Apple iPhone Backstory? Mac OS X Tie ins?

Appleinsider has posted an interesting tale of the progression of the Apple iPhone (smart phone) project which has reportedly been ongoing for at least the past three years.

According to the rumor site, Apple reportedly started showcasing a prototype of their proprietary smart phone in the early summer of 2005. At the time they were shopping for both wireless partners as well as contractors. The interface of the phone was based on the one-click simplicity of Front Row along with extensive integration with Mac OS X. This integration came in the form of new .Mac functionality, iTunes syncing, and full iChat functionality.

Two features described in more detail include a "call ahead" feature:

Similarly, a "call ahead" feature would allow users of the phone to pre-record a video clip that could then be transmitted to mobile phone at the receiving end, where it would play before the a call was answered.

and video iChat functionality:

A source familiar with the development efforts said Apple had tapped third parties to lend a hand with certain protocols that would allow for iChat video conferencing between the handset and desktop Macs.

Despite the work done, according to Appleinsider's source, Steve Jobs reportedly was unhappy with the device and insisted on a ground up redesign in order to meet his requirements.

While the details of this report will be difficult to corroborate, some aspects of it correspond with some previous reports:

LoopRumors.com previously claimed that an Apple iPhone would come with iChat AV (videoconferencing capabilities), and in March ThinkSecret reported that Apple's phone project was encountering "significant technical hurdles" and it was being designed "from the ground up".

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