'We didn't want cell phones to come eat our lunch, ok?' Tony Fadell busts the iPhone conception myths
The iPhone's 10th anniversary edition is fast approaching, and that is inevitably a time for retrospective analysis, and spilling the beans on the OG iPhone concept creation. As you may very well have heard, multiple myths surround the preparation of the first iPhone for launch. Was there one with a clickwheel indeed, iPod-style, and others with a true mobile OS plus touch interface, like what you see on the leaked video above?
Steve was pissed off, and wanted to show them how to do it rightBoth, it turns out, and some more, too. Ex-Apple's Tony Fadell, who was in charge of the iPod franchise at the time, sat down for an interview, and explained that the reason there are so many conflicting rumors what lead to the first iPhone, is that there were simply competing teams set by Steve Jobs to bounce ideas off. "We were trying to do this because we didn't want cell phones to come eat our lunch, OK?"
The pressure for iPod sales has been enormous, he mentions, as that's where the bulk of Apple's revenue came from at the time, but the advent of music download and streaming technologies was threatening the high-margin iPods with the largest storage amounts. That is why Steve Jobs tasked the teams with various ideas to improve and diversify, cell phones included:
The touchscreen Mac is a new twist here, and, with regular iPad sales being cannibalized by larger iPhones, it might still happen at some point. That project was apparently in response to Microsoft's tablet efforts at the time: "Steve was pissed off, and wanted to show them how to do it right," explains Tony Fadell without mincing words. All of these problems that Apple was trying to tackle at once finally resulted into the technologies and software lessons learned converging to form the little soapy-shaped phone that could, and the rest is history. Last but not least, when asked if he knew about the LG Prada touchscreen phone, released in 2006, Tony Fadell takes the mythbusting road: