The first iPhone
was actually dreamed up in 1983. Forget that silly old touchscreen,
this iPhone was a landline with full, all-white handset and a built-in
screen controlled with a stylus.
phone was designed for Apple by Hartmut Esslinger, an influential
designer who helped make the Apple IIc computer (Apple’s
first “portable” computer) and later founded
Frogdesign. The 1983 iPhone certainly fits in with
Esslinger’s other designs for Apple. It also foreshadows the
touchscreens of both the iPhone
of the 1983 iPhone have been circling the web for a while
but there has been renewed interest in Apple’s early designs
and history thanks to a peak inside Stanford
University’s massive trove of Apple documents.
The archives are a close-guarded secret but Stanford is starting to
grant access to select journalists and organizations. The archives were
donated in 1997 after Steve Jobs rejoined the company and document much
of the design and personnel changes that took place in the 1980s.
1983 iPhone is just one of many prototypes buried in Apple’s
past. There’s even a device that looks eerily similar to an iPad.
Despite the phone’s age, it actually looks like a cool
concept that could easily be updated into a modern consumer product by
replacing simple stylus screen with an iPad-like interface.
has reached out to Stanford to get a private look into the material.
Stay tuned for more, but in the mean time, take a look at some pics of
the iPhone that never was.