Friends, tomorrow: June 29, 2017 mark the iPhone 10th anniversary, the device that changed the world in a way that few can have the honor of saying they did. As the date approaches, it seems that all specialized foreign vehicles have decided to pull some top Apple executive or engineer involved in the creation of Ma's smartphone for interviews about the advent of the device.
It was no different with WIRED: the magazine held a long and interesting interview with Tony Fadell, one of the main names of Apple in the last decade and probably the one that best fits the title of "creator of the iPhone" after Steve Jobs in person, of course. Fadell left Cupertino some time ago, founded the smart thermostat company Nest and went to Google when the giant bought his company; recently, he also left Mountain View and at the moment he is not linked to any company, that is, he has all the freedom in the world to talk about what he wants, which makes things much more interesting.
The interview started with a question about the different stories about the origin of the iPhone, to which Fadell replied that, in fact, many projects that were developed at the company were combined to create the device including, guess what, a MacBook Pro with a touch screen to the touch!
It had an iPod with a large video screen that had a touch interface. I had an iPod phone, which was basically an iPod mini, maybe a little bigger, with a phone inside with a Click Wheel and a small screen. There was also a touch-sensitive MacBook Pro we were working on, a MacBook Pro multi-touch. This was what was happening in terms of hardware. And there were different software projects, too. All of this in a period of 9 to 12 months.
On this hypothetical portable Mac project with a touchscreen subject that has already been discussed exhausted by us and anyone minimally interested in technology, but never saw the light of day, Fadell expanded:
The design of the touch-sensitive MacBook was basically trying to put the technology multi-touch on a Mac to compete with Microsoft tablets. Steve was pissed and wanted to show them how to do it right. Well, that could have been the project that would show Microsoft how to do the right thing, but they quickly realized that it had so much software and so many new applications that needed to be developed, and that everything would need to change, so it would be very difficult. In addition, the screen multi-touch itself, we don't know if it would be possible to make it so big in order to equip a Mac.
The engineer then explained how the two other concurrent projects in the company, the iPod with video and the iPod with a phone inside, came together to create the iPhone. This story, of course, has already been told several times, including by Fadell himself a few months ago with the right to a demonstration of one of the software proposed for the device that had a Click Wheel interface and the same interface as the iPods of the time.
The subject then reached the ROKR, the ill-fated cell phone launched by Motorola in 2005 in partnership with Apple, Ma's first incursion in the world of telephony that focused on music, synchronized with iTunes and was a resounding failure. Asked if Apple deliberately made ROKR a bad device to come up with a solution of its own later, Fadell replied:
No, it wasn?t deliberately poorly built. The same. We did our best, but Motorola could only go so far with it. Their software team was only good to a certain extent. Their operating system was only good up to a point. And the experience just didn't work out right. It was a conflict of all kinds of problems, it was not a case of trying to do it right. () So it wasn't about doing something bad because the iPhone was coming. That was before the iPhone was even conceived.
Fadell talked a little bit about the LG Prada, a touch-sensitive device launched a year before the iPhone and is often touted as a device that Apple copied in the design of its smartphone. According to the engineer, he was nothing more than a device in more than a hundred that he and his teammates obsessively analyzed to create the ?perfect smartphone?.
Yes, I knew about it (the LG Prada). I probably had more than 100 different cell phones, 100 music players, devices of all types open and analyzed. We looked at everything. They stayed in my office in pieces, just for us to look at them, for us to understand what they were, how they were built and what their competitive value is.
Finally, Fadell makes an appeal: in classifying that the iPhone has changed his life (not only as a professional, but in all aspects), he explained that these changes are sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing and, for that is, we need to strive to ?keep the analogue part of our lives?. Wise words, Tony.