Take a Look at Apple’s ‘80s iPhone

Apple Flip Phone Design

Apple has always placed enormous emphasis on good design. “It’s not just about aesthetics,” Jony Ive, the company’s design guru, told The Sunday Times earlier this year. “They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made.” That’s why, for every iPad or Mac unveiled to the public, another dozen products might never make it out of Apple’s labs: something just wasn’t quite right, or executives thought the market wasn’t ready.

Despite their abandonment, many of those discards offer a unique view into Apple’s strategic thinking. As detailed in Hartmut Esslinger’s new book Keep it Simple, early concepts for phones, tablets, ear-buds, and laptops bounced around Apple for decades before they hit the market as finished products; other designs, including a modular laptop with detachable keyboard, screen and disk drive, never made it beyond the conceptual stage. A noted designer, Esslinger helped refine Apple’s design language in the early 1980s, putting him in a position to see much of the company’s development pipeline during its formative years.

In conjunction with Keep It Simple’s publisher, The Verge is offering up images of those early prototypes, which are worth checking out if only to see what an Apple phone or tablet might have looked like a couple decades ago. (Good thing that advances in hardware allowed the company to make the actual iPhone and iPad much sleeker.) Check ‘em out.

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Image: Arnoldsche Art Publishers