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This iPhone prototype looks like a Lumia 800, but without the polycarbonate body

Thanks to the Apple vs. Samsung legal battle, we’re getting some behind-the-scene information about Apple’s design process. This week, some photos from iPhone and iPad prototype which have never seen the light of day have surfaced as they were included in court proceedings.

Of course, just the sheer sensationalism of these images are worth discussing, but it stroke me that most of those devices are actually not all that great. For example, the surprisingly long iPhone may extend the display diagonal, but its proportions are strange and seem impractical.

iphone octogon 640x445And then there’s the octogonal iPhone, which doesn’t look as nice as even the iPhone 3GS, although one could argue that Motorola went on to design something like this with the Motorola Photon 4G. In fact, I think that the photon 4G does look better because it lacks the metallic border which this iPhone prototype has too much of.

But there’s also that iPhone which looks like a Nokia Lumia 800 (first image of this post), but without the cool curved glass and polycarbonate body. You may have guessed that the large black bands are portions that are not made of metal because the antennas hate aluminum. The last oddity is that iPad which as a hole it in to accommodate a kickstand. Yes, this is really a prototype from Apple’s design team, and not some fan artwork.

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Of course, we haven’t seen all of them, but from this sampling, it is fair to say that the prototypes which became what we know today as the iPhone (especially the iPhone 4) and the iPad were clearly the best. They are head and shoulders beyond the prototypes mentioned here. While Apple stands strong in terms of industrial design, this is also a fresh reminder that great designs are hard to come by -even for Apple- and that their ability to produce such designs should not be taken for granted. What do you think?

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