Original Apple iPhone unveiling could have been a disaster

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

Related phones

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

FEATURED VIDEO

73 Comments

1. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 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."

64. MobileKicker

Posts: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

And you All people call samsung innovative...lol At that time samsung was making innovative refrigerators™

72. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

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

65. MobileKicker

Posts: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

And you All people call samsung innovative...lol At that time samsung was making innovative refrigerators™

2. yadu004

Posts: 72; Member since: Apr 26, 2013

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

3. Tazer2365

Posts: 52; Member since: Jul 28, 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.

4. GoBears

Posts: 456; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

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

5. ilia1986 unregistered

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

6. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

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

10. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1244; Member since: Aug 13, 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.

19. MistB

Posts: 581; Member since: Jul 07, 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.

7. Dastrix unregistered

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

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

70. Dastrix unregistered

LOL, you got me... :P

71. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 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.

20. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

But that key innovation spirit is gone unfortunately. Still a great phone tho!

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 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

29. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1770; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Always "next year" with you Apple heads LOL JOKE

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

See trolling. See post #32

37. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 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.

58. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 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.

69. underbc

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 28, 2012

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

63. GoogleSafariFox

Posts: 100; Member since: Sep 28, 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

66. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

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

14. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 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!

18. softfurryanus

Posts: 232; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

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

15. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 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

17. softfurryanus

Posts: 232; Member since: Jul 09, 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.

40. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 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

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.