Here’s a nice little nugget that sheds more light on how Apple at one point had seriously considered giving the iPhone a physical keyboard, as we learned last week.

The Verge’s sweet little teaser for their podcast series features former Apple engineer Tony Fadell (also known as the iPod Godfather) going into detail on different iPhone prototypes Apple originally tested…

The Verge notes that Apple went through numerous iterations before eventually settling on a final prototype which forwent a physical keyboard in favor of all-touch functionality.

The original prototypes included one with an iPod click wheel, another one with a physical keyboard and a final iteration, now widely recognized as the iPhone design.

Here’s the clip:

This is just a teaser clip, the full episode will be available later today from iTunes.

Fadell, which used to serve as Apple’s senior vice president of the iPod division and now runs a startup behind the clever Nest thermostat, has never been so open about the intricacies of Apple’s product design before.

An iPhone with an iPod click wheel?


  • Literally just read this toward the end of the Steve Jobs Biography, I cant believe Apple was even thinking of making a phone with a click wheel.

    • Haha yeah, i also read it at the end if the biography, it’s crazy! But like the guy in the video said: sometimes you need to do stuff and throw them away (kinda) xp

  • Really a click wheel? Looks like I’ll be keeping my 4s for awhile…!

  • Anonymous

    “The original prototypes included one with an iPod click wheel, another one with a physical keyboard and a final iteration, now widely recognized as the iPhone design.”

    Am I missing something? From that clip I got the impression there was ‘never ever’ an iPhone prototype with a physical keyboard…

    “Actually we did three types of iPhones. There was the iPod plus phone, and then there was the I Phone, and then there was the next generation iPhone and that’s the one that actually shipped. 

    Did any of them have a keyboard? Uh, none of them had a keyboard….well a virtual keyboard. Yah, but there was never a version that had a qwerty? Never ever. Really? Was it discussed? Oh it was definitely discussed, it was a very heated topic.”

  • He clearly says there was no iPhone prototype with a hardware keyboard. He says it was only discussed.

  • Isn’t there a jailbreak theme to make your phone have that click wheel?