This Is AcornOS, the Alternative to iOS That Apple Was Working on for the Original iPhone


Acorn OS

It is no secret that Apple went through multiple prototypes, iterations, and concepts before finalising on iOS for the iPhone. Now, Sonny Dickson — known for his reliable iPhone leaks — has given us the first look at one such OS and a prototype iPhone unit that Apple was reportedly considering.

The prototype iPhone unit ran an OS dubbed Acorn OS, which instead of a touch-driven interface, displayed an on-screen wheel at the bottom of the screen that could be used to navigate around the UI and scroll between items. The UI was very similar to what one would find on the iPod that came with a click wheel. Interestingly, while Acorn OS had all the usual apps like Phone, Contacts, and Messages, it lacked a browser app, which was among the key selling points for the original iPhone.

It is clear from the UI of Acorn OS that some of its tidbits did make its way into the iOS version that Apple released with the original iPhone. There were a few iPhone units inside Apple running Acorn OS, but they were all likely destroyed by Apple over time.

Ultimately, Apple went with a full touch UI for the iPhone which was the right decision since the scrolling wheel at the bottom of the Acorn OS wasted a lot of screen real estate. However, it is possible that the scroll wheel we see above was just an emulation that Apple was running, with the actual iPhone prototype actually featuring a physical scroll wheel similar to the iPod.

[Via Sonny Dickson]

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