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What might’ve been: Early iPad, iPhone designs revealed in court documents

Apple likes secrecy, we all know that. It likes to keep the lid on upcoming products in the hope of creating a buzz and building expectation, culminating in a selling frenzy when the device is finally launched. It’s fair to say the approach usually works.

An upcoming patent-related jury trial involving Apple and Samsung has, however, forced the Cupertino-based tech giant to reveal perhaps a little more than it would have liked, even if it does relate to past designs and not future products.

Trawling through the trial-related documents, The Verge uncovered some images that are bound to fascinate Apple watchers, as they show what the iPad and iPhone could have ended up looking like.

For example, a few of the images show iPad prototypes with various kickstand options, a feature excluded from the final design though evidently one the company was seriously considering. Whereas Apple decided to leave such matters to third-party accessory manufacturers, Microsoft, for example, has seen fit to build a kickstand into its recently-unveiled Surface tablet.

There’s also an image of an iPhone prototype named the n90 (below), which The Verge reports was the codename for the iPhone 4. It’s a rather stretched-looking device and may surprise a few observers. When you look at it, it’s not hard to see why they dumped it, with its odd-looking shape and seemingly tiny screen (let’s hope the iPhone 5 doesn’t turn out like this, eh?).

Jony Ive and his crew were also considering a two-tone back (below) with early designs of Apple’s smartphone, a look which is rumored to be part of the iPhone 5’s design.

And finally, check out this hexagonal iPhone model. Cool or uncool?