In an interview with The Verge, former Apple executive and current Nest CEO Tony Fadell made several comments regarding the development of the iPhone. According to Fadell, Apple seriously considered building an iPhone with a hardware keyboard.
Fadell claimed that Apple actually built three types of iPhones during its development—an iPod + phone, an iPhone, and what he referred to as the “next-generation” iPhone, which ended up being the original shipping version of the device. He also said that he was skeptical of the virtual keyboard at first, but that he felt a full screen was ideal, noting that the small screen of the iPod + phone prototype was an issue.
The Verge has posted a brief summary of Fadell’s comments, which can be seen by following the link above.