We have already seen an iPad prototype from 2002. Now it is iPhone’s turn.
The above image is an iPhone prototype from early 2005 leaked to ArsTechnica by “a former Apple employee who worked on various Apple hardware projects in the early 2000s and was thus exposed to some of the earliest versions of the iPhone”. And boy is it nothing like the iPhone that debuted in 2007.
Although it may not be evident in the image, the iPhone prototype had a 7-inch display, was five inches wide and two inches thick, and had USB, Ethernet, and serial ports. To top it off, it “basically [ran] a version of OS X” and used a Samsung-made 200-233MHz processor. The following are more images of the device:
It should be noted that, according to the former Apple employee, Apple never intended on including USB/Ethernet/serial ports in the final iPhone. These ports were included in the prototype to assist with development and were never intended to make to the final product… and indeed never did make it to the final product.
While it isn’t clear when Apple decided to go from a 7-inch display to the 3.5-inch that came with the original iPhone (iPhone 2G), the former Apple employee reiterates “at that early date no one knew what [the final device] would be”. So it could be someone made a good case down the line for a smaller screensize or maybe Apple all along was going to go with the smaller screen but decided for a larger screen for development purposes. Who knows.