'Highly confidential' iPad, iPhone prototypes revealed in court documents

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Court documents pertaining to Apple's upcoming jury trial against Samsung have revealed a number of very early iPad and iPhone design prototypes, some of which bear resemblance to mock-ups of the company's rumored next-generation handset.

The prototypes, found in unredacted court exhibits filed on Thursday, offer a rare look at the extremely secretive design process Apple products undergo before reaching consumers, reports The Verge.

While Apple has traditionally gone to great lengths to keep such pictures out of public view, it has been forced to divulge the information as part of a July 30 jury trial against Samsung. The California case's presiding Judge Lucy Koh previously called for open proceedings, meaning much of the normally-redacted evidence won't be considered as trade secrets is thus free for public viewing.

As for the prototypes, some are outlandish design studies for the iPad like a model that includes a built-in stick kickstand while others appear closer to consumer-ready products.

iPad Prototypes
Prototype iPad designs with kickstand. | Source: The Verge


Other iPad designs featured an integrate kickstand with an aluminum case and "iPod" markings, showing that Apple may have been thinking about positioning the tablet within its then best-selling media player line.

Apple's iPhone prototypes looked somewhat similar to the smartphone customers use today, however there are a few standout designs that are radically different. One such example is an iPhone design which takes on an elongated candy bar form factor and has a screen taking up only half of the unit's face. The phone is dubbed "N90" for what is thought to have been the internal designation of the iPhone project.

iPhone Prototypes
iPhone prototypes "N90" (left) and two-tone casing (right). | Source: The Verge


Most of the designs never made it out of testing, but some elements can be seen in current and possibly future products. An image of a two-tone backed iPhone looks similar to mock-ups of Apple's sixth-generation smartphone. The feature was somewhat present on the original iPhone as a covering to allow radio waves to pass through to the unit's antenna assembly, though that all but disappeared in future iterations of the device which are now glass-backed. In current products, the black bar only remains on 3G wireless versions of the iPad.

Other unused iPhone designs feature beveled corners, all-polycarbonate backs and interesting wrap-around casings.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 77
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    Here you go Sammy, something to copy since you have zero design and innovation ability, have at it!
  • Reply 2 of 77
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    The N90 looks really neat. Would be great for those who do a lot of calling and want a cheap plan or pay as you go. I don't know how the OS would work as it wouldn't work with ios very well. Neat concept though
  • Reply 3 of 77
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Here you go Sammy, something to copy since you have zero design and innovation ability, have at it!

    1) The one looks like my idea for a smaller iPhone based on the iPod Mini design.

    2) You guys didn't show the BSG phone. "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."
  • Reply 4 of 77
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    timbit wrote: »
    The N90 looks really neat. Would be great for those who do a lot of calling and want a cheap plan or pay as you go. I don't know how the OS would work as it wouldn't work with ios very well. Neat concept though

    It almost looks like that was a prototype well before they settled on OS X as the foundation for the OS. It's quite nice and probably would have a been a hit had that been the initial design, or even a 2005-ish design.
  • Reply 5 of 77
    buckalecbuckalec Posts: 192member


    'featured an integrate kickstand'  - I thought Microsoft R&D Surface Division, Monkey Brigade 666 thought of that...

  • Reply 6 of 77
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,699member


    There's a lot of "Apple confidential" getting exposed in court filings. I'm frankly shocked that Apple believes this case is worth the public disclosures. 


     


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/26/us-apple-margins-idUSBRE86P1NI20120726


     


    Between October 2010 and the end of March 2012, Apple had gross margins of 23 to 32 percent on its U.S. iPad sales, which generated revenue of more than $13 billion for Apple, the filing said. Apple does not typically disclose profit margins on individual products.


    U.S. iPhone sales between April 2010 and the end of March 2012 generated revenue of more than $33 billion for Apple.


    http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/26/3189309/apple-sony-iphone-design-inspiration-iphone-4-looked-old


    recent court filing by Samsung reveals that in 2006 Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to design an iPhone prototype inspired by Sony's aesthetics after Tony Fadell internally circulated an interview with a designer from the company. An assortment of renders reveal his design, complete with a Sony logo — save for one where the logo has been modified to read "Jony," presumably in honor of Apple's Jony Ive.


     


    There's lots more expected to be revealed according to news agencies.


