Guy Who Worked on the iPhone Shows Off Some Clunky Prototypes

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

In case you didn’t see one of the endless internet posts on the subject—it’s the 10th anniversary of the iPhone’s release. Hurray! Amongst the painful wankery about how the iPhone “changed everything” emerged one actually interesting bit: A look at some clumsy early prototypes of the combination iPod, phone, and internet communicator.

Ken Kocienda, the creator of the iPhone’s software keyboard, posted a photo of two early iPhone prototypes to commemorate the smartphone’s anniversary. But aside from it’s cereal box toy look, the prototypes also had funky names.

Kocienda said Apple’s Project Purple Team, responsible for early iPhone development, called them “Wallabies.”


Why was the iPhone named after a small kangaroo? Kocienda doesn’t really know, but those are the prototypes he used to create the popular on-screen keyboard.

“Hardware and software projects at Apple usually get code names,” Kocienda told Gizmodo over Twitter. “I never knew why these iPhone prototypes were called Wallabies.”


The two prototypes seem very blocky (and are probably heavy) and have giant bezels. Appropriate for a model more than a decade old. The design obviously took several leaps before reaching the final version. Maybe that’s why it was called a wallaby?

[Twitter via The Verge]


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Chip Overclock®

This is not unusual. As a product developer, I may be developing software on a series of test mules that bear only a superficial if any resemblance to the final product. These prototypes are to give the software team a head start - the header, the better - while the hardware team works out the hardware design. Successive prototypes grow closer and closer in appearance to the final product.