Forget The iPhone 7, Leaked Images Reveal Apple’s Click Wheel iPhone Prototype

Apple has seen an incredible deal of success with its iPhone line-up of smartphones, including most recently with the iPhone 7. However, recently leaked images reveal that the iPhone could have been very different – with Apple originally drawing up plans for a Click Wheel iPhone, based on the design of the iPod. We’ve heard numerous times about iPhone prototypes that never came to be. However, the Click Wheel iPhone is the first one of those prototypes to be leaked. According to the Verge, pictures and video leaked by renowned Apple leaker, Sonny Dickson shows what he claims to be a precursor to iOS named “AcornOS.” In terms of design, AcornOS appears to be pretty similar in nature to the first version of iOS. However, the one key difference is that AcornOS is designed to be navigated with a click wheel – similar to the one found on the iPod. Of course, the leaked images are of the phone’s software only, meaning that a virtual click wheel appears to be in the place of a physical component here. This is Apple’s click wheel iPhone prototype — The Verge (@verge) January 6, 2017 The device’s menu-based UI appears to blend elements from the first version of iOS and Apple’s iPod operating system. Alongside options to access music and games, there’s also links to “Dial” and “SMS,” suggesting that this device was designed from the ground up as a mobile phone, by allowing users to both call numbers and send text messages. According to Phone Arena, the concept is further supported by a 2006 Apple patent showing a “multi-touch device” with an optional click wheel. However, it’s no secret that Apple looked to the iPod when designing the first version of iOS. Steve Jobs later confirmed that when Apple was first designing the iPhone in 2005, they considered either expanding on the iPod’s operating system or shrinking down Mac’s operating system; OSX. Ultimately, it was the latter that prevailed, with AcornOS seemingly being the unsuccessful option. RELATED STORIES ON INQUISITR: iOS 10 Update For iPhone 7 Plus And iPad Mini, Air 2 To Bring Dark Mode, Control Center Shortcuts And More iPad Pro 2 Release Date And Rumors: Bezel-Less Display To Debut On Apple’s Tablets Before iPhone 8 Launch? iPhone 8 Release Date And Spec Rumors: Fast Charging And ‘Tap To Wake’ Feature Ultimately, the Click Wheel iPhone was always destined to fail, with Apple product designer Tony Fadell saying “The biggest problem with the iPod plus phone, was that we had a little screen and this hardware wheel, and we were stuck with that.” The click wheel navigation interface may have worked well for Apple’s music player. However, a mobile phone ultimately needs access to a keyboard in order to send text messages and emails, which is something Apple found when designing the iPhone. Apple’s first generation iPhone, or the iPhone 2G as it’s commonly referred to, was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007. Whilst the iPhone 2G paved the way for Apple’s most successful product line of all time, it was quickly replaced by the more capable iPhone 3G, which offered a more refined version of iOS. The iPhone 8 will reportedly include some long-awaited upgrades: — Forbes (@Forbes) January 4, 2017 With the original iPhone released in 2007, Apple is expected to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the phone by completely overhauling the range in 2017. The iPhone 8, which is expected to be revealed later this year, is set to see Apple once again shake-up the iPhone. Along with wireless charging and fast charging, the iPhone 8 is expected to feature an edge-to-edge display, as well as a number of new features. The phone will follow the release of the iPhone 7 last year – which was largely tarnished as an underwhelming upgrade. As that 10th anniversary approaches, the iPhone we know and love today could have been very different. [Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]