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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:
Jobs likely knew he had a dud on his hands; consumers, for their part, hated it. The ROKR -- which couldn't download music directly and held only 100 songs -- quickly came to represent everything that was wrong with the US wireless industry, the spawn of a mess of conflicting interests for whom the consumer was an afterthought.
In February 2005, Jobs secretly met with Cingular executives, including Stan Sigman. Jobs presented a three-part message to the execs:
- Apple had the technology to build something truly revolutionary, "light-years ahead of anything else."
- Apple was prepared to consider an exclusive arrangement to get that deal done.
- But Apple was also prepared to buy wireless minutes wholesale and become a de facto carrier itself.

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
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,710
4,555
everyone should read the full article. it's very interesting.

arn
 
Comment

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,584
1
Even the iPhone's hardware and software teams were kept apart: Hardware engineers worked on circuitry that was loaded with fake software, while software engineers worked off circuit boards sitting in wooden boxes. By January 2007, when Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld, only 30 or so of the most senior people on the project had seen it.
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
 
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ericdano

macrumors member
Apr 29, 2003
84
0
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.
 
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SAMTATSICPRO

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2007
114
0
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.
 
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Adokimus

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2007
842
3
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.

-Ado
 
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BWhaler

macrumors 68040
Jan 8, 2003
3,228
4,222
Great read. I love these insider stories of Jobs and Apple. Great stuff.
 
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neoserver

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2003
335
0
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.
 
Comment

brewcitywi

macrumors 6502
Sep 29, 2007
296
61
fascinating

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.
 
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sachxn

macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2007
29
0
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.

Sachin
 
Comment

somberlaine

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2007
99
0
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.
 
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Phormic

macrumors regular
May 24, 2007
135
12
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.
 
Comment

zioxide

macrumors 603
Dec 11, 2006
5,737
3,726
the fact that they worked for a year on tablet pc confirms that Steve will reveal 3.2GHZ touchscreen tablet at 2008 macworld.

ya, not really.

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

wizard

macrumors 68040
May 29, 2003
3,854
571
Interesting.

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.

Dave
 
Comment

FCA

macrumors member
Jan 18, 2007
38
4
wow..very interesting story...I wonder how that writer got so much insider-disim...lol.
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!
 
Comment

ridli

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2008
15
0
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 :)
 
Comment

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,240
5
very interesting read. but shows you the foresight that someone like Jobs has. amazing.
 
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BackInTheSaddle

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2002
118
0
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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