The Original iPhone (circa 1983)

By on January 6, 2012

Photos of a prototype Apple phone device from 1983 have been circling the web the past week.  It’s fun to look at these shots of something the folks at Apple dreamed up during that era.

It’s a testament to the forward thinking designers at Apple that I’d consider buying one these today if they marketed it because it just looks so cool even almost 20 years later.

To me, the real story here, however, is that sometimes good ideas just have to wait.  It’s all a matter of timing.

This 1983 Apple phone really looks like a wall phone with an iPad attached.  In fact, if you look closely at the screen you’ll see a virtual keyboard that looks almost identical to those in use on the iPads today.

Steve Jobs and his designers were clearly on to something when they worked on this prototype but they had the wisdom to know that the timing just wasn’t right.

They had great ideas but everything wasn’t in place so they waited.  They waited for new technologies to emerge, for trends to change, and, most importantly, for the right time.

Jobs famously said that he was more proud of the products they didn’t bring to market than what they did produce.  Therein lies some of his genius.  He knew when to edit and when to produce.  That’s a lesson for us all.

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