In late 2006, as speculation over the impending launch of the first iPhone sent the tech press into a frenzy, everyone wondered what Apple's design department had up its sleeve. Predictions were rampant over what the handset would do and what it look like. And since Apple isn't a leaky ship, we could only guess on both fronts.
On December 20 of that year, I assembled this photo gallery of the most popular iPhone concept designs I had seen. They were just rumors, and we would find out all the handset's details once Macworld 2007 commenced three weeks later. But for a few days they were all we had.
So now, on the occasion of the iPhone's fifth birthday, I'm posting the slideshow again to offer you a look at what Apple's handset could have been. At the time some were plausible, and some were ridiculous, and none of them quite compared to what we got.
No, this first handset wasn't a concept design, but I couldn't leave out the infamous Motorola Rokr E1. Technically, it was the first iPhone when Apple CEO Steve Jobs joined Cingular execs to unveil it in September 2005. And wow, was it a hot mess.
Motorola design rears its head again with this concept that featured a Rav3 V3-like keypad hidden behind a standard iPod design. Also notice the Cingular logo on the rear side. In late 2006, AT&T was in the midst of phasing out the Cingular brand.
Talk about ugly. This crowded concept had a large display, but the tiny keypad would have sent us over the side. Perhaps this is what Digg's Kevin Rose had in mind when he inaccurately predicted a slide-out keyboard.
Slider phones were very popular at the time so we weren't surprised to see so many concepts with that design. The only problem was that most of them, like this one here, just slapped a keypad behind an iPod.