“I was scared to death”: the former top Manager of Apple told the story of creating the first iPhone
“Steve told me straight that this is a closely guarded secret. He said he will fire anyone who would leak it. I was scared to death”.
Tony Fadell thought hard how to explain to Steve jobs that he lost a prototype of what was to become the most successful technological product of all time – iPhone, which appeared exactly 10 years ago. Fadell just got off the plane, felt their pockets, and… nothing.
“I tried to imagine all possible consequences of the incident – he recalls. – None of that came to my mind scenarios did not end well”.
In two hours, thanks to the efforts of search teams that did not know that it is lost, released. The prototype fell out of his pocket and was lying between the seats!
Just a few months the world will know about this little device, which Fadell at that moment tightly clenched in her hand.
Tony Fadell is sometimes called the “father of the iPod”. He left Apple in 2010 and has created a Nest, which is engaged in smart home technology, now owned Аlphabet holding company (parent company Google). He left the company last year.
For Fadell’s a 12.5-year anniversary of the first iPhone. It was then that he began to develop, based on the understanding that the iPod is a platform, which can be developed further. At that time, iPod was a video and even games.
“We told ourselves: wait a minute, data network looms, says Fadell in an interview with the BBC. We have to look at the iPod as a universal platform.”
This was the magic ingredient that allowed the iPhone to break down the barriers, says Fadell. While competitors such as Microsoft, tried somehow to shove the computer to the phone that Apple wanted to “grow” the iPod into something more refined.
In one of the first design concepts of the iPhone has been used for typical iPod scroll wheel to switch between menu functions Click Wheel as an input method. Him soon get rid of.
“We turned it into a phone from the sixties, with rotary dial – recalled Fadell. – We told ourselves: this is not working, and it is too difficult to use”.
It so happened that in another Apple at the same time, work began on a Macintosh computer with a touch screen.
“This work was kept secret. He was the size of a ping-pong table. Steve showed it to me and said, “I want to take this and put in the iPod,” says Fadell.
Fadell warned jobs that the creation of such a device with a touch screen, will take time, money, and new specialised infrastructure. The company went for it.
“To launch we had thousands of people working together on all of this, says Fadell. – And then we had only six months to ship the new product. Of course, we did, but it wasn’t easy”.
Apple worked a lot of the best minds in the industry, but up to this point they have never produced your own phone.
Therefore, Fadell planned a world tour to meet with experts and evaluate the work of research laboratories, experts in telecommunications.
It all started with one producer in the Swedish city of Malmo. The trip ended all their Luggage, notes, and other equipment were stolen from the cars while they dined.
“They knew that we were developing the phone, says Fadell. We asked our hosts where we could go to dinner, we were there for only 20 or 30 minutes, because they are tired. When we returned to the car, all that was in the car, disappeared. All of the bags. We could have sworn it was industrial espionage”.
Even if this were so, the result is missing is not so much of secrets. The team returned home without many things, but their heads were full of ideas.
At the same time began one hot discussion.
The keyboard end
It was, of course, discussion on the topic, should be in the iPhone keyboard?
“The furious debate lasted about four months, says Fadell. – It was a very ugly situation”
Jobs, who by day and by night, dreaming about the touch screen, became extremely irritable to treat people, did not agree with his ideas.
“Until then, until you agree with us, you will not be back in this room, says Fadell, the words of Steve jobs, addressed to the supporters of the keyboard. – Don’t want to be part of the team – don’t.”
Disagreements soon stopped: “One man was put out of office all took the hint and obeyed”.
Let the opposition and was suppressed, this does not mean that the team iPhone their left.
Some still think it was the wrong decision not to use the keyboard in the style of Blackberry that — then at least — was an incredibly popular phone.
“Using only a touch screen, we risked big”.
From the beginning jobs said in plain text, to use not iPhone need a stylus. Your finger is all you need.
But Fadell said the group worked on a multi-touch screen (perhaps a major breakthrough in the design of the iPhone): make sure that the screen will be compatible with a stylus anyway.
“I was sure that this work is necessary, says Fadell. – We knew the day would come when you might need a stylus, despite the original philosophical message Steve about a finger. But we were doing secret from him. He would have torn my head off if he found out”.
To do something secretly it was a common strategy stubborn engineers and designers who believed that what Steve jobs doesn’t know cannot upset him. And if they are eventually proven right, it might get praise.
“It was the same thing that happened with the iPod working with a PC, says Fadell. Steve didn’t want to have anything to do with it, but when the growth of the iPod has reached the limit, we said, “Oh, by the way! And we’re already slowly working on it.”
“I asked Steve how much the song in iTunes, it said that 99 cents. I said, “No, it’s the cost of the iPod plus songs, plus a Mac! We only have 1% market share, Steve!” And he understood,” says Fadell.
Steve jobs may be softened towards Apple products compatible with Windows OS, but my hatred of the pens, he took with him to the grave. Though his successor, Tim cook, in 2015 introduced the Apple Pencil.
The Laugh Of The Ballmer
So, on 9 January 2007.
Crowds of fans and the media fill the Moscone Center in San Francisco to see that jobs made as a “One More Thing” at the end of his keynote speech at the Macworld conference.
The device at that stage, according to Fadell, it was still polugodovymi, but it quickly became known as the “Jesus phone”.
The press mocked the sectarian manner in which the iPhone was introduced.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, became famous for being mocked on a new device.
Ballmer called it “not a very good machine for email, which is unlikely to appeal to business customers”.
“We all laughed at him, says Fadell. We also laughed at the Blackberry. Whenever I create a new product (and I learned it from Steve), if the employees laugh at you and the press picks up on you, so everything is moving in the right direction, you got the point.”
Since that day, has sold more than a billion iPhone that made Apple the richest company in the world.