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New video shows Apple designers’ competing early iOS designs

The original iPhone was a groundbreaking device when it first launched, and is largely credited with being the first smartphone to really make it into consumer consciousness. Did you know, however, that the original iOS software running on the iPhone could have looked a whole lot different than it does now?

A video has been posted online showing two original iPhone concepts that were created by Apple during development of the phone. The first, called the P1, was created by Tony Fadell and uses the iconic touch-wheel as an on-screen input method, while the second, called the P2, was created Scott Forstall. Both concepts use identical hardware.

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During the development process, both phones ran an operating system called Acorn OS, and Apple ended up testing dozens of different variations of what would ultimately become iOS. The P1 and P2 teams were, according to a 9to5Mac article, very competitive during development — they needed to impress the great Steve Jobs.

In the end, the P2 concept — which used a touchscreen and simply allowed users to tap on icons — won the race, although it ended up looking totally different than it does in the video. According to the video, the P2 concept was the first true touch and app-based phone interface.

Looking back, we’re glad that the iPhone ended up taking a pretty different route than the P1, but at the time those designs made sense. The iPod was a huge hit, and since it used the touch-wheel many people were comfortable with it. Implementing that into a phone would help users more easily control the device.

The iPhone is now 10 years old, so it’s interesting to see the kind of development that was going into a device over a decade ago.