As the story goes, before the iPhone was even a glimmer in Steve Jobs’s eye, Jonny Ive came to him with a prototype for a tablet based on some new touchscreen technology he was working on. Steve Jobs took one look at it, and said it was the future, but “let’s make a phone with it first.” And that’s how the iPhone was born.
Now, an early prototype of a very iPad-ish iPhone prototype from 2005 has turned up, and it’s a marvelous beast, filled with USB, Ethernet and even serial ports.
British-born Ive has reportedly proposed a plan to “commute” to Cupertino, Calif., from his $4 million manor house in Somerset, but Apple’s board is none too thrilled with the idea. Ive is said to be at “loggerheads” with the board, reports the Sunday Times.
A friend of the family told the paper: “Unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them.”
According to The Times, Ive has just reaped about $30 million from a ‘golden handcuffs’ deal signed in 2008, which has now expired. He and his wife Heather want to educate their twins in their native country.
Apple refused to comment on Ive’s employment status and said it was “speculation” that he wanted to return to the U.K.