Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,059
13,669



As we near the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone later this week, a few stories posted online have delved into the rich history of where the device started, how the original team came up with the idea for the touchscreen smartphone, and what it was like reviewing the device back in 2007.

In a new video shared by The Wall Street Journal today, three former Apple executives -- Scott Forstall, Tony Fadell and Greg Christie -- have taken a look back at the first days of designing the iPhone with Steve Jobs. Apple's former senior vice president of the iPod division, Tony Fadell, recounted a time when Jobs showed him the company's first demo for what would become the iPhone's touch-based operating system.

iphone-video-1.jpg


Jobs and the rest of the team were seeking a more elegant solution to a smartphone interface than the one they began with, which was an iPod click wheel interface, when Jobs invited Fadell into a demo room.
"Steve goes, "Come over here I need to show you something." So he walked me into the room...and it was basically like a ping pong table sized demo with a projector that was projecting a Mac interface on it. And you could use your whole hand and you could touch different things on it, like it was a big big Mac.

It was literally a ping pong sized multi-touch display. And he goes, "I think this is gonna solve our problem."
Former Apple vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall, recalled a specific time in 2005 when the iPhone team was put on a deadline of two weeks to come up with a better design for the smartphone's user interface. Jobs was not satisfied at the time with early iterations of the iPhone's look, and told Forstall and the team that he'd give the project to another group at the company if they failed to deliver.


Greg Christie, former Apple vice president of human interface, said that the team's design ultimately satisfied Jobs, and led to even more work over the next two years before the iPhone's launch in 2007.
"The first time he saw it he was completely silent, he didn't say a thing. He didn't say anything, he didn't gesture, he didn't ask a question. Then he sat back and he said, "Show it to me again." And so we go through the whole thing again and Steve was pretty much blown away by the whole demonstration. It was great work.

Our reward for doing a great job on that demonstration was to, you know, kill ourselves over the next two and a half years."
In 2006, Forstall froze development across the iPhone's user interface divisions to force the team to focus on one troublesome part of the smartphone's UI: the keyboard. At the time, Forstall said it was difficult to use and that if someone tried to type out an e-mail, they'd just "give up."

Forstall explained that one of the best keyboards pitched by a developer had a few clever advantages over all the others designed by the team. Namely, it could intelligently predict words, so if a user would type "T," the keyboard would make the hit region for "H" larger -- while the actual key remained the same size -- so that common words such as "the" were easier to type.

The full ten-minute video created by The Wall Street Journal, which is called "How The iPhone Was Born: Inside Stories of Missteps and Triumphs," is well worth checking out. Other topics discussed by Forstall, Fadell, and Christie include the creation of the iPhone's visual vocabulary (like pinch to zoom and rubber banding to mark the end of a scrollable page), as well as the company's Fight Club secrecy tactics for "The Purple Project," the code name for the original iPhone's creation.

Article Link: Former Apple Executives Recall Designing Touchscreen Interface of Original iPhone
 

ThomasJL

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2008
855
1,648
The firing of Scott Forstall really reveals the cluelessness of Tim Cook. Unlike Cook, Forstall had vision. Cook is a typical suit. He's an MBA who does an excellent job at pleasing shareholders, but a major letdown for customers who care about cutting edge innovation.
 
Comment

julesme

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2016
316
1,109
San Jose
THANK YOU to the engineers who have made my life easier and more productive over the last few years. Criticisms aside (and there are many valid criticisms aired daily on this site), I remain in awe of the Apple tech that I use daily (most recently the Watch). Keep up the great work.
 
Comment

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
16,032
4,802
The firing of Scott Forstall really reveals the cluelessness of Tim Cook. Unlike Cook, Forstall had vision. Cook is a typical suit. He's an MBA who does an excellent job at pleasing shareholders, but a major letdown for customers who care about cutting edge innovation.
Not if he couldn't keep Forstall under control. Steve Jobs could. Once he was gone Forstall apparently annoyed the rest of the core team to no end. Maybe he'd be OK if he came back now. But he didn't take responsibility for the Maps fiasco.
 
Comment

IG88

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2016
808
1,068
The firing of Scott Forstall really reveals the cluelessness of Tim Cook. Unlike Cook, Forstall had vision. Cook is a typical suit. He's an MBA who does an excellent job at pleasing shareholders, but a major letdown for customers who care about cutting edge innovation.
Reports were that Forstall was basically impossible for other group heads to collaborate with. Once Jobs was gone, he didn't have anyone to protect him anymore. Had he played nice with others he'd still be there, perhaps 2nd in command or even running it.
 
