Apple collector Hap Plain can observe the iPhone’s 10th anniversary today by powering up two extremely rare iPhone prototypes — and you can see them in action, too.
The prototypes, which likely passed through the hands of Apple execs including Steve Jobs, Tony Fadell and Scott Forstall, offer a unique glimpse at iPhone development. You can see Plain fire them up in the video below, the latest entry in Cult of Mac’s collaboration with Wired UK to recap a decade of the iPhone.
One day in early 2005, interface designer Bas Ording was sitting in a secret, windowless lab at Apple HQ when the phone rang. It was Steve Jobs.
The first thing Jobs says is that the conversation is super-secret, and must not be repeated to anyone. Ording promises not to.
“He’s like, ‘Yeah, Bas, we’re going to do a phone,'” Ording told Cult of Mac, recalling that momentous call from long ago. “‘It’s not going to have any buttons and things on it, it’s just a screen. Can you build a demo that you can scroll through a list of names, so you could choose someone to call?’ That was the assignment I got, like pretty much directly from Steve.”
The original iPhone nearly came with a digital click wheel that mimicked the iPod’s interface, according to video of an alleged prototype running the software that has not previously been made public.
Former Apple engineers confirmed in the past that Apple created a click-wheel-based solution for the iPhone’s software during the early stages of development, but until now, no one outside Apple had seen what it looked like.