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Original Apple iPhone unveiling could have been a disaster

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Original Apple iPhone unveiling could have been a disaster
On this date two years ago, the world lost a forward thinking visionary when Steve Jobs succumbed to pancreatic cancer. In Saturday's New York Times, there are some excerpts from an upcoming book entitled Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution that go inside the first launch of the Apple iPhone. For example, the software in the Wi-Fi radio packed into the unit that Steve Jobs would introduce to the world, was unstable. As a result, wires had to be run off stage and connected to the phone's antennas so that the signal would not have to travel so far.

Even though AT&T had brought in a portable cell tower for the event, Steve Jobs had the iPhone that he would use in the unveiling, programmed to always show 5 bars of signal strength regardless of what the true reading was. Andy Grignon, the senior engineer responsible for the radios in the phone, was so nervous about the event that he packed on 50 pounds in the weeks before the launch. "If the radio crashed and restarted, as we suspected it might, we didn’t want people in the audience to see that, so we just hard-coded it to always show five bars," Grignon recalled.

But the biggest worry was that the demo iPhone would crash while Jobs was multitasking on stage. In case the unit he was working with ran out of memory, Apple's CEO had a few other units with him on stage that he could instantly switch to. The phones had just 128MB of memory and were prone to crashing. It seems hard to believe now, but one of the greatest consumer products ever launched was far from complete on that January day in 2007 when it was unveiled. Not one unit ever came off an assembly line, and the 100 or so units built before the introduction of the device had plenty of faults. The software was buggy and the device couldn't even finish playing one song or video without crashing. Send an email and browse the internet and the phone would work. Reverse the order and it would crash. The challenge for Steve Jobs was to show a smooth running phone at the unveiling, make the public drool now, and hammer out the bugs over the 6 months before the phone was actually launched.

Jobs had to be feeling nervous. If you view a video of his introduction of the Motorola E790 iTunes phone (aka ROKR E1), a glitch during the presentation made Jobs look lost and you could see him getting annoyed on stage. Ironically, Apple almost purchased Motorola in 2003, but at the time it was considered a company too big for Apple to swallow. Even more ironically, Google bought out the handset maker eight years after Apple failed to do so.

Things fell into place as Apple worked on the software that became iOS. Multitouch, which by 2003 could be used on a tablet like prototype, was introduced to the public with the new touchscreen phone. Despite this, the first prototype was similar to an iPod with a click wheel for dialing. Another prototype looked more like the device we know as the first-gen iPhone. But constructed of brushed aluminum, the radio signals could not escape the inside of the phone.

Security was tight. Apple didn't even tell the companies whose parts were driving the phone what it was building. Companies like Marvell, which produced the Wi-Fi chip, thought that its part was going into a new iPod. Phony schematics were drawn up to throw people off the scent. Amid some rumors about an Apple manufactured handset, the Apple iPhone was finally introduced on January 9th, 2007 and the world was changed. Not that the engineers who worked on the project realized what they had unleashed on the world. Fortified from a flask smuggled in during the event, they were all feeling no pain.





source: NYTimes

73 Comments
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posted on 05 Oct 2013, 13:59 4

1. sprockkets (Posts: 1238; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


"The challenge for Steve Jobs was to show a smooth running phone at the unveiling, make the public drool now, and hammer out the bugs over the 6 months before the phone was actually launched."

LOL

Steve waving the RDF field: "You can do it in 6 months. OR ELSE."

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 12:50 2

64. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)


And you All people call samsung innovative...lol

At that time samsung was making innovative refrigerators™

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 10:58

72. shuaibhere (Posts: 1584; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


by your logic when motorola made first phone apllw inc was not there..

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 12:51 1

65. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)


And you All people call samsung innovative...lol

At that time samsung was making innovative refrigerators™

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:07 23

2. yadu004 (Posts: 63; Member since: 26 Apr 2013)


That was the best product presentation i have ever seen.. Hats off to the Great guy.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:07 20

3. Tazer2365 (Posts: 44; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)


R.I.P. Steve Jobs, one of the best innovators of the technological era. Without Jobs, smart phones wouldn't be in this position they are now. He truly changed the way we use things such as cellphones, computers, and tablets, too.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:16 11

4. GoBears (Posts: 366; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


Hahaha I love how much credit you give this jerk for other peoples inventions.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:19 2

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)


lol I didn't know that the prototype was so glitchy. Certainly explains iOS7 though.. :D

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:22 2

6. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 165; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Wow, the original iphone was tiny! Way too small.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:52 4

10. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


Ya gotta remember at that time tiny phones were cool. And I mean the ones so tiny you could barely type on the T9 pad.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 16:26 1

19. MistB (Posts: 574; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


The screen was huge and truly revolutionary for it's time anyway, I had an E70 at that time and said QWERTYs weren't going anywhere and that touchscreens had been done before on a phone and they would be a fad, guess I was wrong. Fast forward 6 and a half years now, and we're less than a week away from a possible rebirth of the phone with a bendable screen, it's no Nokia Morph but we will slowly get there much like how the original IPhone and Android with the HTC G1 slowly got us to where we are today.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:26 3

7. Dastrix (Posts: 599; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


Why is this in the 'News' section? o.o

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:58 6

13. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Why are you in the "News" section? o.o

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 21:56 2

70. Dastrix (Posts: 599; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


LOL, you got me... :P

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 09:20 2

71. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


+1 for being able to kid around, take a joke, and remain respectful bro.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 14:55 11

12. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Great job Jobs, the event went flawless, the phone worked great, and the rest is history. The premier device on the market today, a household name, and worth every dime. Truly a great great line of devices. +1 apple.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 17:52 2

20. saffant (Posts: 224; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)


But that key innovation spirit is gone unfortunately.