     

  • Reply 7 of 77
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Timbit View Post



    The N90 looks really neat. Would be great for those who do a lot of calling and want a cheap plan or pay as you go. I don't know how the OS would work as it wouldn't work with ios very well. Neat concept though


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    1) The one looks like my idea for a smaller iPhone based on the iPod Mini design.

    2) You guys didn't show the BSG phone. "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."


     


    Looks like proof the iPhone Nano is coming and that the 2 tone 6th gen iPhone leaks are real... /s.


     


    But seriously this does add some plausibility to the leaks and rumors. Plus the iPad prototypes are labeled iPods? Interesting?

  • Reply 8 of 77
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member


    This stuff the Verge unearthed is amazing! It's rare to see Apple prototypes like this!


    I too think that the iPhone with broken edges looks great.

  • Reply 9 of 77
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,086member


    On other forums, some people are saying these designs are hideous.  I completely disagree.  Any one of these phones could have been the first iPhone and would have been a hit.  When one is designing a featureless phone with only a home button, a headphone port, and a dock, one is pretty limited in what can be done.  Apple really impresses me.

  • Reply 10 of 77
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member


    Kickstand!


     


    It's interesting (and not surprising) that Microstupid integrated into their product what Apple thought completely unfit to include. 

  • Reply 11 of 77
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post


    On other forums, some people are saying these designs are hideous.  I completely disagree.  Any one of these phones could have been the first iPhone and would have been a hit.  When one is designing a featureless phone with only a home button, a headphone port, and a dock, one is pretty limited in what can be done.  Apple really impresses me.



    Agree 100%. Any of those designs would have worked.

  • Reply 12 of 77
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    eriamjh wrote: »
    On other forums, some people are saying these designs are hideous.  I completely disagree.  Any one of these phones could have been the first iPhone and would have been a hit.  When one is designing a featureless phone with only a home button, a headphone port, and a dock, one is pretty limited in what can be done.  Apple really impresses me.
    I suppose these are fandroid sites like Engadget and CNET. :lol: Jony Ive has said 80% of what his team does never sees the light of day because they don't feel it's good enough. I suppose when you prototype as much as they do that's not surprising.
  • Reply 13 of 77
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    1) The one looks like my idea for a smaller iPhone based on the iPod Mini design.
    2) You guys didn't show the BSG phone. "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."

    Oh I miss Battlestar Galactica.

    EDit: Oh I miss Cylon Number Six.
  • Reply 14 of 77
    kevinn206kevinn206 Posts: 117member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    Kickstand!


     


    It's interesting (and not surprising) that Microstupid integrated into their product what Apple thought completely unfit to include. 



    It's pretty evident that a single point-of-contact is unfit as a kickstand. Microsoft's version spans the entire tablet.

  • Reply 15 of 77
    kevinn206kevinn206 Posts: 117member


    Can anyone explain what this picture is? Is this really from a Sony render?


     


    http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/26/3189309/apple-sony-iphone-design-inspiration-iphone-4-looked-old


     


    image

  • Reply 16 of 77
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Oh I miss Battlestar Galactica.

    At least in a couple months we'll get more Doctor Who. Steven Moffat is my favorite TV writer. Have you seen Coupling or Sherlock?

    1000
  • Reply 17 of 77
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    At least in a couple months we'll get more Doctor Who. Steven Moffat is my favorite TV writer. Have you seen Coupling or Sherlock?
    1000

    We loved the few episodes of Sherlock we saw on Netflix. Not seen Coupling... I'll check it out.
  • Reply 18 of 77

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    Here you go Sammy, something to copy since you have zero design and innovation ability, have at it!


    But...."It's just that's where the form factor is leading it."


    Samsung's prototypes are probably copiers.

  • Reply 19 of 77
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    kevinn206 wrote: »
    Can anyone explain what this picture is? Is this really from a Sony render?

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/26/3189309/apple-sony-iphone-design-inspiration-iphone-4-looked-old

    700
    It is an Apple design, they put the Sony logo on there to illustrate what they thought a Sony designed phone might look like (though I don't think any of them did at that time).
  • Reply 20 of 77
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    OK I was reading The Verge's article on this and one of the comments said:
    [quote]To be fair, the MacBook Air was designed by Intel. The “ultrabook” chassis and design was licensed by Apple as an exclusive design for a time period before being released to all the other OEMs.
    The reason why they look identical is because all of them (including the Apple version) are based on Intel’s reference design.[/quote]
    Is this true? I've never heard before. And it seems unlikely Apple would agree to something where other manufacturers were allows access to the same design.
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