The never-before-seen photos of a development board for the original iPhone have been obtained by The Verge. The engineering validation test (EVT) sample of the iPhone from 2006/2007, which is the original engineering iPhone prototype has been now accessed.
The Components of the phone are laid out on a PC-style motherboard in this development device for easy replacement if components need to be substituted. Additional connectors for plugging in test equipment are also present. The first look of this prototype seems like an old motherboard from a late 90s PC than the guts of a mobile phone. But with the closer look, you can say that the prototype board has all the hardware that would finally make its way into the iPhone.
A SIM card slot, a camera, power and volume buttons, a 30-pin connector and of course, a display all are present and visible in this prototype motherboard. MacOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and audios are powered by Unix-based operating system named Darwin, that contains a core set of components. RJ11 port, the same registered jack that was used by regular landline phones is also present. This was used to test voice calls by the engineers so that they could plug a regular landline phone headset into this iPhone development board.
Apple referred to the ‘Core OS engineers’ to the developers who worked with Darwin. Their responsibility is to check the kernel, file systems, device drivers, processor architectures, and a host of other important low-level platform work. Hardware and connectivity worked flawlessly because of the amazing work by the engineers.
The verge says:
If an engineer inside Apple received a development board like this without a screen, component video and RCA connectors on the side of the board could be used to connect it to a display. Engineers could also test headphone connectivity, thanks to stereo line out ports on the side. Even the iPhone’s main camera is mounted on the board for testing, and there’s a giant space left to test the battery. If engineers didn’t have a battery connected, a DC connector at the top can be used for external power. Apple also left room for what is marked as “prox flex” for proximity sensor testing.
This EVT sample includes the screen, revealing what the iPhone would look like. According to the verge, some engineers would be given screen-less versions, they elaborated:
Apple was focused on surprising everyone with the iPhone, and that meant that many of the engineers working on the original handset didn’t even know what it would eventually look like.
To achieve that level of secrecy, Apple created special prototype development boards that contained nearly all of the iPhone’s parts, spread out across a large circuit board. The Verge has obtained exclusive access to the original iPhone M68 prototype board from 2006 / 2007, thanks to Red M Sixty, a source that asked to remain anonymous. It’s the first time this board has been pictured publicly, and it provides a rare historical look at an important part of computing history, showing how Apple developed the original iPhone.
Apple’s application processor. the heart of Apple iPhone is at the center of this prototype board. To run the iPhone operating system, Samsung memory stacked with a 620MHz ARM processor (ARM1176JZF) was used by the Apple. The CPU is packaged on the bottom and memory on top, it’s an integrated circuit packaging method known as the package on package (PoP).
This board has all the chips from Intel, Infineon, CSR, Marvell, and Skyworks. It just showed how many companies Apple had to partner with to shape the original iPhone for us. Apple uses the red circuit board color to denote a prototype rather than a finished version. This early board is an amazing look back at Apple’s secrecy reminding us of Steve Jobs’ famous introduction of the iPhone.