New Video Pits iPhone Click Wheel Prototype Against Scott Forstall's Icon-Based iPhone Prototype

A couple days ago Sonny Dickson shared a look at one of two early prototypes for the original iPhone, the iPod Click Wheel-based OS that iPod "Godfather" Tony Fadell was working on. Tonight, Dickson has shared a video pitting Fadell's version against Scott Forstall's icon-based iPhone prototype, which went on to become the basis for iOS.

Fadell's prototype was referred to as P1 while Forstall's prototype was referred to as P2. The two projects reportedly went head to head in 2005 when Steve Jobs pitted the two against each other. While the P1 used the click-wheel interface to navigate the OS, the P2 used a series of touch-based icons to move around the OS.

Both P1 and P2 run a prototype OS Apple codenamed "Acorn OS" internally, though Dickson notes that P1 runs faster because it uses a slimmed down version of Acorn OS. Each prototype also sports a unique logo that pops up after the Acorn OS logo while it boots up.
The P2 loads octopus whereas the P1 has the iPod classic logo. The P2 takes a significantly longer to load because it actually has a real OS, whereas the P1 takes much less time since the OS is slimmer. These P unit prototypes are so early in the development process that they rely on a custom process to be turned off, and can only be powered down during a certain step of the boot process.
The video, and accompanying photos, provide both a look at the choice Steve Jobs and Apple employees faced as they were developing the iPhone and iOS 10 years ago and how Apple explores ideas. As Dickson notes, "P devices" are the first step of any project at Apple. They're barely-functioning devices that allow the company to explore and test concepts, iterating on them until they're satisfied enough to push the project further.

More images of the P2 iPhone prototype are available on Sonny Dickson's website.

Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago
More proof that Tim Cook is clueless for firing Scott Forstall.
Rating: 55 Votes
40 months ago

Like you know them so well eh? Forstall was a motor mouth who thought he was as important as Jobs or Ives. One can see his arrogance during his presentations. This is based purely on his stage presence, I don't think anyone here can say what he was like behind the public eye, but I reckon he was a royal pain in the ass.

For the record, Forstall was more important than Ives. Ives developed industrial design cases that met Steve's ideals. He didn't introduce cases and Steve went, ``that's perfect!'' No, there is an entire building full of failed Ive designs. Steve found a `kindred' spirit industrial designer who could produce what he envisioned, not the other way around. Scott was one of the key architects on Openstep.

Yes, he is brash, but he's also amenable when put in his place. I know. I had my brush ups with him. He was used to wearing 7 hats doing his job. We all were at NeXT. When we merged with Apple we couldn't believe how little the average person did at Apple and still bitched it was too much work. That changed rapidly.

Being a NeXT employee had many perks in so we never were interrogated by Steve when he came back and let go if found our position was redundant. That was the Apple legacy crowd, including Blue Box/Red Box cruft, to the 26 marketing departments he whittled down to 1. Yes, there were individual marketing groups for each product made at Apple. There was also 180 internal applications and the IT Budget was asininely off the charts for people getting paid to make these asinine pet software projects that were never intended to be made into actual consumer products.

In short, NeXT folks saved Apple's bacon and it pissed off a lot of legacy who felt threatened. Steve cancelling the paid 12 week Sabbatical option saw a lot of them venting and he offered them the door. OS 9 was a stop-gap Tevanian oversaw to get out the door while OS X was still in development; and wouldn't be nearly viable for a few more years. The amount of cruft at Apple was insane. Lots of resources were leveraged to actually implement streamlined software development practices as no one at Apple had any worth while UNIX experience. So, the iMac became the center piece to pacify the masses, and the iPod was the lucky grand slam that gave Fadell fame for suggesting it but took Jon Rubinstein and his seasoned experience in hardware at NeXT and HP to pull it off.

Losing Rubinstein, Tevanian, Serlet and more takes a toll on any corporation the size of Apple. The replacements aren't on their level.Sina Tamaddon was also vital in ways none of you know.

The only person able to convince all of them to stay on-board and rebuild Apple was Steve. If he had only remained a technical advisor to Amelio the company would have folded in 6 months.

Steve saw something in people so far outside the IT world, brought them in and they became huge points of presence that no one else could have foreseen becoming. Sina was but one example of it. He did that quite frequently at NeXT. He also had a close knit group of luminaries in SV that he drew upon throughout his life which gave him even more insight into building a company.

Tim isn't a local SV product. It shows in his Compaq Southern personality. He's a behind the scenes man who Steve handpicked because he wouldn't sink the ship. Apple will eventually have to find someone who has vision that adheres to the founding principles of its original founder. But that's not now. They are working on the flag ship campus, Project Titan and so much more, but by all means paint Forstall as if you ever worked around him.

The guy is brilliant and well earned his position. Does he have an ego? Hell yes. Did he dwarf Fadell in talent? Hell yes. Tim Cook is not and never will be Steven P. Jobs. He has a more passive aggressive demeanor and doesn't like people to rock the boat: the exact opposite of Steve who demanded a spine and if you could deliver on your boasts you were well rewarded.

Apple is a global company trying to be all things to all cultures, something Tim has worked very hard at achieving.

Let's see what 2017 has now that the flag ship campus will soon be done and no longer preoccupying keep personnel's attention.
Rating: 53 Votes
40 months ago
The iPhone has lost its soul.

