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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:16 PM   #1
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Original iPhone Engineer Greg Christie Gives Details on Development Process




A few new insider details on the development of the original iPhone have come to light thanks to Apple senior software engineer Greg Christie, who gave an interview with The Wall Street Journal with permission from Apple, ahead of a new patent infringement trial against Samsung that is set to begin soon.

According to Christie, who joined the secret "purple" iPhone project after an invitation from Scott Forstall, his team was responsible for many key iPhone elements, such as sliding to unlock, placing calls from the address book, and more. He and his team spent countless hours perfecting details like the speed of scrolling, and the feel of bouncing back at the end of a list.
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He said his team "banged their head against the wall" over how to change text messages from a chronological list of individual messages to a series of separate ongoing conversations similar to instant messaging on a computer.

He also said the team was "shockingly small." Apple declined to specify the number of members.
Christie gave two progress reports to Jobs each month, in a small, windowless meeting room at the company's Cupertino headquarters. Few people had access to the room and even cleaning people were not allowed to enter. The secrecy surrounding the original iPhone's design was incredible, with Jobs even requiring employees to encrypt images of the device.

Jobs was initially unhappy with Christie's progress on the device, and gave his team two weeks to improve.
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"Steve had pretty much had it," said Mr. Christie, who still heads Apple's user-interface team. "He wanted bigger ideas and bigger concepts."
Christie's team was able to impress Jobs within the deadline, later giving presentations to Apple's design chief Jony Ive and Apple director Bill Cambell, who said the iPhone "would be better than the original Mac." All three approved the 2005 design, kicking off a "2 and a half year marathon" where the iPhone was designed from the ground up with Jobs clearing every minor detail, as has been noted in several previous reports of the iPhone's development.

Christie's details on the creation of the original iPhone come just ahead of a second major patent infringement lawsuit with Samsung, set to begin later in March. Apple initially accused Samsung of grossly infringing on both its patents and its designs in 2011, a lawsuit that resulted in a $890 million penalty for the South Korean company in the United States.

While the first lawsuit covered older devices, the second U.S. patent lawsuit between the two companies covers more recent products like the Galaxy Note II, the Galaxy S III, the iPhone 5, and the iPad 4.

The full interview on The Wall Street Journal, which is well worth reading, also includes additional tidbits on the secrecy behind the development of the iPhone, major last minute changes, and details on the original iPhone's unveiling.

Article Link: Original iPhone Engineer Greg Christie Gives Details on Development Process
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:18 PM   #2
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well, we already knew steve as very obsessive with details. I'd like to know the number of employes tho
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by xFerrr View Post
well, we already knew steve as very obsessive with details. I'd like to know the number of employes tho
I am curious what the quantity of development team members has to do with the overall product released?

Regardless, continued insight on the processes that lead to the iPhone being released are great. Reminds me quite a bit of the Folklore.org project relaying history of Macintosh development.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:23 PM   #4
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I am tired of hearing "designed from the ground up"

--edit--
to answer the below question and people who agree with it, ever since apple used it, all new products by other companies, either hardware or software related, has been used restlessly ever since, as if all copywriters have vanished from the face of the earth.

Last edited by needfx; Mar 26, 2014 at 07:43 AM.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by needfx View Post
I am tired of hearing "designed from the ground up"
why?
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:25 PM   #6
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It's funny how many of the technologies from the original iPhone we often take for granted in our current smartphones. I even recall users of Blackberries and other various smartphones poking fun at iPhone users and their "pinchers" because of the touch capabilities and pinch to zoom. Oh how the iPhone changed it all. What a great read!
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:30 PM   #7
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How Apple miss Steve and his eye for detail and perfectionism.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:40 PM   #8
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Ugh. Ran into a paywall.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:43 PM   #9
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"He said his team "banged their head against the wall" over how to change text messages from a chronological list of individual messages to a series of separate ongoing conversations similar to instant messaging on a computer."
"Making the solution seem so completely inevitable and obvious, so uncontrived and natural - it's so hard!"
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 09:48 PM   #10
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That attention to small details and perfectionism died with iOS 7 and Jony Ive's train-wreck software "design"
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:02 PM   #11
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"and the feel of bouncing back at the end of a list"

That's called "rubber banding", Mr editor.

I thought this was an Apple-centric site...

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMatt87 View Post
That attention to small details and perfectionism died with iOS 7 and Jony Ive's train-wreck software "design"

... which is functionally 98% identical, apart from the UI element theme and typeface.