Still a great phone tho!

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 18:29 3

22. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


It'll be back in full force next year. They haven't been testing larger screen iPhones for nothing. I think next year they unveil larger phones

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 21:45 2

29. EclipseGSX (Posts: 1616; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Always "next year" with you Apple heads LOL JOKE

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 00:16 3

33. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


See trolling. See post #32

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 03:48 3

37. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4070; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


I agree with dark on this one. Now that Apple is under completely new management, and we're out of the reach of the previous leaders, Apple will really come up with something great in 2014. Steve Jobs' last iPhone was the 5S, and Jony Ive had a limited time to work on iOS 7 after taking Scott Forstall's place. Next year we'll see what Tim Cook and Jony Ive can really create.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 11:31

58. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Well said Berzerk, apple will make moves to stay competitive. They're a friggin tech company for crying outloud. Yes they are stubborn, which feeds rite into their huge profits. Milk a design for all it's worth then move on. Porsche corvette mustang come to mind. +1 bro.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 18:22

69. underbc (Posts: 22; Member since: 28 Nov 2012)


next year ..
next year ..
next year ..

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 12:50

63. GoogleSafariFox (banned) (Posts: 100; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


I've seen that Comment from other iFans hundred times way back in 2010. LOL!! Keep Dreaming Bro. hahaha "ALWAYS NEXT YEAR" LOL. What's new! Haha

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 14:55

66. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I'm not dreaming anything. I have a 5S, I already have the best dummy. Haha you keep dreaming troll

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 15:18

14. androiphone20 (Posts: 1472; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


I have issues with Alan F, come on this is a badly written article I won't even me tion the title. I'm starting to wonder if the whole idea behind PA is to entertain an audience (android) by twisting unbiased news. from better sites!

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 16:24

18. softfurryanus (banned) (Posts: 232; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


I'm surprised he isn't fired after copying Michael H.'s article about Qualcomm saying 64 bit is a gimmick.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 15:29 3

15. jacko1977 (Posts: 394; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


it crashed all the time coz they rushed the stolen product out to say we made it first android copied us

where in fact ios is stolen off android coz android was being made from 2003 and look at all the features when it came out
ios bugger all features when it came out

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 16:23 3

17. softfurryanus (banned) (Posts: 232; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Android wasn't public until after the iPhone, if the did steal anything they had people on the inside, which is unlikely, so don't go starting conspiracy theories little one.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 06:51 1

40. jacko1977 (Posts: 394; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


he said waiting for this moment for 2 years so that means ios development started in 2005
android development started 2003 so dont be a fanboy all ur life

u know they put apple employees at front first 3 rows so when they clap it sounds like everyone is claping

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 07:58 1

42. Njard (Posts: 4; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


In the period between 2003 and 2007 Android was being developed as an contestant to Blackberry, with keypads, no touch-screen. Apple made the touch screen usable on mobile devices and thus are given credit for it, rightfully so i would say. Apple stole nothing that time.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 16:50 2

67. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


What's the point? What's your point? iPhone launched mid 07, g1 late 08. Who cares, both platforms are run away hits. Just enjoy your device, STFU gee wiz. When something was in development doesn't matter, when it hits consumers hands matters. If you don't own, or work for either company, than just be the consumer you are and.................STFU

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 18:01 2

21. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


And then many blame Samsung for cheating with specs. Was he cheating "also" ?

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 19:45 3

23. robinlim85 (Posts: 85; Member since: 03 May 2013)


what they cheat? for presenting an unfinished prototype?
how u call car manufacturer showing unworkable concept cars?
are you retard?or simply your blind fanboy attitude for another platform?

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 00:56

73. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


For a retard, whole world seems a retard.

posted on 05 Oct 2013, 22:57 3

31. SonyPS4 (Posts: 256; Member since: 21 May 2013)


Whether you like it or not no one can deny his influence in consumer electronic indsutry. Of course he did steal some ideas from others just everyone else. I didnt agree with some of his action like patent lawsuit but still didnt change fact he is great innovator. RIP Jobs.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 08:43 3

47. alaahershy (Posts: 34; Member since: 02 Jan 2013)


God love steve, that's why he make the presentation of iPhone was so Perfect and Unforgettable.

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 16:56 1

68. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I do too, always admired him. He is big time responsible for not so much the wave of tech, but the direction it's taken. The iPhone mesmerized, revolutionized, and blew the doors off the industry. It's still the trend setter to this very day. Rock on Steve RIP +1

posted on 06 Oct 2013, 12:42 1

61. darkkjedii (Posts: 11964; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Can't wait to see next years tech. Apple, google, Samsung, and Nokia are the most intriguing.
Beefier processors, more RAM, and better cameras. Lots to look forward to in 2014.

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