While last year’s trial with Samsung over patent infringements revealed a number of iPhone prototypes, Ars Technica has got its hands on a much earlier working model of an iOS device from 2005. The device looks very different to the iPhone we know today, and with a screen that measures around 8.6 inches, this may in fact be a precursor to the iPad. Steve Jobs was quoted as saying that Apple had been working on a tablet before the iPhone, but that the technology wasn’t quite there, so they shelved it in favour of a phone. This may well be that project.
The device is around two inches thick, and features a number of ports (including USB and Ethernet) that, according to Ars Technica’s article, were for development purposes only. The ex-Apple employee it spoke to, who remains anonymous, noted that in 2005, a two-inch device running a version of OS X was “really impressive”.
There is also a close-up shot of the Motherboard of the device. Ars Technica goes into some detail about the Samsung S3C2410 chip, which is said to be a ‘distant relative’ of the chip that ended up in the first iPhone:
“Indeed, the chip shown above was clocked at 200-233MHz, while the first 2007 iPhone used a 620MHz chip underclocked to 412Mhz. This chip is also an ARM9 chip, while the original iPhone eventually ended up using an ARM11 chip, but obviously Apple intended to use Samsung-manufactured ARM chips even this far back,” Cunningham said.
This is clearly a very, very early prototype of a mobile device, but it’s great to see Apple’s inner workings on this sort of project.