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(Ars Technica)   iPhone prototype had features that went sadly missing from the final product, like USB, Ethernet, and serial ports. 'Course, it was 5 x 7 inches in size, almost 2 inches thick, and looked like a steampunk coffee table, but still   (arstechnica.com) divider line 42
    More: Interesting, Ethernet, iPhone, USB, harmonic series, ARM architecture, original iPhone, iPhone prototype, prototypes  
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6270 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Mar 2013 at 12:17 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-11 12:26:37 PM  
prototypes tend to be larger than their final versions

you build something, get it working, then ask "ok, how the hell do we shrink this down"
 
2013-03-11 12:32:25 PM  

lordargent: prototypes tend to be larger than their final versions

you build something, get it working, then ask "ok, how the hell do we shrink this down"


Yup, Ric Romero reporting on this fascinating story
 
2013-03-11 12:37:21 PM  
Serial ports? Really? I guess that's handy if you want to connect to your dot matrix printer.
 
2013-03-11 12:39:32 PM  

bingethinker: Serial ports? Really? I guess that's handy if you want to connect to your dot matrix printer.


Or debug terminal.
 
2013-03-11 12:39:51 PM  

bingethinker: Serial ports? Really? I guess that's handy if you want to connect to your dot matrix printer.


I'm equally befuddled.
 
2013-03-11 12:39:59 PM  
You know what's even worse than a prototype?

A dev box :D

i48.tinypic.com

// because someone has to write software for the shiat before the final hardware is available.

// xbox dev box is so huuuuuuuuuuge
 
2013-03-11 12:41:25 PM  
Prototypes tend to be on off-the-shelf hardware when possible. That looks like a motherboard; I doubt anyone thinks any of that was ever intended to be in the final version.
 
2013-03-11 12:42:56 PM  

bingethinker: Serial ports? Really? I guess that's handy if you want to connect to your dot matrix printer.


Serial ports were THE standard interface for almost every piece of computer-controlled industrial equipment up until a few years ago. Hell, it still *is* the standard interface for most of that stuff. The good-ol' serial port is absolutely reliable, easy to program, and cheap.

I'm guessing that they were using it as a simple way to "test" the iPhone prototype hardware. It's about a billion times easier to get data in/out of a serial port than it is to get data in/out of a USB port. USB requires a whole software stack to do anything useful - serial ports "just work". Comparatively.
 
2013-03-11 12:46:45 PM  
Non-engineers don't understand engineering. This is not news. If you're talking about a desktop PC, you can throw every port at it. If the device is small and has a bunch of table-stakes features it has to support, you lose some features that seem like "common sense", and have to redesign connectors to squeeze more functionality out of them than the standard supports. Some connectors (like rj-11/45) just won't fit on a phone. Other ones (micro USB) will fit, but don't work well enough, don't transmit as much data or power, weaken the case or wear out too soon. The USB or SD standard could be inefficient in power usage, or demand additional complexity and security requirements that the connector doesn't support in hardware just to keep the port from being a malware vector. An SD card slot takes up room in the case that could be used for battery or cooling.

If you want your phone to look like a slice of sourdough bread and weigh a pound, with a huge brick to charge it, and have it wear out after 16 months, then you don't have any design constraints. If you want an iPhone 5, you have to make sacrifices.

Look at the Macbook Pros: retina display v non-retina display. Note the configurations available in the retina models. Using a retina display informed the rest of the design: SSD only, more powerful config available only in the 15" model, no ethernet port on the retina models, all made possible/necessary by the retina display and the thinner case.
 
2013-03-11 12:49:04 PM  

lordargent: You know what's even worse than a prototype?

A dev box :D

[i48.tinypic.com image 414x371]

// because someone has to write software for the shiat before the final hardware is available.

// xbox dev box is so huuuuuuuuuuge


Oh vertical PS2, how you loved to scratch discs like mad.
 
2013-03-11 12:58:30 PM  

mccallcl: Non-engineers don't understand engineering. This is not news. If you're talking about a desktop PC, you can throw every port at it. If the device is small and has a bunch of table-stakes features it has to support, you lose some features that seem like "common sense", and have to redesign connectors to squeeze more functionality out of them than the standard supports. Some connectors (like rj-11/45) just won't fit on a phone. Other ones (micro USB) will fit, but don't work well enough, don't transmit as much data or power, weaken the case or wear out too soon. The USB or SD standard could be inefficient in power usage, or demand additional complexity and security requirements that the connector doesn't support in hardware just to keep the port from being a malware vector. An SD card slot takes up room in the case that could be used for battery or cooling.

