Summer blockbuster movies love to tell the “Secret Origins” of our favorite superhero characters. But maybe the most interesting backstory this summer was revealed not at the multiplex but the courthouse. Recent documents filed in the Samsung vs. Apple lawsuit provide an interesting look at early iPhone and iPad prototypes.
One of the most interesting revelations presented by the documents was an image and design specs of a prototype of the iPhone developed in 2006 that bears a very strong resemblance to the iPhone 4 that did not go on sale until 2010. The documents also revealed that some early designs for the iPad included a pull-out arm that could be used as a stand – a similar feature that is now being seen on tablets from some other manufactures such as Microsoft’s Surface.
One of the iPad early designs called “X9 #4” in the court documents is shown with a kickstand attached to the back of the unit. The ability to have a built-in stand on a tablet is very attractive to those who make presentations such as keynote speakers.
Other Early Versions
Among other early iPhone prototypes was an octagonal model, which was designated “Boeing v6.” This early model had interesting angled corners and a two-tone black and white design with a curved back. There were other designs with varying lengths and thicknesses from the iPhones which went into production that we have become familiar with. It looks as if most of the prototypes were made in or around 2006.
Last week, similar court filings showed that Apple had instructed some of its design team to come up with a “Sony-like” phone. The resulting designs were black with a silver band running around the edges, making them also look much more like the iPhone 4 than the first iPhones that became available.
The court submissions also show some early designs for the iPhone’s home screen that differ from what you may know. In one such image, an early set of icons are arranged on screen with no text underneath. Some of the icons, like the ones for weather, stocks, and Safari, look like they have gone pretty much unchanged since these concept designs, while others seem to have gone through major makeovers. For example, an early version of the iPod button was an orange box with a music note. Apple later changed that to an iPod icon, and the Photo Gallery icon was a young boy on a beach, not the sunflower familiar to millions of iPhone users.
Ultimately how these documents will have bearing on the patent case remains to be seen. However for fans of i-Tech, they provide an interesting look at the origins of their favorite Smartphone.
The case is 11-01846, Apple v. Samsung Electronics, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.