Forstall: Apple iPhone owes its life to a Microsoft employee that Steve Jobs hated

The Scott Forstall interview starts at around the 1 hour 7 minute mark.

With this being the 10th anniversary of the Apple iPhone, stories about how the device came to be are proving to be popular. The other day we told you about a new book about the iPhone that just hit the market. The One Device: The secret history of the iPhone reveals what was going on at Apple during the development of its iconic smartphone. Yesterday, Apple's former software chief Scott Forstall appeared at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. During his visit, Forstall explained how Jobs' hatred of a particular Microsoft employee was the impetus behind the development of the iPhone and the iPad.

Apparently, a particular Microsoft executive would constantly bother Jobs with talk of styluses and tablets. If you've ever watched the entire iPhone unveiling on tape, you know how much Apple's co-founder hated the stylus. Jobs also couldn't stand hearing this guy talk about tablets, so he had Apple work on its own slate. Keep in mind that this was prior to the start of the project that delivered the iPhone.

The original Apple iPhone

The original Apple iPhone

Forstall said that the original tablet project soon changed focus after Jobs realized that smartphones could hurt iPod sales since users were listening to music on these devices. After seeing a demo of the tablet software being developed by Apple, he asked Forstall to shrink it down to the size of a smartphone. Viewing that software demo gave Jobs the confidence to.put the tablet project on hold; everything then went full steam ahead toward the creation of a handset. Three years after the iPhone was first introduced, the Apple iPad was made official.

Forstall has been extremely quiet since being let go in 2012 by Tim Cook after the Apple Map fiasco. Apple debuted its own native mapping app to replace Google Maps on its iOS powered devices, and it provided incorrect directions, misnamed landmarks, and was considered life-threatening by some. Forstall was fired for refusing to sign an apology for Maps. Eventually, Apple did correct all of the app's mistakes.

In the history of Apple, Microsoft at one time played an important part in keeping Apple alive when it was thisclose to going under. And now we discover that an unnamed Microsoft employee was the inspiration behind Apple's most important product ever. It just goes to show that you never know where true inspiration will come from.

source: Computer History Museum

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18 Comments

1. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

"Forstall was fired for refusing to sign an apology for Maps." No comments.

9. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

He should be Apple's CEO

18. audibot

Posts: 585; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

if forstall was ceo of apple i would for real drop android and jump to apple tomorrow

2. samgsam

Posts: 138; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Steve jobs was only good at marketing. I dont know why people think of him as a technology genius. His ideas during the year 2008 were great but after that didn't do much. But he was better than Tim cook.

4. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

True. Any company could have done what Apple did, would they be as good as Apple in marketing (like paying iPhoneArena for reviews) and building a clean and pure image. Before 2007, Apple was very good at building this image with there Apple Stores, white plastic products, and advertisements.

12. apple-rulz

Posts: 1843; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Yeah but Samsung is only good at marketing too, and yet you love them. Let's take a quick look at Samsung's technological prowess; Infinity Display-created by the flat panel display section of Toppan, licensed to Samsung. Samsung Pay-Loop Pay, company bought by Samsung. Bixby-Viv Labs, bought by Samsung 10nm, 7nm, 6nm, 4nm, etc, processes-developed by the university members of SEMATECH, licensed to Samsung for hefty fees. Samsung has yet to find a company that can build the fingerprint sensor under the front display with any appreciable degree of quality, and Samsung's own engineering staff is so hamstrung that they're unable to assist said third party in achieving that goal. So outside of being able to buy other people's technology and ideas, seems Samsung ain't much more a technology company than Apple. You're welcome.

15. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

He mentioned a "person" and you mentioned a "company". You really comparing a person to a company? Are you that desperate to troll? You are a hypocrite. Apple bought the Siri app from their dev. Apple didn't make a fingerprint sensor. They source from Authentec and then bought the company. Apple didn't make Apple Maps. They bought the platform from another company and made it into Apple Maps. Apple sources 100% of its componets from 3rd parties vs Smasung who makes most of its own stuff. Apple designs a CPU based off ARM references loike Samsung does as well. So please troll harder you dumbass. I fail to understand how you "think" Apple who doesn't make s**t, is somehow better than Samsung. APple CPu - Designed by Apple, based on ARM designs and fabricated by Samsung or TSMC. \ Apple RAM, my Samsung, Apple Internal Storage - Samsung. Apple Displays are by Sharp, LG or Samsung IOS is based on several platforms not belonging to Apple. You're an idiot dude...just shutup

17. apple-rulz

Posts: 1843; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

You love me more than you love your mail order bride.

3. SIGPRO

Posts: 2810; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Steve Jobs was a ignorant, not the man at all, dictator, idiot! Don't know why people think he was a god.

5. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

"it was thisclose to going under" did you do it on purpose, Alan? xD

6. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Waiting for HillaryClinton2020 to comment.

10. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

"If Lord Jobs did that, we will see lots of android cheap phones have a button on the back as well and it will be pretty ugly" *sigh

7. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1497; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Waiting for biggest isheep Piyath to comment

8. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1497; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Waiting for biggest isheep Piyath to comment.

11. sonisoe

Posts: 440; Member since: May 06, 2009

apple is going to be what apple has been for decades... sit back, observe, and re package everything... while the end product is usually great, its still called stealing which is still fine i guess until steve jobs started bragging that his products were original and suing people

14. RocknRolling

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

iOS vs Android... it's like rock vs rap. They are not the same. Different focus in market & pricing. Android is more open source for phone techies adjust things as they like. As a android owner makes a lot of glitch when 3 different companies are playing with one product... Google, phone makers, and tele-providers. iOs is more closed sourced and not for techies (really) and one company from beginning to end product. I may be wrong but don't see providers making noticeable changes. Now that we know we are different, why not focus on what we can make better together?

13. tokuzumi

Posts: 1759; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Not relevant to the article, but maybe we can get some more ads on this site

16. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Steve Jobs himself famously expressed his philosophy, which he attributed to Picasso and continues to guide Apple to this day: "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." And thus it is that almost every great Apple product has drawn its inspiration from someone else's work. http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-describing-the-moment-he-decided-to-do-the-ipad-2013-5

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