My in-between iPhone, before the iPhone

1 minute read

Today it happened I stumbled on an article about the genesis of the first iPhone and the two side-by-side projects that were developed in Apple in 2005-2006. It cites a patent awarded to Apple in 2010 that was submitted in january 2006 with the description of a potential phone based on the same hardware design of the wheel-based iPod.

I published the ideas on my previous italian blog, on march and november 2006. That year the two mockups I did were picked up globally in a lot of rumor articles and they got excellent feedback overall.

In 2006 the rumors of Apple making a phone were ramping up again and one day I had an idea by reading of the LED screens powering devices like the Sony NW-A3000: a phone that will have a full touchscreen surface, with a under-the-skin screen. I wasn’t really thinking of the “iPhone”, but I decided to give the mockup that title to get into the discussions.
A few months later, trying to make a better render with the help of Cristiano, I inherited however an element from the iPod: the wheel, because I thought that it might still be a good way to go through a long list of items.

In hindsight, it’s clear that with just a little more thought I should have dropped the scroll wheel as well like I did on the first mockup. Still, I think that given the timing it’s strikingly similar to the Apple patented prototype and I got also right the most important feature of the final iPhone: the full touchscreen surface with an ad-hoc interface.

However, while the other mockups now feel old, I still find the following rendering very fascinating with its glowing logo and its seamless screen, reminding a bit Space Odyssey.