An early iPhone prototype has surfaced, different from others that we’ve seen before, and much closer akin to the aspect ratio we're now used to in the iPad. It's also caught on camera. While we have previously seen design concepts and renders, it’s rare that we see a development prototype. From early 2005, the prototype has a 5"×7" screen and is two inches thick. It also has a number of ports that would never make it to the final iPhone design. According to Ars Technica:
As seen in the gallery above, this early prototype has a number of ports that we're used to seeing more commonly on computers than on mobile devices, including USB ports, an Ethernet port, and even a serial port. Apple never intended for all of these to make it into the final product, of course—our source said that because this was a development prototype, ports like Ethernet and serial were included simply to make working on the device easier. Still, "at that early date no one knew what [the final device] would be," the source emphasized, highlighting the constantly changing nature of Apple's development process.
The engineering team was impressed that they were essentially running Mac OS X on a machine of that size. In only two years, this device would be refined and become the iPhone we all know and love, making its first appearence at Macworld 2007.
It’s funny to think that from this device, and others like it, no doubt, has come most if not all of Apple’s current success. Years from now, we’ll undoubtedly see more such prototypes for devices that we haven’t even seen yet.