See the iPhone’s early user interface in action, virtual click wheel and all
Jobs had teams develop multiple prototypes to figure out the best way forward.
The first iPhone was officially announced ten years ago [last week], and the anniversary is generating a lot of nostalgia-fueled retrospectives and is unearthing interesting artifacts. Case in point, the video embedded above by sometimes-reliable Apple leaker Sonny Dickson shows off two competing early demos of the iPhone’s user interface.
The two operating systems are referred to as “P1” and “P2.” P1, on the left, uses an iPod-like user interface complete with virtual click wheel. Users would scroll through phone apps and settings much as they would on a mid-2000s iPod. P2, on the right, looks like barely more than a tech demo or a diagnostic mode, but it’s entirely touch-controlled and uses the phone’s entire screen to display content. Of the two prototypes, P1 boots much faster and looks more polished, but P2 is obviously the kernel that would eventually become the iPhone OS (and later, iOS).
Tony Fadell, one of the iPod’s creators and the former CEO of Nest, tweeted some additional information that explains some of Apple’s thinking and confirms the video’s authenticity. Apple tried out a lot of different competing ideas when creating what would become the iPhone and iOS, and Steve Jobs requested that both iPod-style and all-touch versions of the operating system be designed. Fadell says that there was “no doubt in anyone’s mind which was the right path,” though. “Those on the iPod based UI knew it was doomed. [Jobs] pushed us, ‘make it work!'”