The prototype iPhone was unrecognizable – it even had an iPod wheel

The iPhone prototype looked very different from the modern smartphone we know today.

Apple wowed the world with the original iPhone in 2007 – but that wasn’t the only design considered.


This was an early prototype of an Apple smartphoneCredit: Tony Fadel
The original iPhone was too small by today's standards


The original iPhone was too small by today’s standardsCredit: Associated Press

Former Apple engineer Tony Fadell has now revealed a prototype of the Apple phone.

Fadell was hailed as the inventor of the iPod and iPhone, before leaving the tech giant in 2008.

Until 2007, Apple’s only portable device was the iPod.

So it’s no surprise that the iPhone prototype looks a lot like an iPod, as revealed in a rare photo first shared by TechCrunch.

I'm Smarter Than Apple - The iPhone trick 'reaching the wiggle' is a game changer for little hands
I'm an expert in gadgets - why are you sending wrong photos on your iPhone

At the time, the late Apple founder Steve Jobs was bent on building his smartphone after iTunes’ partnership with Motorola failed.

Fadell’s early design shows how Apple tried to put phone technology inside the iPod.

This was eventually scrapped in favor of the iPhone built from the ground up.

But the prototype features the iPod’s iconic tap wheel.

This can turn into a number pad for entering numbers on the phone.

A small camera was placed in the back.

And the screen was small – obviously smaller than the 3.5-inch screen on the original iPhone.

“We made the iPod Plus Phone,” Fadel told TechCrunch.

“I just took the headphone that has the microphone and the one earpiece.

“You could use the tap wheel to select numbers and names, or you could call them, like a rotary telephone, which was the ultimate death for him.

“You can’t enter anything, because there’s no text input. But it was an iPod Classic with a phone on it.”

According to Fadil, Jobs was very keen on making the click wheel system work.

But in the end it didn’t fit with the idea of ​​a smartphone – so we ended up with a modern iPhone design.

Memory line

The first Apple iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007, and didn’t actually go on sale until June of that year.

It was the brainchild of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, who had envisioned a multi-touch screen on a computer just two years earlier.

At the launch event, Jobs famously said “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone” — and he was right.

But by today’s standards, the original iPhone was a bit of a bullshit. It had just 4 GB of storage, exactly 16 times less than the cheapest iPhone 2018.

We take apps for granted these days, but they haven’t always been a given.

In fact, the original iPhone did not have an app store when it was launched.

This came later in 2008.

The iPhone already has apps – Apple fare like Phone, Calendar, Weather, Notes, and more.

But you can’t install third-party apps through the official Apple App Store until July 2008.

The iPhone missed a lot of features at launch, including the front camera for selfies, video recording, and even a flashlight.

In the absence of a flashlight, some early iPhone apps allowed you to set a white screen to maximum brightness.

When the iPhone came out, it had a small 3.5-inch screen.

In comparison, current iPhones typically range from 5.8 inches to 6.7 inches.

When it was first rumored – and then launched – many laughed at Apple.

People joked about making phone calls on an imposing iPod, and they thought the lack of a physical keyboard would never happen.

I'm an expert - this is why a dry mouth can be a sign of something serious
Gemma Collins reveals her slim figure in a hot pink swimsuit

The original iPhone retailed for $499, which is closer to $669 in today’s money.

That’s actually cheaper than the proper iPhone 13, which costs $799.

The first model cost $499 - a far cry from today's more expensive models


The first model cost $499 – a far cry from today’s more expensive modelsCredit: Associated Press

The best tips and instructions for phones and smart devices

Are you looking for tips and advice for your phone? Want to find those secret features inside social media apps? We have covered…

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.