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Senior Apple engineer Greg Christie speaks of the iPhone's origins

Posted: , by Peter K.

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Senior Apple engineer Greg Christie speaks of the iPhone's origins

Just a week before Judge Lucy Koh hits the sound block with her gavel and gives a start to the second patent lawsuit between Samsung and Apple, a rather curios portion of information emerged from Cupertino. Greg Christie, one of the original senior software engineers of the Apple iPhone, disclosed some interesting details about the initial development of the iconic smartphone in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. 

Christie explained that he was among the first Apple engineers to be recruited for a top secret project, codenamed Purple, back in 2004. The team was given a hard task – to create a revolutionary "phone with an integrated music player, operated by touch screen". You might expect that a lot of engineers were engaged in this assignment, but you'd be wrong – Christie states that the development unit was "shockingly small".

"Steve had pretty much had it. He wanted bigger ideas and bigger concepts."

The chief engineer was required to make presentations to Steve Jobs twice a month and inform him about the progress. However, Christie and his team initially failed to entice Jobs with their ideas and visions. At one point, the patience of Apple's CEO seemingly began to wear really thin, Christie revealed. 

Eventually, the iPhone development team finally succeeded in impressing both Steve Jobs and Jony Ive with its ideas for the iPhone software. Christie explained that Jony Ive, who was designing the glass for the smartphone at that moment, was really "curios how we were going to pull off that magic trick" and create a seamless mix between hardware and software. Another Apple high-ranking executive, Bill Campbell, was also impressed and stated that the iPhone "would be better than the original Mac".

The real work on the iPhone's software began early 2005 and took the team almost two and a half years. Christie claims that thanks to Steve Jobs' obsession of the details, each part of the software had been rethought and completely redesigned several times during this period. One of the features that didn't make it to the final version of the iPhone software was a split-screen view for emails, as "Steve thought it was foolish to do a split-screen on such a small display."

So, what do you think? Is the Cupertino company trying to provoke sympathy by disclosing details about the development process behind one of the most iconic devices in the industry? Share your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below!


source: Wall Street Journal via MacRumors

13 Comments
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posted on 26 Mar 2014, 10:31 7

1. Ashoaib (Posts: 1287; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


Indeed iphone is an iconic phone and seems there is a lot of thought behing it... but I dont care about it anymore, atleast

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 13:26

7. androtaku (Posts: 159; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)


if u can't care less about a phenomenal success, don't expect anyone will care for your puny little life successes,any of your tiny achievement is not worth celebrating at all

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 13:57 3

8. Ashoaib (Posts: 1287; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


by the way who is expecting others to care? Grow up, everyone has own life to live not other ppl's life, own problems to care not anyone's problem

posted on 28 Mar 2014, 02:40

13. androtaku (Posts: 159; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)


That's y u don't get any promotion in your office I guess, remain at your pathetic position all your life, because nobody care to acknowledge your tiny achievemen
by your "grow up"theory, same if u doing any business, nobody should care even if u deliver good product and service, pathetic guy. We live in a world of community,acknowledgement of good effort is vital to our success and social health

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 10:32 5

2. Arte-8800 (limited) (Posts: 4039; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


THE original design stolen from SONY

Even steve admited that he was a big fan of SONY and wanted to use MAC OSX platform on VAIO laptops

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 11:09 3

4. Ashoaib (Posts: 1287; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


Quite probably... since I am seeing sony's phones, they are making nice designs... I havent seen anyother company with a decade of consistancy in good designing...

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 11:25 2

5. Arte-8800 (limited) (Posts: 4039; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


SONY designs has always been unique

posted on 27 Mar 2014, 01:17 1

10. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


Lol no one cares about sony.

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 10:34

3. Finalflash (Posts: 1543; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Well the timing kind of does make it suspect as to why they are waxing lyrical about this now. But overall it doesn't seem too exaggerated or sensationalized and seems real enough so can't say it is a bad thing. I kind of liked the story, break down and explanation of how things came about.

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 11:31 1

6. alumoyo (Posts: 150; Member since: 26 Aug 2013)


Okay - what the hell was that last paragraph all about??? Did someone force the author to post this article against his will or what?

posted on 26 Mar 2014, 22:46 2

9. networkdood (Posts: 6260; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


"STEVE HAD PRETTY MUCH HAD IT. HE WANTED BIGGER IDEAS AND BIGGER CONCEPTS."
But, not a bigger phone....

posted on 27 Mar 2014, 01:21 3

11. The13thKing (banned) (Posts: 849; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


This phone actually shaped how phones are today, and rid us of those horrible nokias of the past. Respect.

posted on 27 Mar 2014, 18:50

12. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Good...so now we have some definite origin stories about the iPhone and Android. Android bought by Google in 2005.....work on the iPhone and iOS starts in 2004, 2005.

Android, Inc. was founded in 2003 and work on the OS started around that time....initially for digital cameras.

Should put most of the copying claims to rest.

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