THe picture below shows a very early prototype iPhone. The device measures 5 x 7 inches and has exposed circuit boards along with a number of regular ports such as a serial port, ethernet and USB. It was posted by ARS who got their information from an ex Apple employee who worked on the project (but wants to remain anonymous).
The device is said to be a development prototype so that developers could test software on a real device. Of couse, the physical appearance isn’t even close to the iPhone, but it was good enough to run the necessary software to get the company going.
Some of the technical specs reveal that the development prototype had a 200-233MHz chip inside which for the final product was replaced with a 620MHz chip which ran at 412MHz.
Although we know that smartphones are not created first in their small package as smartphones for software to be added afterwards, it is still fascinating to see what Apple was using 8 years ago to prepare for the 2007 launch of the first iPhone. To think that 2 years after this device was used we’d be seeing more power squashed in to a device that can fit in your pocket is amazing.
This also makes me think that the iPad probably followed similar steps. At one of the AllThingsD conferences, Steve Jobs had commented that the iPad was thought about first and then they switched to the iPhone after realising it would make a great phone.
More pictures of the prototype are available at ArsTechnica.