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'Highly confidential' iPad, iPhone prototypes revealed in court documents

Court documents pertaining to Apple's upcoming jury trial against Samsung have revealed a number of very early iPad and iPhone design prototypes, some of which bear resemblance to mock-ups of the company's rumored next-generation handset.

The prototypes, found in unredacted court exhibits filed on Thursday, offer a rare look at the extremely secretive design process Apple products undergo before reaching consumers, reports The Verge.

While Apple has traditionally gone to great lengths to keep such pictures out of public view, it has been forced to divulge the information as part of a July 30 jury trial against Samsung. The California case's presiding Judge Lucy Koh previously called for open proceedings, meaning much of the normally-redacted evidence won't be considered as trade secrets is thus free for public viewing.

As for the prototypes, some are outlandish design studies for the iPad like a model that includes a built-in stick kickstand while others appear closer to consumer-ready products.

iPad Prototypes

Prototype iPad designs with kickstand. | Source: The Verge


Other iPad designs featured an integrate kickstand with an aluminum case and "iPod" markings, showing that Apple may have been thinking about positioning the tablet within its then best-selling media player line.

Apple's iPhone prototypes looked somewhat similar to the smartphone customers use today, however there are a few standout designs that are radically different. One such example is an iPhone design which takes on an elongated candy bar form factor and has a screen taking up only half of the unit's face. The phone is dubbed "N90" for what is thought to have been the internal designation of the iPhone project.

iPhone Prototypes

iPhone prototypes "N90" (left) and two-tone casing (right). | Source: The Verge


Most of the designs never made it out of testing, but some elements can be seen in current and possibly future products. An image of a two-tone backed iPhone looks similar to mock-ups of Apple's sixth-generation smartphone. The feature was somewhat present on the original iPhone as a covering to allow radio waves to pass through to the unit's antenna assembly, though that all but disappeared in future iterations of the device which are now glass-backed. In current products, the black bar only remains on 3G wireless versions of the iPad.

Other unused iPhone designs feature beveled corners, all-polycarbonate backs and interesting wrap-around casings.