The Apple iPhone has just turned ten, and what better way to celebrate a decade of mobile innovation than by taking a look at where it all began?
Well, the inventor of the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard has shared an image of two prototypes – and damn, are they ugly!
According to Ken Kocienda’s tweet, Apple’s iPhone development team used to call the bricks “Wallabies”, and Kocienda himself used them to develop the aesthetic keyboard we know so well.
Here are two iPhone prototypes. We called them Wallabies. I used these devices to make the software keyboard. pic.twitter.com/qbofBL3RUt— kocienda (@kocienda) June 29, 2017
The iPhone’s keyboard was itself a revolutionary step in mobile phone design. Today, physical buttons are considered abominations.
In follow-up tweets, he adds that the Wallabies were extremely raw devices, consisting of “touchscreens driven by a Mac and a bare motherboard”.
In 2017, these designs would no doubt be laughed off for their monstrous bezels and laptop-like thickness, but back in 2005 or 2006, these were ground-breaking pieces of tech.
I kept those devices in my desk drawer for years. When I left Apple, returning this hardware was tough, like saying goodbye to old friends.— kocienda (@kocienda) June 29, 2017
“Actually, creating the software keyboard for the iPhone was a dream job,” reminisces Kocienda.
Apple’s mobile masterpiece has spawned 10 generations, with a couple of size and colour variations thrown in for good measure.
The original iPhone didn’t even feature 3G technology – how’s that for a throwback? It also had a 2 MP camera, 128 MB of RAM, and its screen resolution was a measly 320x480 px.
The iPhone 7, meanwhile, has a 12 MP camera, 2 GB of RAM, and a 1334x750 px Retina HD display. We’ve come a long, long way. Who knows what the upcoming iPhone 8 has in store?