In a tweet promoting his new book, “Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making,” iPod inventor Tony Fadell has shared six mockups of the original iPod nano, which arrived in September 2005 as a replacement for the low-priced iPod mini.
According to Fadell, his team “explored every possibility” when creating the iPod nano, including designs with a bigger click wheel, and others with no click wheel at all. Much like the iPhone X, one of the proposed ideas was a full-screen device, presumably with on-screen navigation. In 2005, it would have been way ahead of its time and likely cost much more than $199.
When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPod nano, he famously pulled it out of the smaller inside pocket of his jeans to the delight of the crowd. The iPod nano quickly became one of Apple’s most popular iPods due to its slim chassis and extremely small design. It went through seven design changes until it was discontinued in 2017.
Fadell, who left Apple in 2008 to launch Nest, a smart home device startup that was eventually sold to Google, says the designs weren’t even prototypes, but rather “just 3D printed dummies, something to hold in your hand.” But he says the models were “what made the project real.” Several of the designs are similar to the first-generation model and one even matches the seventh-generation model that didn’t arrive until 2012.
But it took a little longer, and a lot more money, to get the all-screen model. Apple’s first all-screen device was the iPhone X in 2017, costing $999.