I guess the team in Cupertino has been toying with the idea for quite some time, because here is an Apple touchscreen phone concept from 1983. It’s not a cell phone, because those weren’t nearly as hot back then as they are today, but the core thinking is still there: a communication device that lets you interact with it via a touchscreen display.
Designed by Marc Esslinger over 20 years ago, this is clearly a landline-based phone, but it seems that you can navigate through some sort of internal phonebook through the giant — for the time — screen. It even has the now ancient multi-color Macintosh logo in the corner.
If you’re thinking that the design is quite good, it could be because designer Marc Esslinger is the son of Hartmut Esslinger, the man behind the original Apple IIc portable computer.