Apple did try out a iPhone with an iPod click wheel

While we know that Apple truly believes in experimenting and prototyping when it comes to software interfaces, we have yet to see some experimental prototype leak out. No we are not talking about the usual prototype which resembles today’s iPhone, but something that looks weird and hard to imagine, like touchscreen MacBook Pro that Apple’s Phil Schiller mentioned in a recent interview.

The Verge today has reported what may have been the software for one of these wierd and whacky prototype devices. Pictures and a video published by Sonny Dickson, show what he claims is one of the first test versions of iOS called AcornOS.

While the emulated interface looks like an OS developed for feature phones, the interface does look similar to what many iPod users were used to in the past. What’s interesting here is that the interface uses an iPod click wheel to browse through and open menus.

A look a the video shows how the simple transitions glide across with little or no graphics to display text from menu to menu. The author of the blog points to an old 2006 Apple patent which revealed a multi-touch device with optional click wheel to interact with its software interface.

Delving deeper into the matter, The Verge revealed that Tony Fadell (responsible for iPod development) did mention that there were different types of prototypes, including an iPod Plus phone as well. In fact Apple fans will recall how Steve Jobs at the first iPhone launch in 2007 joked about an iPod iPhone with a rotary dial on stage. Well, turns out that Apple did try out one, but with a click wheel.

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