If you want your phone to look like a slice of sourdough bread and weigh a pound, with a huge brick to charge it, and have it wear out after 16 months, then you don't have any design constraints. If you want an iPhone 5, you have to make sacrifices.

Look at the Macbook Pros: retina display v non-retina display. Note the configurations available in the retina models. Using a retina display informed the rest of the design: SSD only, more powerful config available only in the 15" model, no ethernet port on the retina models, all made possible/necessary by the retina display and the thinner case.


hey dawg, i heard you like phones so we put an rj-11 on your phone so you could hook a phone up to your phone and phone while you phone.

also, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. plenty of phones have rj-11 jacks on them. i think i have a few in my basement.
 
2013-03-11 01:01:38 PM  
Those ports were probably never meant for a final product, what you are seeing is pretty typical of a "development board", or "eval board", an engineering sample that allows for rapid prototyping of a design for testing and evaluation purposes.
 
2013-03-11 01:03:52 PM  
As prototypes go, that iPhone is lacking in EC soldered wires, external switches, half populated boards connected together, and dangly wire connected I/O ports.

/I'd guess it is at least revision five
 
2013-03-11 01:04:50 PM  
static8.businessinsider.com
 
2013-03-11 01:42:00 PM  
Looks a lot better than the crazy "prototypes" I've put together.
 
2013-03-11 01:51:33 PM  

MrEricSir: Looks a lot better than the crazy "prototypes" I've put together.


LOL

//I don't know why but your comment made me laugh.  Thanks
 
2013-03-11 02:00:35 PM  

lordargent: prototypes tend to be larger than their final versions

you build something, get it working, then ask "ok, how the hell do we shrink this down"


Actually according to the reports out there and Steve Job's own words he was working on an iPad at first and then drifted to an iPhone.
 
2013-03-11 02:22:56 PM  
Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.
 
2013-03-11 02:41:52 PM  

TheGhostofFarkPast: Actually according to the reports out there and Steve Job's own words he was working on an iPad at first and then drifted to an iPhone.


This is specifically an iPhone prototype.  Not an Apple tablet prototype.  So I'm not sure what your point is.
 
2013-03-11 02:43:28 PM  

DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.


A steampunk coffee table is just a coffee table because it has no moving parts.
 
2013-03-11 02:50:26 PM  

bmckenna: hey dawg, i heard you like phones so we put an rj-11 on your phone so you could hook a phone up to your phone and phone while you phone.


Rj11 could be a serial port, doesn't have to be a phone jack. It's just a square connector with a clip on it.
 
2013-03-11 02:55:06 PM  

gingerjet: TheGhostofFarkPast: Actually according to the reports out there and Steve Job's own words he was working on an iPad at first and then drifted to an iPhone.

This is specifically an iPhone prototype.  Not an Apple tablet prototype.  So I'm not sure what your point is.


Not to mention that the article discusses this point to avoid confusion....
 
2013-03-11 03:03:44 PM  

LindenFark: DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.

A steampunk coffee table is just a coffee table because it has no moving parts.


I said it sounds awesome.  Try saying it out loud.  It rolls off the tongue very smoothly.
 
2013-03-11 03:10:26 PM  

DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.


It would be a great name for a progressive rock album. I can almost picture the cover art.
 
2013-03-11 03:16:41 PM  
Apple fanbois would have bought it anyway. It has an Apple logo = immediate lust.
 
2013-03-11 03:20:35 PM  
That's groovy as hell. I'd love to make some kind of gizmo like that using a Raspberry Pi or something.
 
2013-03-11 03:43:48 PM  

illegal.tender: Apple fanbois would have bought it anyway. It has an Apple logo = immediate lust.


... someone always has to do this in an Apple thread, doesn't someone...
 
2013-03-11 03:57:49 PM  

thrasherrr: As prototypes go, that iPhone is lacking in EC soldered wires, external switches, half populated boards connected together, and dangly wire connected I/O ports.

/I'd guess it is at least revision five


last job i worked at 'dev prototypes' were basically a collection of OTS components and a couple of in-house boards done up at a fab-shop off-site. very clean. very neat. easy to modify properly as we broke everything down to modular boards(wifi, interface, display, etc).

didn't get to work on the iphones tho, they went with a different driver chip for their touch sensors.
 
2013-03-11 04:09:41 PM  

bingethinker: Serial ports? Really? I guess that's handy if you want to connect to your dot matrix printer.


Did you really feel the need to get up on your desk and shout that you know nothing about electronics and engineering?
 
2013-03-11 04:12:33 PM  

TheGhostofFarkPast: lordargent: prototypes tend to be larger than their final versions

you build something, get it working, then ask "ok, how the hell do we shrink this down"

Actually according to the reports out there and Steve Job's own words he was working on an iPad at first and then drifted to an iPhone.


Steve Jobs never worked on anything. He had no engineering knowledge or training.
 
2013-03-11 04:18:43 PM  

Bullseyed: TheGhostofFarkPast: lordargent: prototypes tend to be larger than their final versions

you build something, get it working, then ask "ok, how the hell do we shrink this down"

Actually according to the reports out there and Steve Job's own words he was working on an iPad at first and then drifted to an iPhone.

Steve Jobs never worked on anything. He had no engineering knowledge or training.


no, but he probably liked to get touchy-feely with the products and give feedback to the design team and engineers. he always seemed like that kind of guy.
 
2013-03-11 04:41:27 PM  
Apple A4 devkit looked like every other ARM mobile focused devkit. NEWS AT 11.
 
2013-03-11 04:44:23 PM  

LindenFark: DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.

A steampunk coffee table is just a coffee table because it has no moving parts.


That can be fixed with a liberal application of gears. Link
 
2013-03-11 05:19:37 PM  

ProfessorOhki: LindenFark: DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.

A steampunk coffee table is just a coffee table because it has no moving parts.

That can be fixed with a liberal application of gears. Link


Just gluing on gears does not Steampunk make...
 
2013-03-11 07:10:32 PM  

DSF6969: LindenFark: DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.

A steampunk coffee table is just a coffee table because it has no moving parts.

I said it sounds awesome.  Try saying it out loud.  It rolls off the tongue very smoothly.


It's like "hot tub time machine"

A beautiful phrase
 
2013-03-11 07:28:39 PM  

tgambitg: ProfessorOhki: LindenFark: DSF6969: Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.

A steampunk coffee table is just a coffee table because it has no moving parts.

That can be fixed with a liberal application of gears. Link

Just gluing on gears does not Steampunk make...


Of course not. Gears should be functional. Otherwise it's just clock...not-work.
 
2013-03-11 10:42:50 PM  
oldcomputers.net

This with a phone incorporated.
 
2013-03-11 11:41:48 PM  

lordargent: You know what's even worse than a prototype?

A dev box :D

[i48.tinypic.com image 414x371]

// because someone has to write software for the shiat before the final hardware is available.

// xbox dev box is so huuuuuuuuuuge


I would love to have a Dreamcast Dev kit
 
2013-03-12 12:03:43 AM  
Farkers don't understand non-farking.

I don't think anybody's pointing fingers and laughing at stupid Apple for making such a huge stupid iPhone. I think everyone understands there's a prototyping phase first before the assembly lines wind up to crank out gadgets for the end user. It's just neat to see that COTS iPhone, and think about the development and prototyping process.

Cool pix, IMO.
 
2013-03-12 12:25:42 AM  
Dear God, what a non-story.

That "iPhone Prototype" is a standard ARM development system with a display.  They ALL have those ports on them since they can 1) host USB, 2) client USB and use Ethernet for communication/debugging since most of them come with a Linux image in NAND/NOR flash memory.
 
2013-03-12 01:07:08 AM  

CigaretteSmokingMan: [oldcomputers.net image 232x318]

This with a phone incorporated.


Heh, well I have to check the facts on that one! Seriously though, it's amazing how things change in 20 years:

CPU: First-gen Newton had a 20 mhz ARM processor. The iPhone 5 has a dual-core 1 ghz ARM processor.
Battery: Hard to estimate, but from googling around it seems the Newton's battery life was about the same as a modern smartphone.
Memory and storage: The first Newton only had 640 KB RAM and -- get this -- no flash memory! Yikes, you'd better not let your battery die. The Newton OS itself was stored in ROM. The iPhone 5 has 1 GB RAM and a minimum 16 GB of flash.
 
2013-03-12 01:24:01 AM  

MrEricSir: CigaretteSmokingMan: [oldcomputers.net image 232x318]

This with a phone incorporated.

Heh, well I have to check the facts on that one! Seriously though, it's amazing how things change in 20 years:

CPU: First-gen Newton had a 20 mhz ARM processor. The iPhone 5 has a dual-core 1 ghz ARM processor.
Battery: Hard to estimate, but from googling around it seems the Newton's battery life was about the same as a modern smartphone.
Memory and storage: The first Newton only had 640 KB RAM and -- get this -- no flash memory! Yikes, you'd better not let your battery die. The Newton OS itself was stored in ROM. The iPhone 5 has 1 GB RAM and a minimum 16 GB of flash.


But the message pad came with a stylus, so it still wins.
 
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