In Pictures: Apple's early iPhone prototypes

Among the more interesting products of the Apple-Samsung trial are Apple's early iPhone prototypes that never saw the light of day ... until now

  • From an eight-sided iPhone to an assortment of clunky devices, here are the iPhone models that Apple toyed around with, but that never came to be.

  • The iPod Mini style This is an early iPhone prototype. Look closely and note the icons used and the placement of the page placement icons in the upper left-hand corner. This prototype bears an uncanny resemblance to the old iPod Mini.

  • Black and white Apple probably made a good call not bringing this particular design to market. There's something sleek about Apple's choice of colors on its official models of the iPhone, but this mixture of black and white seems more cheap than anything.

  • "A bit disjointed" Another prototype Apple was wise to keep behind closed doors. The back almost appears to be matted down and the design, as a whole, appears a bit disjointed.

  • Cutting glass This is one of Apple's earliest iPhone prototypes. An Apple designer explained during a deposition that Apple initially wanted the iPhone to be comprised out of two pieces of curved glass (seen here) but that glass-cutting costs at the time prevented it.

  • Hybrid This one isn't too bad, as it almost looks like a cross between the iPhone 4 (with the stainless steel band wrapping around the device) and earlier iterations of the iPhone.

  • Questionable case choice This one shows a more questionable choice for color scheme. Note how the back here almost looks more like an iPhone case than the material Apple actually uses on its iPhone models. Altogether not a bad prototype, but not up to par with what Apple actually releases into the wild.

  • Good enough to be iPhone 5 Now this is a very sleek-looking device, and dare we say that we wouldn't be disappointed at all if this is what the iPhone 5, or any subsequent iPhone model, actually looked like. This prototype screams elegance, and hopefully we'll see something like it hit the market one of these days.

  • The minimalist This appears to be a super wide screen, and a minimalist, iPhone prototype. It's hard to gauge the dimensions based on the photo, but it looks like we're dealing with a lot more than a 3.5-inch screen here.

  • Octo-phone Well how's this for odd: an iPhone prototype with eight sides? Might we call this the Octo-phone? It's fun to look back at old prototypes like these, but let's be glad that Apple has the design sense to leave prototypes like these under wraps.

  • Bulky and boring This one probably would have been a fine device back in 2007. But by today's standards this prototype seems a bit too bulky and somewhat boring to make a splash in the marketplace. If you take a look at the icon setup, it's clear that this prototype was developed long after the original iPhone debuted.

  • The all-black motif Apple was going for an all-black motif here and it seems to come up just a bit short. The form factor is nice, but aesthetically it's not Apple's best work.

  • The two-toned color scheme It's interesting to note the all-black front juxtaposed against the all-white back. Of course, Apple has either released iPhone models in all white or all black, which is probably a safer bet than the two-toned color scheme used here.

  • The retro-iPod look While this prototype is very similar to the iPod Mini-esque prototype shown earlier, this seemingly has a rubber grill on the bottom. Again, the iOS display indicates that this is one of the older prototypes.

  • The odd mesh strap This is an interesting design. An all-black front coupled with an all-white back with what seems to be some sort of mesh strap that wraps around the backside. Also note that this prototype doesn't sit flush on a flat surface on account of its rounded form factor.

  • The really big battery Naturally, some prototypes should remain just that -- prototypes. This form factor is rather curious, given its uneven design. Considering the iPhone's battery requirements these days, a design like this would never pass muster today. Just look at all the wasted space that could be occupied by a bigger battery.

  • The iPhone 4, with extra clunk Here we have a somewhat clunky and uneventful design. This prototype bears a passing resemblance to the iPhone 4, just without the sleekness and elegance. Overall, it's not terribly exciting.

  • Crazy about the iPod Mini, apparently Apple really seemed to have a preference for the iPod Mini style at one point. This one, in addition to a black strap on the bottom-back of the device, features all-black sides as well. It might have worked as an iPod, but this just isn't nice enough to pass as an iPhone worthy of true consideration.

Show Comments