ArsTechnica has amazingly managed to get hold of some exclusive images of a very early iPhone prototype. The device has a 5″ x 7″ display and is about 2-inches thick. And – yes – it resembles a display on a stand more than an actual finished product. Nevertheless, I find it incredibly exciting to see what is essentially the first physical, working model of the most groundbreaking smartphone in history.
Not only is it huge, it also features a whole bunch of ports that would never be seen on a smartphone and are more at home on a desktop computer: USB, Ethernet and a serial port. While it was never planned that these ports would be on a finished product, it did make testing the hardware, software and firmware much easier in the early days.
As noted by Ars:
The early prototype is also quite large—about 5″×7″ and roughly two inches thick. “Seems large now,” our source said, “but at the time it was really impressive seeing basically a version of OS X running on it. “From the looks of the logic board photos, Apple had a decent idea in 2005 of where the iPhone would end up, even if the final product became much more integrated.
The processor powering this beast was clocked at 200-233MHz, around half the power of the final ARM chip that made its way on to the iPhone 2G. But, the source claimed that due to the power and structure of this particular processor, it was clear that Cupertino had always intended to use Samsung to manufacture them.
To any iPhone fan, this is the genesis, the holy grail, the source and the first physical embodiment of the 4-inch iOS running smartphone we now hold and own. I’m delighted they found their way online. Thanks Ars!