Several photos of an early prototype of the iPhone have surfaced, These are from 2005, and show a device that looks more like a very thick iPad as opposed to the iPhone we know and love today.
Apple watchers have seen all manner of iPhone prototypes pop up on eBay, in court documents, and in leaked photos. But most were either close approximations of the first iPhone that was released in 2007 or of later models.
What we don’t often get to see is early Apple prototypes, those from way before the iPhone started to look like a phone-like object. That’s why we were excited to receive photos showing an in-house version of the iPhone from early 2005. The images to Ars through 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.
The pictured prototype is 5X7 inches in size, and almost two inches thick. Much of the thickness is to accommodate things like serial and Ethernet ports, which would have been used in a development environment.
Ars Technica comments that the Samsung ARM chip used in the prototype, (A variant of the Samsung S3C2410, seen above), is “a distant relative of the chip the first iPhone ended up using, just older and slower.”