----------

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Originally Posted by needfx View Post
I am tired of hearing "designed from the ground up"
"Designed from the ground up"

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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:05 PM   #12
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That attention to small details and perfectionism died with iOS 7 and Jony Ive's train-wreck software "design"
Couldn't agree more
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:07 PM   #13
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Couldn't agree more
Try!

[EDIT]

If you're unable to agree more, try agreeing LESS

Last edited by penplotter; Mar 25, 2014 at 10:35 PM.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ChrisTX View Post
It's funny how many of the technologies from the original iPhone we often take for granted in our current smartphones. I even recall users of Blackberries and other various smartphones poking fun at iPhone users and their "pinchers" because of the touch capabilities and pinch to zoom. Oh how the iPhone changed it all. What a great read!
I don't remember that. I recall everyone wishing their blackberry could do that.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:24 PM   #15
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"He said his team "banged their head against the wall" over how to change text messages from a chronological list of individual messages to a series of separate ongoing conversations similar to instant messaging on a computer."

I don't get it, my Treo 650 (which came out in 2004!!) was able to do this. I think prior Treos also did text messaging in individual conversation views as well. This was nothing new when the iPhone came out in 2007; why did Apple have such a hard time figuring it out?
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:25 PM   #16
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That is why I'm holding on to iOS6 and Snow Leopard for as long as I can…
Just like my Mac 128. When Scully produced those awful ProFormas I had to switch to Windows.
Scully without Jobs reminds me of Ives and Cook of today.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:30 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post
"He said his team "banged their head against the wall" over how to change text messages from a chronological list of individual messages to a series of separate ongoing conversations similar to instant messaging on a computer."

I don't get it, my Treo 650 (which came out in 2004!!) was able to do this. I think prior Treos also did text messaging in individual conversation views as well. This was nothing new when the iPhone came out in 2007; why did Apple have such a hard time figuring it out?
They wanted to do it RIGHT, not just do it as an afterthought.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by 840quadra View Post
I am curious what the quantity of development team members has to do with the overall product released?

...
The fewer people working on a software project the better, for efficiency of communication and coherence of ideas. But that's a tradeoff against how much work any one person can do, even with Steve Jobs getting on their case.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post
"He said his team "banged their head against the wall" over how to change text messages from a chronological list of individual messages to a series of separate ongoing conversations similar to instant messaging on a computer."

I don't get it, my Treo 650 (which came out in 2004!!) was able to do this. I think prior Treos also did text messaging in individual conversation views as well. This was nothing new when the iPhone came out in 2007; why did Apple have such a hard time figuring it out?
Tell me about it. Crappy Windows Mobile could do it too, but don't let the youngling hear that those features were pretty standard on every smartphone.

I love how the iPhone changed the aesthetic, and gave users a REAL device that was easy to use, but the iPhone took all of 6 years to gain features that a Treo 600w and Palm TX had by default.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:42 PM   #20
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Tell me about it. Crappy Windows Mobile could do it too, but don't let the youngling hear that those features were pretty standard on every smartphone.

I love how the iPhone changed the aesthetic, and gave users a REAL device that was easy to use, but the iPhone took all of 6 years to gain features that a Treo 600w and Palm TX had by default.

Exactly. As a case in point (forget that it compares iOS to Android; it's true, but the point of my linking to this is how iOS threads prioritise UI rendering):

http://www.imore.com/android-ui-smooth-ios
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:53 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by penplotter View Post
"and the feel of bouncing back at the end of a list"

That's called "rubber banding", Mr editor.
By saying the feel of bouncing back at the end of the list they were helping the reader see it in their head. Rubber banding tells you what it is but doesn't really show you.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:54 PM   #22
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They wanted to do it RIGHT, not just do it as an afterthought.
I'm not certain how the Treo did it wrong.

In fact, the Treo's SMS view was pretty much identical to the iPhones. You could see your list of conversations, sorted by most recent activity, and when you open one you would see your conversation threaded. Just like the iPhone does it.

Sure, the iPhone's implementation was prettier, but I don't understand why they had to bang their heads so hard to come up with this.

(Note that I have an iPhone and enjoy it; I'm not one of those annoying Android trolls. Just curious here.)
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:54 PM   #23
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It's hard to imagine another company putting this much effort into any product they create.

Apple is SO detail oriented.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:55 PM   #24
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Damn paywall.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:57 PM   #25
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It's hard to imagine another company putting this much effort into any product they create.

Apple is SO detail oriented.
You'd be surprise how little Apple puts into a lot.

Also, you'd be surprised how a corporate model plays with all of this.

Lastly, you'd be surprised that a good deal of other companies put just as much time into their products; good, quality products is not uniquely Apple. That's been around for a very VERY long time.
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