Blog Post

Book Reveals Rare Apple Prototype Designs

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Jonathan Ive wasn’t always the Grand Overlord designer and demi-God at Apple (s aapl). Before Ive re-imagined the Macintosh, other talented souls attempted to shape the next generation of Apple products with the clean industrial design for which the company is famous.

In the 1980s, Frog Design was charged with producing design prototypes for Apple — specifically the Apple IIc and some early models of the Macintosh. 9to5Mac reports that the founder of Frog Design, Harmut Esslinger, has published a book which features many of those early designs.


“A Fine Line: How Design Strategies are Shaping the Future of Business” is all about the role “smart” product design plays in the success of a business. As well as gorgeous pictures, the book includes background stories from Esslinger detailing the design and prototype process.

“We worked closely with Steve Jobs and Apple’s developers to innovate computer usability and appearance, resulting in iconic products with no historic precedent.”

My personal favorite is that funky laptop. Can you see elements in these prototypes that have influenced the Apple products we use today? Share your thoughts in the comments, and tell me if you agree those earbuds are just short of being classified as a torture device!

7 Responses to “Book Reveals Rare Apple Prototype Designs”

  1. The keyboards look much more like the ADB keyboard; the black mouse is a dead ringer for the ADB mouse, but with the cable in a different position. All the monitors look like the IIc monitor.

    And I think those are RCA cables, not earbuds.

  2. Old Apple stuff is always interesting but this isn’t news – I bought the book, “Apple Design, The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group” about a decade ago and it had these and many more early prototypes pictures.