As rumors of the Apple Tablet seem at an all-time high, we’re eerily reminded of same situation exactly three years back.The product: iPhone.The device was all but confirmed and as the world tried to associate an image with the vision, everyone failed miserably. Let’s take a look back at the mockups that completely missed the mark!

iphonemockup2

I’m not even sure where to start here.This rendition is comprised of two equal parts; the top half housing the display and the bottom, well, it seems like a touchpad.Would this touchpad respond to swiping gestures that move a selection cursor?The UI seems very iPod-esque but how the heck are you supposed to dial phone numbers?Swipe to the number and tap to confirm and repeat?It’d certainly be something no other manufacturer had tried and thankfully stayed as such.

iphonemockup3

This mockup suggests the iPhone to be a large screen iPod at first glance with a numeric keypad hidden beneath a slider.On one hand, we have an interface that’s headed in more of the desktop OS feel with a splash of the iPod menu bar.If anything, this looks more like the failed Moto ROKR with and iPod plastered onto its face and a probable Apple logo on it’s rear.

iphonemockup5

This one is pretty interesting.We’ve got the standard iPod click wheel on the front that slides down to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard hidden underneath.Reaching keys near the ridges looks to be more than a challenge for anyone with normal sized fingers.The UI stems from the iPhone and looks to be navigated by both the clickwheel and keypad.

iphonemockup1

The candy bar form factor seemed to be the most likely option as Steve Jobs continues his unrelenting grudge against moving parts.The more there is to move the more there is to break, I suppose. But this little guy has a lot going on.We’ve got the front-facing camera for those must-have MySpace profile shots and the always necessary clickwheel that doubles as the phone’s answer/end call controls.  It’s a shiny device that’d catch your eye, but it looks nothing like a design out of Cupertino.

It’s funny looking back at what so many had in mind when the term iPhone came to be.Instead we’ve been given something completely unexpected, something nobody could have imagined.As so many of these tablet rumors gain momentum, are we headed for something similar?Will the tablet be unlike anything we’ve come to conjure up or has the tech world managed to squeeze out the right information from its insiders?Only time (or January 26th) will tell.

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