Comment

ThomasJL

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2008
855
1,648
Not if he couldn't keep Forstall under control. Steve Jobs could. Once he was gone Forstall apparently annoyed the rest of the core team to no end. Maybe he'd be OK if he came back now. But he didn't take responsibility for the Maps fiasco.

It is the responsibility of a CEO to keep people under control. Since Tim Cook was unable to keep Scott Forstall under control yet Steve Jobs was able to, it's proof that Cook is unfit to be CEO.
 
Comment

dcdandan

macrumors member
Jul 3, 2015
48
61
Not if he couldn't keep Forstall under control. Steve Jobs could. Once he was gone Forstall apparently annoyed the rest of the core team to no end. Maybe he'd be OK if he came back now. But he didn't take responsibility for the Maps fiasco.

well you can say steve jobs annoy lots of people who work for him. beside there is a reason why steve jobs loved Forstall and even wanted him to be the next CEO. best leaders/ppl are not always easy to work with, if you want to work with easy ppl, you should not be in business.

beside i really think map was just a reason to fire scott. its very common in business practices that you want to find ways to get rid of your "enemies"
 
Comment

blucurv

macrumors regular
Dec 19, 2009
115
75
The firing of Scott Forstall really reveals the cluelessness of Tim Cook. Unlike Cook, Forstall had vision. Cook is a typical suit. He's an MBA who does an excellent job at pleasing shareholders, but a major letdown for customers who care about cutting edge innovation.

Steve Jobs best achievement when returning to Apple was not the products, but rather, the leadership team. That includes Tim Cook.

Scott Forestall clearly blew it by being unapologetic and too proud during the maps kerfufle.

Though Tim Cook may not be as involved in design as Steve Jobs was, Tim is a genius at globalizing Apple and its products. That and to ensure that his vision carried through his leadership team is why Jobs entrusted Tim Cook With the position of CEO.
[doublepost=1498444840][/doublepost]
It is the responsibility of a CEO to keep people under control. Since Tim Cook was unable to keep Scott Forstall under control yet Steve Jobs was able to, it's proof that Cook is unfit to be CEO.

And yet Steve Jobs disagreed with you.
 
Comment

Soccertess

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2005
1,251
1,742
It still amazes me how Steve was so involved in the product process, and always rejecting things till they were perfect and consistent. It really felt like an apple ecosystem.

And now we have Tim Cook, who seems to care more about his personal political beliefs than making products to change the way we live. Tim took Steve's genius to China, and everyone gives Timmy credit for increase sales. Timmy has no idea how to care for the hen that lays golden eggs. Sure it still has eggs, but it's sure feels old and dying
 
Comment

anshuvorty

macrumors 68000
Sep 1, 2010
1,672
1,480
California, USA
Instead of talking about who is the better CEO, shouldn't we be commenting on how lucky we are that only 10 years out, we are able to bear witness to the minds that actually developed this incredible device?

I relish every new interview that comes out, because to me, a tech enthusiast at best, is just constantly amazed at how a core group of engineers and designers and other people were able to come together and create a product that never existed before. The stories they are slowly telling the public is constantly fascinating and enlightening.

The fact that we didn't have social media when the Mac 1st came out illustrates how little there is to know about the development of the Mac (publicly available media that is), and now because of social media, we can more easily find out how the iPhone was created.

What a time to be alive truly.
 
Comment

smulji

macrumors 68000
Feb 21, 2011
1,860
1,456
The firing of Scott Forstall really reveals the cluelessness of Tim Cook. Unlike Cook, Forstall had vision. Cook is a typical suit. He's an MBA who does an excellent job at pleasing shareholders, but a major letdown for customers who care about cutting edge innovation.

Remember, it was Steve Jobs who hired Tim Cook back in the late 90s and it was Steve Jobs who recommended Tim Cook as CEO to the Board of Directors so Cook must have done something right.
 
Comment

sshambles

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2005
737
1,053
Australia
So glad things have turned out as they have. I was using a dodgy LG with a stylus and the internet on it was horrid. As soon as I could, the White iPhone 3GS was mine. Loved that thing. iPhone was an absolute game changer and I'm sure the iPhone 7S/8/X will be brilliant.
 
Comment

Dreamer2go

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2007
663
260
It still amazes me how Steve was so involved in the product process, and always rejecting things till they were perfect and consistent. It really felt like an apple ecosystem.

