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The iPad that never was: kickstands, curves, and 'highly confidential' Apple prototypes revealed

The iPad that never was: kickstands, curves, and 'highly confidential' Apple prototypes revealed


Court filings have revealed multiple iPhone and iPad design prototypes, including a 16:9 iPad concept and several models featuring kickstands.

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Gallery Photo: Apple iPad prototype photos
Gallery Photo: Apple iPad prototype photos

We already got a look at some early iPhone designs inspired by Sony and the iPod, but court documents have revealed an assortment of different looks that were considered for Apple's various iOS products — including several iPad designs featuring kickstands. Multiple versions of both the iPhone and the iPad are featured, and while we've seen some of these before — the iPad prototype with dual dock connectors was sold on eBay back in May — many of the designs are being revealed for the first time. Of particular note are multiple iterations of the iPad featuring different types of kickstands, what appears to be a 16:9 model with wide handles on either side, and an eight-sided iPhone with diagonal corners. Many of the iPad prototypes also feature "iPod" on the back, perhaps giving insight into Apple's early naming considerations.

Apple iPad prototype photos


Also of interest is a slim, sleek iPhone prototype labeled the N90. The N90 was believed to be the codename for the iPhone 4, and while this narrow device definitely bears some aesthetic similarities to Apple's glass-and-metal design, this variant appears to feature a much smaller screen.


Of course, it's no surprise that companies — particularly ones as design-focused as Apple — produce multiple concepts before landing on the products they eventually ship to consumers, and spend many years doing so (the iPad CAD renderings featured here date back to 2004, which lines up nicely with Apple's first design patent filings on the device). For those who have become quite familiar with the look of iOS devices, however, the images reveal the very different concepts that were in play in the early days of the iPhone and iPad — and give a glimpse of what could have been.

Matt Macari and Chris Welch contributed to this report.

Apple iPhone prototype photos