The Origins and Development of the iPhone

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Wired magazine has a particularly revealing article which details some of the history of the iPhone project within Apple and its unique affect on the wireless industry. With the introduction of the iPhone, manufacturers are racing to produce more phones that appeal directly to consumers rather than to carriers.

    Wired manages to get some previously unknown details about the origins of the iPhone project. It began back in 2002, soon after the iPod, when Jobs realized that the convergence of mobile phones and music players would force Apple to get into the mobile phone business.

    Apple originally partnered with Motorola which resulted in the ill-fated ROKR iTunes phone, which appeared to be doomed from the start:
    In February 2005, Jobs secretly met with Cingular executives, including Stan Sigman. Jobs presented a three-part message to the execs:
    Despite the promises, the iPhone project was a major challenge for Apple, requiring over $150 million in development costs. Apple also took extraordinary measures to keep the project secret, with hardware and software teams completely separated, with only 30 people having seen the full device by the time it debuted at Macworld 2007. The decision to use a modified Mac OS X wasn't immediately obvious, and Apple engineers had even seriously considered using Linux.

    Other interesting notes from the article:

    - The iPhone's codename was P2, short for Purple 2. Purple 1 was an abandoned iPod phone project.
    - Apple engineers had spent a year working on touchscreen technology for a Tablet PC. (no other details available in the article)

    Article Link
  2. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    everyone should read the full article. it's very interesting.

  3. Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    That's intense. After years of development, so few had actually seen the full product.

    Thought the blurbs about what it was like working at Apple corporate leading up to the Keynote and launch were really interesting (the anecdotes and whatnot), but part of me wishes I knew for sure whether or not those were embellished. :p
  4. macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2003
    That is all they spent on it? $150 million? Amazing. Microsoft funnels money in multiples of this paltry sum, and they still come out with crap.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2006
    Southern California
    Good article, and wow... screaming Jobs' what a surprise... :p
  6. macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Wow, lots of info and very very interesting.
    I wonder if steve was using Cingular all this time and what kind of phone he had to call everyone. maybe he had a mygo or a Pager.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    They spent a year working on Tablet PC tech?

    Oh really?

    This makes me more confident that a tablet-type Mac will be shown at MWSF.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Very cool stuff. The year working on a tablet is particularly interesting. If anyone can bring tablets mainstream, it will be apple. Very exciting stuff. The idea of a linux iphone was also pretty cool.

  9. macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    Great read. I love these insider stories of Jobs and Apple. Great stuff.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2007
    Nagoya, Japan
    def a good read, thanks for the heads up :) - really is amazing how they managed to keep it under the covers for so long :)
  11. macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    Incredible. I can't believe the amount of secrecy though. It must have been frustrating at times for the engineers, not knowing what was in the wooden boxes and such.
  12. macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    that's a long article, but it was a nice read.
  13. macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2007

    Whenever a new product is released and is successful, we as consumers say things like, "oh yeah, of course, the iPhone," as if it's invention was obvious and inevitable.

    I think it is SO fascinating to hear about the time before a product's release. Whether it's XBox, or the Wii, there are still very important gaps in the market that companies can find, if they drop the corporate strategy and look at making the consumer experience amazing.

    My only "negative" thought is that I hope that Apple wasn't calculating and manipulative in producing the ROKR, in using the experience to learn about the cellphone industry, and take it for themselves. But, I suppose those things happen every day.

    However, as the US economy navigates through a potential recession, I think we should look and learn from the courage, innovation, and timing behind such a revolutionary product.

    The harder it is to produce something, the greater the scope of it's success.

    For some reason, I just have to believe that the energy and ingenuity used to create a groundbreaking new product can be harnessed by any person or company, to go to a new place and have a creative breakthrough.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2007
    College Station, Tx
    that's pretty cool. i would've never guessed that much secrecy was going on.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2007
    3.2GHZ touchscreen tablet

    the fact that they worked for a year on tablet pc confirms that Steve will reveal 3.2GHZ touchscreen tablet at 2008 macworld.

  16. macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/3B48b Safari/419.3)

    Sounds very credible despite the lack of sources.
  17. macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2007
    Steve Jobs and Apple ROCKS!

    The whole company rocks! Thanks Steve Jobs and Thanks Apple!
  18. macrumors regular

    May 24, 2007
    The high stress, pressure cooker, development to a deadline, engineer burn-out genesis of the iPhone sounds very much like the story of the development of the original Macintosh, albeit on a much bigger scale.

    It's amazing how such groundbreaking products can come from so much stress and chaos. No wonder Steve gave them all one to say thanks.
  19. macrumors 603

    Dec 11, 2006
    ya, not really.

    and no way in hell would a tablet be 3.2GHz right now. maybe in a few years.
  20. macrumors 68040

    May 29, 2003

    Kinda supports my expressed thoughts that the iPhone is half done. I might even get one when the OS is all there.

    As to the software stack on the iPhone, you have to wonder how well everything would be working if the developers had access to hardware through out the development process. It is pretty obvious that the first few software updates from Apple where there to squish bugs.

  21. FCA
    macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2007
    wow..very interesting story...I wonder how that writer got so much
    Now I understand at least why the non-Apple applications that are installed in iPhones are recoginized by the system as "Purple Apps"...very genius...inspiring story, looking back at those times it make us look silly but it make us also believers, thanks for the link!
  22. macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2008
    Great read. I started giggling when reading about the clickwheel mockup that was made. For some reason I kept imagining an alternate reality version of the iphone that used a click wheel to create the world's most advanced rotary phone.

    And come on folks, don't go betting the rent money on a touch screen mac next week just because wired mentioned "tablet" in an apple article :)
  23. macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2007
    5 year exclusivity for AT&T?? :confused: That will keep me from buying the iPhone for a while. :(
  24. macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    very interesting read. but shows you the foresight that someone like Jobs has. amazing.
  25. macrumors regular


    Aug 20, 2002
    Olympic Peninsula, WA
    Only $150 mil for development of the iPhone? That's the bargain of the century...and just imagine what the iPhone and cell industry could look like five years from now, if you use the music industry as a guideline to gauge how much things changed five years after the iPod's intro.

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