited by DESuserIGN - 3/12/13 at 7:02am
post #34 of 39
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post
You and your "deathbed statement" obsessions. Try to get a grip.

 

Would it help if Jobs said that in situations long before his 'deathbed'? Because he did.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Don't be a silly. Whatever you might think of it, he misled people for good, bad, or unknown reasons throughout his life. Just talk to anyone who ever worked or lived with him.

The item shown is clearly a concept exploration prototype—not much past a breadboard. It was big because it was made for testing and experimentation. They wanted to see what it would be like, how the interactions would feel, etc. The size of the prototype doesn't really reflect where the concept was going or even all the features it would have. It's a sketch!  
 
You and your "deathbed statement" obsessions. Try to get a grip.

I say they planned to put cellular in it from the start because they already knew that a mobile computing device without a reliable network connection would be pretty darn boring. Cellular was the obvious choice and if you go that way, it might as will have voice communications as well. Anyone working in this conceptual space at the time (years before actually) understood this very well. The best way to actually do it in a usable, viable, affordable way was still in exploration, but cellular was [the obvious] technology.

I see absolutely no reason to doubt that a tablet was first on the table.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #36 of 39

This isn't an Apple prototype anything. The board is an LN2410SBC as sold by LittleChips (littlechips.com); the assembly looks identical their LN2410SBC/LP64 stack with a 6.4" TFT display.

 

Both the LN2410SBC and the display module are (or were) made by CyberLab (you can see both their name and old URL on the back of the display module).

post #37 of 39
Originally Posted by unlocal View Post
This isn't an Apple prototype anything.

 

Right, because Apple would have made everything from scratch on their own, not knowing about how to do any of that¡

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanic View Post

I dont remember where but i read that when project "Purple" was started (development code name of the iPhone) it was development of a tablet computer.  Steve Jobs steered the development  away from a tablet computer into what was to eventually become the iPhone.    

 

It was Scott Forestall at the Samsung trial who talked about the original Purple project. He said it was a phone.  We know from other histories that they were still using clickwheel iPods as UI design mules in mid 2005.

 

It was after Jobs saw a touch UI demo on an unrelated tablet prototype, that the production iPhone Purple 2 project was started in earnest in later 2005.  But who showed him?

 

In the Jobs biography, Jon Ive says he was the one who secretly got others to put together a multi-touch UI demo, and that he was the one who sprung it on Jobs alone... otherwise, Jobs would probably have knocked it down, because that's what he always did in a group... and Ive was afraid the entire concept would be dismissed.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by unlocal View Post

The board is an LN2410SBC as sold by LittleChips (littlechips.com); the assembly looks identical their LN2410SBC/LP64 stack with a 6.4" TFT display.

 

Good eye!      http://www.littlechips.com/LN2410SBC_TFT.htm

 

 

 

As to thinking about putting cellular on the tablet, sure, there were plenty of data-only radio cards (e.g. GSM/GPRS) available for CF slots.


Edited by KDarling - 3/12/13 at 6:11pm
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Would it help if Jobs said that in situations long before his 'deathbed'? Because he did.

That's funny, I heard him say "it started out as a tablet," but I never heard him say that the tablet "wouldn't include cellular networking or communications."

As I said, anyone working in the *mobile* space knew this was where things were going (and indeed, had gone earlier!) At that time, wireless networking wasn't terribly great, but cellular was the proven path. And by that time, even Microsoft had figured out the significance of "the web" and the importance of "the network."

 

In any case, the configuration of the prototype can't be taken as a literal expression of the goal. You should see some of the functional prototypes of interaction devices I worked on in the conceptual phase (amalgams of plywood, parallax  boards, laser printed optical targets, phone parts, plug in transformers, a laptop .etc.) You never really know what your making until you've gone through a few cycles or prototyping. [In fact, I now see that the source in the original article says almost exactly the same thing. *"at that early date no one knew what [the final device] would be," the source emphasized, highlighting the constantly changing nature of Apple's development process.*]

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