A prototype model made out of painted foam, this alternate Macintosh LC model was built in 1989 by Apple’s Industrial Design Group and Matrix Product Design (which later became IDEO). Unlike the actual Mac LC that shipped it has a vertically-oriented screen: possibly targeted toward the business world, rather than the artistic, publishing and educational markets that the Mac traditionally sold to at the time.
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.
This is intriguing: leaked images purporting to be the rear housing of the forthcoming iPhone 5S have just appeared online, and if previous reports about when the iPhone 5S is supposed to enter production are correct, they could be the real thing.
Over the past few years we’ve seen hundreds of fake iPhone mockups, some have been bizarre, while others looked so good we wished they were real. What’s been most surprising is that some of the weirdest looking concepts are actually fairly similar to prototypes Apple was working on in their labs.
Thanks to the evidence in the Apple vs Samsung trial, we got to see the different iPhone prototypes Apple was working on, so we’ve gone back and found 7 artists mockups that look a lot like prototypes Apple was working on.
A rare iPhone 4 “N90” prototype has surfaced on eBay with a strange prototype logo, or “protologo,” on its rear panel. Its seller insists it is the first iPhone 4 prototype to be listed on the online auction site, and they’re currently looking for starting bids of $4,500, or $10,000 for an instant sale.
Apple is one of the world’s only companies that isn’t content to push out a great product with a few flaws. They want everything to be perfect. It’s one of their biggest strengths, but it also prevents a lot of neat products and ideas from reaching production. It turns out that the iPhone was no different during its inception, and even after all the cool prototyping and public demand for a great smartphone, Apple nearly axed the iPhone before it was launched.
Apple’s chief designer, Jony Ive, stated in a recent interview that small design flaws with the iPhone nearly caused it to get shelved, because even though the iPhone was good, it wasn’t excellent until they figured out how to fix some fundamental problems, like the proximity sensor.
To go along with the recent images of the original iPhone 4 prototype we reported on today, The Verge uncovered a trove of early iPad and iPhone prototype images from the Samsung vs Apple legal documents. At one point Apple was seriously considering an integrated kickstand for the iPad, kind of like the Microsoft Surface.
As far as the iPhone goes, there’s a few ugly prototypes with awkward corners, elongated screens, and bulky cases that look similar to the Lumia 900. It’s interesting to see how much refinement Apple’s design team does on a single idea. Most of the prototypes are a little rough to start out with but as time progresses Apple really nails the simplicity of the device. Check it out:
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: