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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   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, Ethernet, iPhone, USB, harmonic series, ARM architecture, original iPhone, iPhone prototype, prototypes  
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6281 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Mar 2013 at 12:17 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-03-11 01:01:38 PM  
2 votes:
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 12:39:32 PM  
2 votes:

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 04:41:27 PM  
1 vote:
Apple A4 devkit looked like every other ARM mobile focused devkit. NEWS AT 11.
2013-03-11 02:41:52 PM  
1 vote:

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 02:22:56 PM  
1 vote:
Steampunk coffee table just sounds awesome.
2013-03-11 01:04:50 PM  
1 vote:
static8.businessinsider.comView Full Size
2013-03-11 01:03:52 PM  
1 vote:
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 12:46:45 PM  
1 vote:
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 12:42:56 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:39:59 PM  
1 vote:
You know what's even worse than a prototype?

A dev box :D

i48.tinypic.comView Full Size

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

// xbox dev box is so huuuuuuuuuuge
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