“A decade ago, for the most part, phones were phones,” Adrienne LaFrance writes for The Atlantic. “Computers were computers. Cameras were cameras. Portable music players were portable music players. The idea that the future of the computer would be a phone, or vice versa, wasn’t merely absurd. It just wasn’t how people thought about consumer technology. At all.”

“So when the first iPhone was unveiled in 2007, plenty of people assumed it wouldn’t change the world,” LaFrance writes. “To those who had been watching Apple since the 1980s, however, shrinking computers and videophones seemed to be always just tantalizingly out of reach, emblems of a future that would, fingers crossed, eventually arrive.”

“But when? By 1995, even though Apple’s laptops had dipped to a svelte six pounds, and the transformative power of the internet was becoming apparent, the next great iteration of the web was barely imaginable. Today’s mobile web, the one that would be ushered in by smartphones, was still out of reach,” LaFrance writes. “But there were hints of what was to come… Apple has always been fond of dreaming up hardware and software from a not-too-distant future, and there are glimmers of the iPhone in Apple’s history since long before the rumors about the device were taken seriously in the early 2000s. More than a decade before the smartphone was unveiled, Apple shared with the computing magazine Macworld a semi-outlandish design for a videophone-PDA that could exchange data.”

Read more and see the photos in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We love the Newton-esque device with the CD drawer!

Is Apple building ‘The Device?’ – December 10, 2002