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Apple's Click-Wheel iPhone Prototype Revealed: Check Out The 'Acorn OS' [Video]

8 January 2017, 6:15 pm EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
A video has recently surfaced showing one of the early iPhone prototypes outfitted with an entirely different operating system. Had the OS not been discarded, iOS would be called a different name and it would sport a strange user interface as well.  ( Sony Dickson | YouTube )

In an accompanying promotional video for the Designed By Apple in California book, Jony Ive has touted Apple's design process and how each of its devices has different prototypes before one is finally selected for production. A recent report has given more insight into this area after it showed features of an early iPhone prototype.

Leaked Old iPhone

The report came by way of a video that showed the Apple relic running the rejected Acorn OS. For this device, Apple has explored an entirely different touch-based user interface.

Unlike the app-dominated home screen we see in iOS devices today, the Acorn OS divided the display into three sections.

The top contains the main area where the activity takes place. A black strip separates it from the bottom part and this contains the navigation buttons and is analogous to a computer taskbar. One could also find the navigation arrows that could have possibly been the play, pause, forward, and rewind icons for media content playback.

The bottom part is the most interesting affair since it is akin to the physical iPod scroll wheel but is entirely virtual.

Acorn OS UI

Clearly, Acorn OS is not exactly the most space-efficient and intuitive design but one can only imagine how the click wheel would have evolved as a touch tool. Apple's Force Touch innovation as well as the more recent mouse tracking, gesture, and touch technologies found in the MacBook would be interesting implementations to this particular navigation orientation.

One could also note the top portion of the screen might or could have supported multiple windows. Otherwise the single window shown in the video would have been expanded to occupy the entirety of the uppermost screen.

Meanwhile, getting to applications, files, and settings also appears to be quite a roundabout affair, requiring several clicks to find the target. It is this particular aspect to the video that certainly had us heaving a collective sigh of relief. Today, launching an app or finding media content is merely a matter of one to three taps.

According to The Verge, Acorn OS is a brainchild of Tony Fadell and his team.

Is The iPhone Authentic?

Those who would like to raise the question of authenticity about the device and operating system demonstrated in the video can merely turn to Apple's patents submitted in 2006. One of these contained drawings that corroborate the UI and a number of device specifications shown in the video.

There is no official word yet from Apple commenting on the video's leak. Some sources, however, pointed out that Apple could have destroyed its previous prototypes. This means that the device on the video must be an important technological artifact that deserves a place in a contemporary museum or Apple's ego wall at the very least.

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