The original iPhone prototype was more motherboard than phone

The original iPhone prototype was more motherboard than phone
The first look at the original iPhone prototype is a fascinating trip into the past and what Apple's research and development team had to deal with in order to make the iPhone a reality. The prototype included plenty of features you would never expect to see in an actual smartphone and they're all on display in newly released photos.

The photos of the iPhone M68 prototype -- obtained by The Verge -- show that Apple's team basically worked with a motherboard that could have a screen attached. There is a slot for an actual display panel on the bottom right of the board, but just in case developers didn't have that screen, there were also RCA and component connectors to attach an external display. There was a SIM card slot as well as a LAN port and phone jack to test out data and calling on the device. There was a 3.5 mm headphone jack -- true evidence we're looking at ancient history. And there were the pieces of a smartphone you'd expect -- volume buttons, a home button, a camera, and radio/baseband chips.

The prototype board was reportedly used by engineers tasked with designing the original iOS software (before it was even named iOS) and for testing the radio functionality. You can tell it is a prototype because the board itself is red -- a common indicator of an Apple prototype -- whereas commercial boards in Apple products tend to be green or blue. And, the prototype included parts from a number of different companies, including a Samsung processor and storage module, as well as various chips from Intel, Infineon, CSR, Marvell, and Skyworks.

Overall, it's amazing to see just how far the iPhone came, not only just from this prototype to the eventual shipped product but how far the iPhone (and smartphones in general) have come in the 12 to 13 years since Apple engineers were using this prototype.



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13 Comments

1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Fascinating stuff actually!

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 30974; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That phone straight blew me away in 07. I saw that this is how you turn it on commercial, and had to have one.

3. IT-Engineer

Posts: 535; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Yup, I so wanted one back in 2007, but I was a student and couldn't afford one, had to wait until HTC came out with HTC One, I tried Android and never left it because it could do so much more I sometimes wish Apple can come up with an interesting phone so I can try something new, but iOS for me is way behind and the UI Is too boring.

4. Georgio

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Boring,yes... Behind? No!!

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 30974; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yep, compared to Androids overall capabilities, it is boring and a bit behind. It’s still very capable though.

9. cheetah2k

Posts: 2230; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

I agree. 12 years later its the same old boring. Haven't owned an iphone since the 4S - Android customisations and capabilities win hands down

14. kenarp

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 20, 2019

Agree, iPhone definitely lead the smart phone market until iPhone 4s, the camera and CPU performance were outstanding compared to Android phones at that time. Even on iPhone 5S, when the finger print sensor first time introduced on a smartphone, Apple was still the winner on user experience. But after that, Apple basically did nothing innovative while my perspective has been totally changed after using Google Nexus 5, the first time Android phone was good enough against iPhone.

12. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

Both has their own struggle. Android is still struggling with consistent UI(yes, even Pixels) and smooth fps throughout. While iOS struggles or i'd say it's the company decision with customization and lack of gimmicky features.

5. SyCo87

Posts: 299; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

I was young at the time, but my BlackBerry Curve immediately looked old to me after I saw the announcement.

7. drifter77

Posts: 400; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

Got my first iPhone in late 2007.. it was truly above all competition at that time. I had the imate Jam right before it, and both were uber cool back then.

8. cheetah2k

Posts: 2230; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

When the first iphone came out, I was an Expat in Hong Kong and had to have one. Little did I know at the time I then had to order the AT&T spoofing sim card for another $50 (because the original iPhone was an AT&T exclusive and technically didnt work on any other carrier anywhere else in the world) and had to go through the arduous and hit n miss jailbreaking proceedure to make it work and then MMS didnt work, and many other features of phones out at the time, but I guess thats what we do for having the latest technology I suppose. Its just a shame that some 12 years later, iOS hasnt really evolved... Its time for a major reboot

10. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

I remember when the iPhone came out. I couldn't afford one. I was still using burner LG phones. When I got a 3GS it was pretty nice, but I was comparing it to a symbian-based Samsung phone I had at the time. When I got my hands on the LG Optimus G I never looked back. However, I found out that the 3GS is remarkably tough and makes a great bludgeoning device..

11. osterrich21

Posts: 186; Member since: Apr 14, 2017

Everytime Ii enter in phonearena has an iPhone or apple as main report.

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