Bring back Scott
Rating: 29 Votes
40 months ago
Scott Forstall is excatly the kind of person that, Apple would need right now.
Strong personality, clear words and probably the only high-ranking Apple exec with a sense for reality.

That doesn't mean I ignore his shortcomings and the mistakes he made.
But as it looks now, they are definetly the lesser evil.
Rating: 27 Votes
40 months ago
Steve picking Scott's design was the right choice. Having a scroll wheel taking up half a screen would make no sense when we can just scroll up and down to navigate. So what does Apple do to reward the father of iOS and a Stanford alumni who actually knew more about code than Jobs did? Relieve him five years later after Steve passed away and make the underdeveloped Apple Maps as the scapegoat because Jony hated working with him.

Skeuomorphic was better looking to me than Jony's flat look. Apple lost two strong personalities within a year for the sake of a weaker and petty one where he looks like he is ready to cry in every product intro. No wonder Apple became fat cats. Nobody like Steve and Scott at Apple to be a strong driving force and light a match under their ***!
Rating: 25 Votes
40 months ago

Or are you clueless why Forstalls departure occurred? Of course Apple never confirmed specifics, but allegedly he wasn't just terminated because of Cooks doing. Forstall botched Apple maps and Siri was over hyped during his reign....

Bulls**t. Forstall was the fall guy for Maps. He was Job's guy, didn't mesh with King Ive & was conveniently shown the door when he rightly refused to sign the apology letter. Apple Maps was a disaster from the get-go and was rushed onto the iPhone before it was even CLOSE to a golden-master. His replacement Cue even said as much saying that Apple "had completely underestimated the product, the complexity of it." This falls on Cook as the CEO. He approved & rushed an incomplete product out the door and when he was caught with egg on his face, rather than accepting the blame as he should have, he foisted it off to those beneath him and summarily dismissed them.

And let's not even get started on the Maps 2.0 that is Siri.
Rating: 20 Votes
40 months ago

More proof that Tim Cook is clueless for firing Scott Forstall.

I remember the countless cruel jokes MacRumors people would throw at Forstall for months.
Rating: 19 Votes
40 months ago
That is some serious minimalistic design there, Scott.
Rating: 16 Votes
40 months ago
Tim Cook basically fired Scott Forstall because he was tough to work with and didn't get along with other higher-ups. That's a pretty stupid reason to release the father of iOS. It just shows that Tim doesn't have the same mentality of Steve when it comes to building a team. Steve use to say that friction between members of a team was good and led to better products, but obviously that's not Tim's goal.

As always, this video provides the perfect summary of Tim Cook's Apple.

Rating: 15 Votes
40 months ago

Or are you clueless why Forstalls departure occurred? Of course Apple never confirmed specifics, but allegedly He wasn't just terminated because of Cooks doing. Forstall botched Apple maps and Siri was over hyped during his reign, which fell flat. He partly put himself in this position with projects he failed to deliver upon.

Not to mention Forstall was in serious clash with Ive during that period, who was very close to Jobs. So, there were Indifferences between the two. I believe Forstall was a part of Apple's heritage, but we don't know Apple's current standing if he was still employed today.

Not quite what happened. After a few years it came out that Tim Cook essentially dumped Apple maps on Forstall without option. Then Silo'd his team off from the rest of Apple making Forstall work entirely within a small team with no additional support from the rest of Apple. He then gave Forstall a hard deadline to deliver Apple maps by.

when Apple maps was released, with much debacle, Forstall refused to apologize for it, Leaving Tim Cook to do so. So, Cook forced him out.

Forstall was absolutely one of the best product guys Apple ever had. He was basically ousted because Tim Cook cannot seem to Manage departmental resources properly at apple. This is STILL a problem with the Tim Cook era where he frequently juggles resources between projects and can't seem allow departments enough autonomy. We see this with the current MacOS team, which has been allegedely dismantled in favour of putting more developers on iOS. We saw this in 2016 when Apple reportedly put less work towards some products to favour others (such as iPad pro's over Macs).

We're talking about a several dozen billion dollar profitable company here. There's no reason why the company of this size, scope and monetary position cannot operate full teams to support all of Apple's products and initiatives, Except, the CEO who is supposed to manage this sort of direction seems to think only a few dozen people total need to do all the work?

Tim Cook was an amazing supply manager. He did a great job when he was just managing his own area of expertise. But as CEO, he's had many missteps, and Forstall is just one of them. And this is irrelevant of the actual products. As CEO he has not transitioned or positioned Apple in a good place right now. Whether you like to believe it or not, from a financial and market position Apple is in a declining position and Tim Needs to make sure he gets the right people, right departments, and the right product people in place to be able to build new things AND support all their existing product lines.

As for Scott? I can tell you it likely was a personality problem between him and Cook/Ive. Because Job's respected Forstall incredibly from his software/product chops. He was NeXt employee who came over to Apple with Jobs and the two of them were often working closely together until Job's death, when suddenly he was marginalised by Cook.

But maybe the leaving was good for Forstall. He's gone on to do some good stuff. he's now an adviser for charities, he's travelled the world for fun, and produced broadway plays (which won 5 awards at the Tonys)

He's probably laughing at the Current state of Apple software
Rating: 13 Votes

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