This Is What The Original iPhone 4 Prototype Looked Like Way Back In 2006

This Is What The Original iPhone 4 Prototype Looked Like Way Back In 2006

In the picture above you can see two iPhone prototypes that Apple was working on way back in 2006. They provide an amazing glimpse of just how long the prototyping phases of iPhones can last, because the original iPhone didn’t come out till June 2007, and then the iPhone 4 wasn’t seen till 2010.

The prototype images come from court filings in the Samsung vs Apple legal proceedings where Samsung plans to argue that Apple ripped off Sony’s design as inspiration for the iPhone. In fact, a few of the renders for the iPhone 4 like device have the Sony logo on them as you can see below:

This Is What The Original iPhone 4 Prototype Looked Like Way Back In 2006

Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was asked to create an iPhone prototype inspired by Sony’s design aesthetics back in 2006 after Tony Fadell sent around an interview with one of Sony’s chief designers. Nishibori even left the Sony logo on some of his mockups, while some of the logos were changed to “Jony” in homage to Apple’s Chief Designer, Jony Ive.

The result of Nishibori’s work was the minimalist iPhone 4 prototype that Apple designer Richard Howarth championed around Apple over of the “extrusion” model (the silver iPhone on the right). Howarth and Ive felt that Nishibori’s design looked old next to the bulkier extrusion model, but the simplicity of the form factor ultimately held sway.

  • Bernardo Siqueira

    Did Apple already know how the iPhone 4 would look like in 2006?! Wow!!

  • Crossover

    The 4 prototype looks more like a Nokia Luma 900 then anything else..lol

  • ddevito

    Did Apple already know how the iPhone 4 would look like in 2006?! Wow!!

    Yes, it’s called keeping it on the shelf instead of innovating in 2006.

    You’re such an isheep

  • Tallest_Skil

    Yes, it’s called keeping it on the shelf instead of innovating in 2006.

    No one on the face of the planet could possibly be this stupid. I need you to shut up and never come back here again. You have zero respect, zero trustworthiness, and zero reason for being alive. Every single post you make is being reported.

  • Th3_1d
    Yes, it’s called keeping it on the shelf instead of innovating in 2006.

    No one on the face of the planet could possibly be this stupid. I need you to shut up and never come back here again. You have zero respect, zero trustworthiness, and zero reason for being alive. Every single post you make is being reported.

    Both of you drop the egos, there is no reason to be so negative. It’s pretty obvious that they had the design for the iPhone 4 sketched out in ’06 and decided not to use it, whether that is because they thought it might arise comparison to Sony’s devices, someone higher up thought the design they used was better, or some other hardware/legal reason they have since solved we really can’t know.

    What I really think we should draw from this is further solidifying the concept that everyone is copying everyone in the tech world. Samsung was pretty obviously influenced by the design of the iPhone, but that design was influenced by the ideas and designs of other companies like Sony.

  • reag89

    Whats with the lightning bolt app?

  • Sean Carney

    Looks like a GameBoy or Nintendo controller

  • Aidan Taylor

    Apples fucked.

  • Tallest_Skil

    Apples fucked.

    Let me finish that sentence for you:

    “‚ĶSamsung all the way to the bank.”

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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