Ex-Apple engineer says that the iPhone developed from improvements made to the iPod

Ex-Apple engineer says that the iPhone developed from improvements made to the iPod
Tony Fadell was panicking. Well before the Apple iPhone was ready to be introduced, the man in charge of engineering for the iPod was carrying a prototype of the device on an airplane. Fadell exited the plane thinking that the phone was in one of his pockets. But when he patted his pockets after getting off the plane and they went flat, he knew he had a problem.

The iPhone was top secret when this occurred, and Fadell knew first hand that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had threatened to fire anyone who leaked the product. Helped by a group of volunteers who had no idea what they were looking for, Fadell finally found the prototype stuck in between two seats on the plane. Apparently, it had fallen out of his pocket.

In an interview with the BBC, the former Apple employee (who left the company in 2010) said that developing Apple's iconic smartphone started out as a way to build on the iPod's platform. Last week, a video surfaced of an early iPhone prototype that used a clickwheel to navigate the UI. But the engineers decided that the clickwheel was turning the iPhone into a 1960's rotary phone. So those working on the project decided to scrap the tool.

Fadell also discussed a behind-the-scenes dispute over whether the new iPhone should have a physical QWERTY keyboard. After all, at the time the device was being developed, BlackBerry was the top-selling smartphone manufacturer. But Jobs was adamant that there was not to be a physical keyboard on the phone. Anyone who disagreed with him was invited to leave the project.

One place where Fadell disobeyed his boss was with the iPhone's support for a stylus. While we all have seen Jobs' dismissal of the input tool at the iPhone's introduction ("Who wants a stylus? You have to get them and put them away and you lose them. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus."), Fadell felt differently. He believed that there would be a day when a stylus would be wanted. So behind Jobs' back, the engineer told the team working on the display to allow it to support a stylus.

One thing that the former Apple engineer did confirm, is that the iPhone prototype used by Jobs' at the Macworld unveiling was, in his words, half-baked. Previous stories from those in the know have said that there were two iPhone units at Jobs' disposal on January 9th, 2007. One was a back up in case the first one failed. Luckily, everything appeared to work perfectly.

The rest, as they say, is history.

source: BBC via BGR

Related phones

  • Display 3.5" 320 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 2 MP
  • Storage 16 GB
  • Battery 1400 mAh(8.00h talk time)



1. medwar07

Posts: 44; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Of course it is an iPod that can make calls. Just like an iPad is an iPhone without the calling functionality

2. Mxyzptlk unregistered

No it isn't.

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yeah all this nice smart phone history. Half baked prototype used in the unveiling. No wonder Jobs called it magic.

6. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Excuse my wp10 phone and it's edge browser. At least iOS is stable. WP10 is still really a hit and miss.

8. sissy246

Posts: 7109; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Well the first one kinda was.

12. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Steve Jobs already said the iPod Touch was the training wheels for iPhone. This was Steve Jobs exact statement - "“Well, one’s a phone, and one’s not. The iPod touch is training wheels for the iPhone.” " The Touch and iPhone were released the same year. The Touch was suppose to be first, but Apple wanted peopel to get hyped over the more expensive option. If the iPhone cost $220 to make, that means the iPod Touch costs even less. Probably half. Yet they sold it for as much as 10 times the cheapest iPod device at the time. How can you not know anything about the product you claim you love so much! Are you married? Whats your woman's favorite color? Or do you even have a woman?

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

It's just like he evolution from feature phones to Android smartphones... Albeit a little different, as the iPod before the first iPhone did not have cellular capabilities, which is something feature phones obviously had at that time.

7. aegislash

Posts: 1492; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

The same could be said about literally any tablet though...they're all just big phones without calling functionality. Granted, some Android OEMs have made tablets that can also make calls, but they're far and few between.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31020; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You really don't understand iOS products dude.

9. 87186

Posts: 312; Member since: Aug 01, 2014

you don't say...

11. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Steve Jobs already said the iPod Touch was the training wheels for iPhone. They made the iPod Touch first, but held off and did the iPhone first. iPhone required more CPU power because of the cellular hardware. Which is always why the Touch had weaker specs. This isnt news. It's just PA trying to keeping their dying breed of "apples", in the news!

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