And now we have Tim Cook, who seems to care more about his personal political beliefs than making products to change the way we live. Tim took Steve's genius to China, and everyone gives Timmy credit for increase sales. Timmy has no idea how to care for the hen that lays golden eggs. Sure it still has eggs, but it's sure feels old and dying

Shareholders probably don't agree with you.
Tim's genius is it helped globalized Apple.
Also, did you not see the recent WWDC? Or what about the latest rumors of iPhone 8/X? I think Apple is reviving.

His political beliefs and his vocalness is probably due to the current administration.
 
Comment

wankey

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2005
573
218
Not if he couldn't keep Forstall under control. Steve Jobs could. Once he was gone Forstall apparently annoyed the rest of the core team to no end. Maybe he'd be OK if he came back now. But he didn't take responsibility for the Maps fiasco.

People still don't understand. Making Forstall take responsibility was Tim Cook's political maneuvre to kill Forstall. If he didn't take responsbility, Tim Cook had an upper hand. If he did take responsibility, it weakens Forstalls position as a person who is unable to deliver, again weakening Forstall.

Pretty smart way to do things.
 
Comment

az431

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2008
2,131
6,116
Portland, OR
The firing of Scott Forstall really reveals the cluelessness of Tim Cook. Unlike Cook, Forstall had vision. Cook is a typical suit. He's an MBA who does an excellent job at pleasing shareholders, but a major letdown for customers who care about cutting edge innovation.

Yeah that Cook guy has been running the company into the ground. Amazing they're still in business.
 
Comment

Tycho24

Suspended
Aug 29, 2014
2,071
1,394
Florida
He wasn't gunning for the CEO position. And was not qualified for that either. He was let go for not being a team player.

Precisely so!!
If I’m remembering the details correctly, he chased off the INCREDIBLY talented, Bob Mansfield... into early retirement.
Apple needed Bob FAR more than “fit throwing” Forstall. Clearly.
Tim went to him personally & agreed to oust Scott AND give him a salary of $2 million/month, if he’d come back, even temporarily.
Then they got him out of retirement AGAIN, to do the vehicle feasibility study. We don’t hear as much about him, but my impression is that Bob was a key employee and an absolute hardware god at Apple... got s**t done & didn’t need to anger people to accomplish his goals.
 
Comment

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
35,298
37,970
I wonder what we would be using today if Steve Jobs was still alive.
He was a true legend.

Why would that make a difference from where the iPhone started ten years ago? Steve Jobs was part of the iPhone development and even if he was still here, would that make the iPhone any less successful today?

Jobs was a legend, but the iPhone wasn't what made him a legend, it was because he was a visionary and a technological genius.
 
Last edited:
Comment

mariusignorello

macrumors 68000
Jun 9, 2013
1,882
2,675
It’s been a long and incredible 10 years from the original iPhone. I remember being a kid playing with it and I thought it was the coolest thing. I can’t wait to see what we have in store for the 10th anniversary (no negativity please).
 
Comment

bopajuice

Suspended
Mar 22, 2016
1,571
4,348
Dark side of the moon
Steve Jobs best achievement when returning to Apple was not the products, but rather, the leadership team. That includes Tim Cook.

Scott Forestall clearly blew it by being unapologetic and too proud during the maps kerfufle.

Though Tim Cook may not be as involved in design as Steve Jobs was, Tim is a genius at globalizing Apple and its products. That and to ensure that his vision carried through his leadership team is why Jobs entrusted Tim Cook With the position of CEO.
[doublepost=1498444840][/doublepost]

And yet Steve Jobs disagreed with you.

That's all fine and dandy, but where is the new Mac Mini?....
 
  • Like
Reactions: femike and navier
Comment

Keness

macrumors member
Mar 14, 2003
80
286
It is the responsibility of a CEO to keep people under control. Since Tim Cook was unable to keep Scott Forstall under control yet Steve Jobs was able to, it's proof that Cook is unfit to be CEO.

Employees aren't robots. You can't FORCE them to behave a certain way. And you can't say Tim didn't try different things to reign Forstall in, because you don't know. And you can't say that Forstall didn't "get worse" once Steve was gone, because again, you don't know. In the end, as I understand it, whatever positives Forestall brought, it didn't outweigh the negatives. So, so long. Tim took care of it.

Second guessing the people who were ACTUALLY there and ACTUALLY involved and ACTUALLY knew all the details is pretty ridiculous.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.