back to article Enormo-display Apple iPhone prototype surfaces

For you iPhone users who drool over the large displays of such Android handsets as ZTE's 5.7-inch Grand Memo or Samsung's 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II, cast your eyes on what could have been: Early iPhone prototype The iPhone that could have kept RS-232 relevant for another decade (source: Ars Technica; click to enlarge) The …

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  1. LaeMing Silver badge
    Boffin

    More likely

    It has all those extra ports because it is based on an off-the-shelf prototyping board.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: More likely

      Agreed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More likely

      I'm old; I'm used to depopulated breadboards.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: More likely

      Similar systems from Inhand and Samsung. Apple probably didn't build or design it.

      This example has 4G in 2006 and fits in a large pocket. Zero custom hardware, ran Debian and Qtopia. Cost about £3,000.

      Apple is about the Marketing, GUI and services.

    4. Robert Forsyth

      Re: More likely

      http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/wildducks/index.php?title=Wild_ducks_project/Hardware

  2. Ropewash
    Trollface

    Could've filed for patents...

    ... on rectangles with chamfered corners and square corners judging by the Ars gallery.

    1. RDW

      Re: Could've filed for patents...

      "Could've filed for patents.... on rectangles with chamfered corners and square corners judging by the Ars gallery."

      Judging by this one:

      http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/iphone_huffpo.jpg

      Battlestar Galactica had prior art!

      1. Fink-Nottle
        Boffin

        Re: Could've filed for patents...

        I claim prior art on sticking stuff together with masking tape.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Now...

    Just slap on a keyboard, and you've finally got a useful iDevice.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RS232 is still relevant

    Its used worldwide for a massive range of products in industry. It's simple, cheap and plenty fast enough for sending commands or telemetry. Plus it is just a level-shift away from TTL serial, so it can quickly be turned into 485/422 for longer range- or stuck over a fibre. It's also very easy to build into embedded systems where there isnt room for a full TCP/IP stack or the like.

    Long live RS232!

    1. Carl Williams
      Thumb Up

      Re: RS232 is still relevant

      Last time I checked the GPS NMEA stream was fed into a phone in RS232 format, so could well have been a port to connect an external GPS device to for testing. Might be gone now haven't had to check or even had the ability to check for a while now.

    2. Chemist

      Re: RS232 is still relevant

      "RS232 is still relevant "

      Almost everything I do with PIC microcontrollers has a 232 interface along the lines of :

      PIC-232----232/USB convertor ---- Linux daemon---client programs.

      For quick look sees I find it a lot easier than PIC-USB

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: RS232 is still relevant

      You always need some way to get access regardless of how successfully you manage to stuff things up. RS232 is especially useful when you knacker the TCP/IP stack or somehow mis-type the configuration or not-so carefully mis-type it's IP address.

      Been there, done that, probably have a few medals somewhere. It's actually quite hard to permanently brick modern embedded systems.

    4. ian 22

      Re: RS232 is still relevant

      Will that be one stop bit or two, sir?

      Lovely technology that. Never could understand data rate in Baud, though it was amusing.

      1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: RS232 is still relevant

        Ok, @ian 22, what's confusing about baud? On a single level line (e.g. RS232) 9600 baud is 9600bps which is 960 octets per second. On an analog line with four distinct carrier frequencies (e.g. four audio tones) you get 9600 baud is 38400 bits per second or 3840 octets per. Each "baud" might consist of a chord of four tones...

        Possibly interesting: 1000Base-T (gigabit) Ethernet can carry 2Gb/s (1GB/s in each direction) and is implemented as four 250Megabaud lines so the overall connection is 1Gigabaud and 2Gb/s...

        Or possibly not.

  5. Geoff Campbell
    Boffin

    I've been saying for years...

    ...that the iPad wasn't a hugely innovative breakthrough, so much as a clever re-packaging of whatever prototyping platform they used to develop the iPhone.

    Vindicated, finally!

    GJC

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Happy

      Re: I've been saying for years...

      I see the fanbois are out in force today.

      GJC

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've been saying for years...

        No Geoff, just that your comment was vacuous, as per usual...

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Pirate

          Re: I've been saying for years...

          I like to do my best to meet your rigorous standards. Don't thank me, it's just what I do.

          GJC

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I've been saying for years...

      So by that argument El Reg's paper plane project wasn't innovative as it just used boring old paper and off the shelf components. I think you're confusing the word "innovate" with "invent".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: I've been saying for years...

