Tony Fadell Shares New Details on Prototype iPhone Software With Virtual iPod Clickwheel

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this month, Sonny Dickson shared a collection of images and videos featuring an of the iPhone with an early iPod-style operating system called "Acorn OS," based on a clickwheel interface.

    The iPod-like software was developed by "iPod Father" Tony Fadell, who shared some new details on its creation with The Verge in an attempt to clarify the backstory behind the software.

    Click Wheel-based OS vs. the Icon-based OS that went on to become iOS

    According to Fadell, the longstanding story suggesting there were two teams at Apple (one led by Fadell and one led by Scott Forstall) competing with one another to develop the iPhone's OS isn't quite accurate. There were multiple UI possibilities being explored by both the hardware and the software teams, who were working together.

    "It was a competing set of ideas, not teams," says Fadell. "And we were all working on it."

    He went on to explain that there were two paths in hardware and software UI development going on at Apple "at all times," and that the software shown off in the video is "just what the UI guys were doing, devoid of any hardware." There was never a hardware prototype running the software shown off in Dickson's video, but someone ported it "just for fun." It was only ever a Mac app.

    A virtual clickwheel, as shown in the video, was just one path of iPod-style development, as Jobs had the iPhone team explore every possibility. Other iPod-like ideas included an iPod phone with a smaller screen and a click wheel, which was unrealistic, and a hardware-based wheel with buttons, another idea that didn't pan out.
    By the time Fadell took over the iPhone division from Jon Rubinstein, Apple was working on a Linux-based OS backed by Rubinstein and a reduced version of OS X, developed by Scott Forstall and Avie Tevanian. the OS X version, codenamed Purple OS, won out, and the Linux version was killed off within a matter of weeks. Purple OS went on to become the iOS software we know today.

    Fadell's full interview with The Verge, which goes into more detail about the iPhone's development process, is well worth checking out.

    Article Link: Tony Fadell Shares New Details on Prototype iPhone Software With Virtual iPod Clickwheel
  2. Amacfa macrumors 65816


    May 22, 2009
    Amazing stuff. 10 Years and competition is still behind (as far as hardware and industrial design). Software is level with the competition, but I think Apple still has the edge.

    Can't wait for the big reveal this fall
  3. ILuvEggplant Suspended


    Jul 28, 2016
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm curious how the iphone division worked up the iPhone 7.

    iPhone Team to Tim "Tim ! We made the iphone with wireless charging, longer battery, oLED screen, user preferences on mail-maps-calendar apps, and with a usb 3 port!"

    Tim to iphone Team "This is a waste of time. Take the headphone port off, make it thinner, & rebrand the iphone 6 as an iPhone 7."
  4. cariacou macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010
    Nokia 3600 / 3650. Can't believe I actually ordered this.

  5. Crzyrio macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    Apple should have just released the iPhone 7 as the first iPhone. So silly that they held back all this technology from the first iPhone just to generate $ over the past 10 years.

  6. wozmatic macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2014
    The iPhone looks like it's heading back that way as of late...

    JK, iPhone is good but if they do a curved edge it's over for me
  7. Amacfa macrumors 65816


    May 22, 2009
    #7 wasn't ready and waited this year to release it. Go to Samsung if you want rushed products. iPhone hasn't got thinner in almost 3 years :rolleyes:

    Hope you get those likes you're fishing for, though!
  8. Greenmeenie macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2013
  9. meaning-matters macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2013
    Saddening that these stories feel like from the good old days.
  10. AngerDanger macrumors 68030


    Dec 9, 2008
    Tony: Look, in heindsight, it was really goofy, but I wasn't the only person working on it!
  11. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I'd take that over a Nokia 7380:

  12. ThomasJL macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    This is precisely why Steve Jobs favored internal competition over feel-good collaboration. Tim Cook smugly prides himself on creating an environment of much-increased collaboration. Cook, in his typical cluelessness, fails to realize that diligent competition creates more innovation than naïve collaboration.
  13. chado53 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    that's actually pretty crazy. good thing they actually rethought that whole idea on touch screens instead of digitalizing the ipod touch-wheel.
  14. LordQ macrumors 68040


    Sep 22, 2012
    Ah, the days before iPhone, I remember I had a Sony Ericsson k800i Casino Royale edition!

  15. mcfrazieriv macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Of course this guy is going to disagree and say it wasn't two competing teams but instead "competing ideas" and that "we all were working on it" because he wants to take credit for success.
    Amazing that all this stuff comes out when there's not really anyone to say otherwise anymore. All the ego and macho when the head honcho passes away that came out of the closet has been overwhelming.
  16. vertical smile macrumors 68000

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    This is interesting. It seems like the morale at Apple is a lot higher under Cook. I think I remember a few stories about the improved morale.

    I wonder if this improved morale has an unintended cost.... lack of innovation.
  17. NoNothing macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2003
    I don't think the software is is even close IMO. iOS is still a half order of magnitude more efficient on resources and not needing 4-6GB of RAM to work well. I see the competition REQUIRING substantially faster HW/more RAM (and then, in turn bigger batteries) just to keep up.
  18. Amacfa macrumors 65816


    May 22, 2009
    Very true. The iPhone is still a good lead ahead even after 10 years. Don't forget swift!

    Something tells me another 'leapfrog' will happen with the iPhone 8, making the gap even wider.
  19. Michael Scrip, Jan 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017

    Michael Scrip macrumors 601

    Mar 4, 2011
    What year were these prototypes developed and fully-functional?

    It looks like the physical design of the iPhone was pretty much established at the time this software was being worked on.

    So maybe we can put to rest the argument that Apple "copied the design" and "stole the idea" of the LG Prada.

    We know the iPhone was being developed in a secret lab in Cupertino in 2004-2006, right?

    There's no way Apple knew, or even cared, about what LG was doing in South Korea at that time.
  20. oliversl macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    Its incredible how Apple used all of hist powers to silence Scott Forstall. By distributing rumors to the press and to legally forbid him to talk in interviews. All this so that Tim Cook could remain CEO until he can no longer physically be the CEO. Anyway, it should be interesting to hear to other side of the coin.
  21. InfLurk macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2016
    I had that phone too! It wasn't all bad, and was definitely unique and garnered attention when seen. However, dialing or texting on it without looking (which was doable in the days with physical keys and before voice recognition) was a whole new level of hell.
  22. cariacou macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010
    I believe I owned all the 007 phones. Sony-Ericsson had fantastic cameras compared to the competition
  23. Goaliegeek macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2009
    Man, it seems like prehistoric technology and it was only 10 years ago. Really good read. Imagine what could have been if Apple didn't push and push and push for different things and just settled. It's mind blowing reading a few small excerpts about 1 or 2 prototypes Apple has made when there are thousands made and thrown out.
  24. kdarling, Jan 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017

    kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    Those are not prototypes. Those are production iPhones.

    The UI demos that Jobs saw in 2005 were actually done on a Mac.

    Then someone much later on ported the demos to real iPhones, just for fun.

    While some case designs were worked on in the second half of 2005, iOS itself and the actual production iPhone project only started at the beginning of 2006.

    Those poor people worked like crazy for the next year or so.
  25. trifid macrumors 65816


    May 10, 2011
    Past reports showed Apple looking at Sony for inspiration, these news now show Apple looking at Nokia for inspiration. Everyone please remember this when judging poor Samsung :p

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