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iPhone prototype photos from 2005 show us iPad’s genesis

Ars Technica has acquired shots showing an early iOS device prototype featuring a two-inch frame and USB and Ethernet ports

Ars Technica got its hands on some shots of an early iOS device prototype

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 features a number of ports that you wouldn't expect on a mobile platform

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”.

The Samsung chip on the motherboard has been described as a 'distant relative' of the chip that the first iPhone used

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.