      They took their work from the iPhone to make the iPad... really, you've been saying that... damn, if only i'd have listened to you.

      wheres the no shit sherlock icon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The picture looks like Raspberry Pi's next model

    I can see it now: the Raspberry PiPad...

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Black Helicopters

      Re: The picture looks like Raspberry Pi's next model

      Actually, I was thinking it looked a lot like one of the older Beagle Board modules.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Development devices and hardware are nearly always bigger or rough and ready.

    I remember reading about the original Amiga chipset prototypes being the size of two suitcases.

  8. andreas koch
    Holmes

    This is how that thing happened:

    One morning Mr. Jobs walks through R&D and sees one of the minions with an "i <3 Alan Kay" T-shirt. He goes up to him and says "Have you ever met him?", and the techie says "Yes! I sat through a few of his lectures, he's a genius! Think of all his ideas!" So Steve says to him "You know, if they were all that good, he'd be richer. But nonetheless, he did think up a thing called Dynabook somewhen in the 70's that never came to anything. If you think he's so great, then build me one; You have 3 days and $2000. I see you on Friday.". As Mr. Jobs word is law the techie toddles off and turns up on Friday with this thing. Steve has a play with it and is somewhat intrigued. He calls the guy and tells him: "Now make it flatter, here's $200.000, I see you in 3 months."

    The rest is known.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: This is how that thing happened:

      Timescales and cash a bit low, but probably not far off. Put x5 on everything.

      1. andreas koch
        Happy

        @ Mage - Re: This is how that thing happened:

        >

        . . .

        Put x5 on everything.

        <

        It was Steve Jobs in the story, though; so I think that the timescales were spot on.

        But I do agree, under normal management circumstances you would be right all the way.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: @ Mage - This is how that thing happened:

          The original Star Trek has a lot to answer for with Scotties inflation of time and then infeasibly fast delivery. For years plagued by managers assuming we were all like Scottie. He'd also ask the most junior team members for estimates of project duration.

          1. andreas koch

            @ Mage - Re: @ Mage - This is how that thing happened:

            I think I know what you mean, but Mr. Jobs would have been just the type of manager who would expect you to do a few 24h days (and the night, too) if he requests something to happen. He would know that the outcome of a rushed development couldn't be perfect (see original article), but would show if the direction of the idea is right; or at least what he wanted it to be. The rest is then "improvement only".

  9. LinkOfHyrule
    Joke

    "Put that in this"

    The actual words Steve used in his email to the head of product engineering at Foxcon referring to both that prototype and an attached GIF of a rounded rectangle he drew a few minuets earlier in Illustrator.

  10. Tim 11
    Happy

    Type A and B ports

    Being an apple product, I imagine having both type of ports would be useful - simply plug both ends of a standard printer cable in at the same time and watch it disappear up its own arse.

    Seriously though it's an interesting point whether a tablet is seen as a host or a device. Surtace has a USB A so it clearly thinks it's a computer you plug devices into; most other tablets have a mini or micro USB meaning they consider themselves devices that can be plugged into a host.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Type A and B ports

      A good number of, but not all, tablets and phones can act as host- 'USB OTG'. You notice that micro USB has 5 pins yet USB A has 4? Shorting two of them together will instruct a compatible device to act as host and read memory cards, USB HDDs and keyboards etc.

      Check online for '[your device] USB OTG' before buying a cable. Making one yourself is a good test of your soldering skill and patience, though.

      http://usbtips.com/usb-otg-adapter-connects-usb-accessories-to-your-android-device/

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Type A and B ports

      Another has remarked about USB OTG (my phone support *8* USB drives simulatenously, so some kind of powered hub is probably in order -- although I can plug a thumbdrive into a cable for exFAT goodness).

      The obvious reason for the "B" port is debugging and development and general "this is how the device works". That "A" port is most likely there to support removable memory: it is infinitely easier to work on a system where you can remove the boot device and stick it into a host to fix whatever it is that you just broke.

      (And the serial port is so you can instruct the thing to boot off the USB port, natch!)

  11. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    It's an iPhone!

    All iPhone's look like that. The only difference in the production version is the addition of a miniature SEP field generator plugged into the serial port....

    1. andreas koch

      @ TeeCee - Re: It's an iPhone!

      Correct, I think; albeit a day late to celebrate his 61st birthday.

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