Early iPhone prototype sported 5x7-inch screen

Images of early in-house versions of the iPhone posted by Ars Technica reveal a much larger screen and a variety of ports.

This is how the iPhone looks today. CBS Interactive

Two years before its debut, the iPhone was as large as an iPad Mini.

A 2005 prototype of the iPhone was five inches wide and seven inches tall, according to images leaked to blog site Ars Technica through a former but unnamed Apple employee. The employee apparently worked on several hardware projects for Apple in the early 2000s and was able to check out the early iPhone versions.

Though it matched the size of an iPad Mini, the iPhone prototype wasn't quite as svelte. The prototype was around two inches thick compared with the Mini at just over a quarter of an inch.

In contast to Apple's "less is more" philosophy, the prototype was home to a number of ports, including an Ethernet port, a serial port, and several USB ports.

However, those ports were installed simply to help developers more easily work with the device and were never intended for the final consumer product, ArsTechnica's source said.

Still, the phone was in an obvious state of flux during its development, and "at that early date no one knew what [the final device] would be," the source added.

But the processor isn't that much different than the one used in the 2007 debut version of the phone. The ARM chip in the prototype looks like a variant of Samsung's S3C2410, according to Ars writer Andrew Cunningham, who called it "a distant relative of the chip the first iPhone ended up using, just older and slower."

The S3C2410 is an ARM9 chip, while the 2007 iPhone used an ARM11 chip. But the prototype shows that Apple tapped into Samsung for the phone's ARM chip right from the start.

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About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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