It would appear that the interest of Apple in touchscreen technology started almost three decades ago. An early phone prototype, dating back to 1983, was recently uncovered and sports an awesome looking touchscreen that is controlled by a stylus.
The phone prototype sadly never made it into production, but was reportedly designed by Harmtut Esslinger. Esslinger was the man behind the design of the Apple IIc, which was Apple’s first attempt to make a portable computer. According to Wikipedia, Esslinger, founder of Frogdesign, has a $1 million a year contract with Apple to design some of their products.
“Setting up shop in California for the first time, Esslinger and Frogdesign created the “Snow White design language” which was applied to all Apple product lines from 1984 to 1990, commencing with the Apple IIc and including the Macintosh computer,” according to the site.
The prototype gives us a very interesting look at how the iPhone came to be. The phone features a telephone with a built-in screen. A photo shows what seems to be a check-writing app, where you can pay bills using a modem.
Tech site Mashable pointed out that this is not the first time the photos were revealed. Interest in old prototypes, however, has been renewed because of a stockpile of Apple documents at the Stanford University. These were donated in 1997 when Steve Jobs returned to Apple after being forced out.