The Original Apple iPhone… from 1983

Apr 13, 2012 - 5 Comments

Original iPhone

Apple was busy dreaming about the future of communications 29 years ago, long before the days of the iPhone, touch screens, cell phones, and even cordless phones.

As this Apple product concept from 1983 shows, the company envisioned an Apple phone complete with a Mac-like OS, touch screen, touch keyboard, and even a stylus to navigate the onscreen elements. Sounds a little bit like a touchscreen Mac, an iPad, or iPhone, doesn’t it? Of course this was merely a concept and this particular phone never went anywhere, but it does show Apple’s tradition of dreaming big and being years ahead of their rivals in imagination alone.

Original iPhone 1983

These particular concepts were created by one of Apple’s famous first industrial designers, Hartmut Esslinger of frogdesign. You can see more old Apple product concept pictures at alongside a fascinating article about Apple’s early design, though it’s in German so the English translation is a bit rough.

Original iPhone 1983

Conceptually this one looks much more useful than the silly looking literal Apple phone from 1985, which was shaped like an actual Apple logo.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, iPhone, Retro


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  1. Ammon says:

    Apple’s concept iPhone was lightyears ahead of this actual iPhone that came out after a decade after these designs were released.

  2. bill says:

    While Apple ‘s dreaming of it, french use it daily ! :-)

  3. Wolf says:

    Actually, this is a very logical step when you think about it.

    Apple will have probably recognised the next evolution of the facsimile machine – without paper. You create a document on your computer (*ahem* Macintosh), and send it to your telephone via AppleTalk. Your telephone, running “iFaxOS” (okay, that was terrible, sorry) then translates the document into fax noise for sending to another fax machine.

    Similarly, the telephone would receive a fax, assemble it, and send it back via AppleTalk to the Macintosh for review (and maybe printing, if needed be).

    Essentially… graphic-enabled email without the whole electronic mail, complex addresses, terminals, service providers… just type, dial a number, and send. Very Apple.

    Of course, I know I’m reading much too far into this, but what a concept!

  4. Scott says:

    Apple knew a complete desktop OS wouldn’t work with touch screens and so it was minimized and simplified even back then. Functionality was likely based around a fax machine, but what an incredibly forward thinking company.

  5. Leonardo says:

    Even an earlier version of something like Google Wallet is shown in the 1st picture: an electronic check

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