Early iPhone Prototype bigger than Laptop

While each iPhone released seems to shrink in size, you might expect early prototypes of the original iPhone to be slightly bigger than the first model sold to the public. But you wouldn’t have expected one to be as big as this.

Today a former Apple employee leaked images of a circa 2005 iPhone prototype which has a humungous 5″ by 7″ screen, making it closer to the size on an iPad mini. Worse still it’s incredibly thick, so much so that some laptops are thinner!

For those who complained the iPhone didn’t use standard USB ports, you might have been happier with this prototype which doesn’t just have USB but also ethernet, serial and more. Great if you fancy hooking up your network cable if you don’t have wifi in your home or printing something from your phone on a mid 1990s printer, but not much use if you want to fit this phone into your jeans pocket.

Despite seeming so different from how the iPhone ended up looking, many of the essential parts are there. For instance the Samsung manufactured ARM chip which was in the initial iPhone is present in the prototype along with the same logic board. So it’s likely all the additional ports and big screen size were just there to allow the engineers to get everything working properly together before they cut down on size and ports to fit into the final shape of the original iPhone.

As touchscreen smartphones without keyboards are everywhere today it’s often hard to remember how revolutionary the original iPhone seemed when launched, but it put some context on it Nokia were still the dominant phone manufacturer, most phones had number pads and it was only a few years earlier that small colour screens became mainstream.

The fact that the prototype is from circa 2005 and is already pretty developed shows how long Apple was working on the iPhone for. It was finally released in 2007. Whether those two years were spent just figuring out how to shrink this beast of a phone down to the 3.5″ screen on the final iPhone or the delay was due to getting production set up and the software fixed isn’t revealed, as the source of the leak left Apple in this period.

Interestingly smartphones are growing in size. Even iPhones which had a 3.5″ screen from the original phone to the 4S finally grew with the iPhone 5. One of Samsung best selling phones is the Galaxy Note which has a 5.3″ screen. Other so called “phablets” are increasing in sales recently and even Apple is under pressure to make one. A few people are already using the iPad mini as one by using the Skype app as their phone, although this really isn’t something we’d recommend doing. Phablets are proving popular in mid-income economies where purchasing both an tablet and a smartphone is too expensive, therefore a device that works as both is seen as an ideal compromise solution.

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Early iPhone Prototype bigger than Laptop


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