'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?

Both, 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:

source: Wired

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1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Tomorrow is iDay. Happy 10th Anniversary wishes and sheep (meat) eating (pun intended) inbound!

2. kiko007

Posts: 7513; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Ten years of excellence. Don't get me wrong, it's been a bumpy ride at times. I remember when iOS 8.0.1 basically DESTROYED my 5s. I remember when my iPhone 4s wouldn't play full screen bids unless I jerked it real quick like (still have it for some nostalgic reason). And I remember getting the 6 Plus, taking that back for a six a week later, and returning that for ANOTHER 6 Plus because battery life on the smaller variant was unspeakably horrid. Having said all that, the iPhone consistently delivers for both me and the masses to this day. Glad it came to be!

3. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Apple is Legendary!!

4. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

"...but the advent of music download and streaming technologies was threatening the high-margin iPods with the largest storage amounts." I get that streaming would threaten large storage iPod models, but why would music downloading? You need large storage if you're downloading music to your device don't you?

6. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I think they meant downloading straight to a device, meaning that users no longer had to have it saved on their computer and then synced to a large capacity device. They could just delete a song to make room for a new one that they could download on the spot.

7. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Ok, but the more songs you download, the more space you need. Unless you're constantly going to be downloading and then deleting on your device. Otherwise a large capacity device is what you'd want.

5. seedorf

Posts: 44; Member since: Feb 16, 2015


8. diggie32

Posts: 388; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

All smartphones in existence are influenced, by both software and hardware, by the original iPhone. The iPhone is the father of all phones, don't forget it, and don't let blind fanboyism cloud that truth.

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