how iTunes for PCs and the iPhone touchscreen were created

In another interview, Tony Fadell talks about the creation of the iPhone, Motorola ROKR and… Mac touch?

It is not uncommon to see interviews with former Apple executives bringing up backstage stories for the company. J happened to Tony Fadell (considered one of the ?fathers? of the iPod) he sometimes, for example, even said that Apple almost launched an iPhone with a physical keyboard and that the company was already thinking about cars there in 2008. But anyone who thinks it is mistaken he has no more things to share from the time he worked with Steve Jobs and company.

Fadell was honored at the SV Forum Visionary Salon Dinner and interviewed by Kevin Surace (CEO of Appvance and president of the organization SV Forum). There, among many other subjects (including his background at General Magic and Philips), he shared some of the stories from when he was still working at Apple.

The start at Apple

At the time, Fadell was a DJ and no longer wanted to carry dozens of CDs back and forth. So he had the idea of ??creating hardware that would rip CDs (a startup called Fuse). Soon after, however, the internet exploded and, with it, the software. Fadell then quickly abandoned the idea of ??hardware and focused on creating software that could do that.

After 80 attempts to raise some investment, he finally succeeded. At the same time, he received a call from Apple. Basically, Ma had iTunes on which it was possible to mix CDs. At the same time, the market was flooded with MP3 / piracy. Apple saw a chance to create something interesting for consumers and then called Fadell for an 8-week consultancy that turned out to be 10 years and 18 generations of iPods!

iTunes for PCs

ITunes is currently a software renegade by many. But in the past he played a crucial role in the iPod ecosystem, after all, it was through him and only him that users synchronized their music with Ma’s musical gadget.

After many battles and disbelief from others, the iPod was launched and became a success. The problem was that only Mac users could buy the device, as the MP3 player was only compatible with Apple computers. Fadell then put a team together to create a version of iTunes for PCs, but Jobs really rejected the idea! , saying it was necessary to sell Macs.


Fadell’s argument was just that. That an iPod, in fact, did not cost US $ 400 since customers also had to buy a Mac. The executive was convinced that it was necessary to give people some kind of tasting. After a few quarters with the iPod being a critical success, but not a sales one (after all, the market was quite limited), Jobs gave his arm to cheer and agreed to release iTunes for PCs, but with one condition.

He finally said, ?OK. But under one condition. We’re going to create this and give (Walt) Mossberg a try. And if Mossberg says he’s good enough to launch, we launch it. ? He wanted to distance himself from having to make that decision. But Walt said, ?Not bad. I would launch. ? as soon as we launched (iTunes) for PCs.

Interestingly, after that Mac sales also increased, people had a taste of everything with the iPod / iTunes and wanted more.

The iPod phone

At a certain point in history, features phones were released. In them, consumers could play music easily and that, of course, was a huge threat to the iPod domain. Apple then tried to do something in partnership with Motorola (the ROKR E1), which ended up being a disaster.

As the operators had the mastery of everything, the experience was not focused on the consumer. And Apple knew that if it wanted to do something, it would then have to swim with its own arms. The idea of ??an ?iPod phone? was born. Yes, we are basically talking about an iPod with a phone inside.

The idea was to use Click Wheel from iPod to everything, including typing the numbers, which, let’s face it, couldn?t work! And it didn’t. After eight months of many attempts, they had to add more boats to the device and everything was horrible. In parallel, Apple was looking to create a Mac with touch screen.

We were also trying to improve the video experience on iPods. We had a real screen, but people didn’t like watching videos on their iPods. So, how can we have a really big screen, but without the Click Wheel involved? Instantly, we knew that we needed a virtual interface on top of a phone. We wanted to do this ?Mac touch? and we knew that the ?iPod phone? would not work, but we knew that we needed to make a phone.

Steve said, «Come here!» I didn’t know about it at the time, but he showed me a ping pong table that was the first multi-touch screen. It was a table the size of a ping pong table. It had a Mac projector on top of it and you could interact with it. He said, «We’re going to put this on an iPod!» «Steve, the size of a ping pong table!»

It was clear to Fadell that Apple needed to create a phone, but that it needed to create a touchscreen company first. And they did. Then, they created an operating system using much of the Mac and iPod teams, the result of the first version of the phone. Then they threw it all away and went on to the second verse. And that was the launch, which we know at Macworld 2007.


All of this took two and a half years, three years. People asked Fadell why they simply did not buy a cell phone company and used it as a basis for creating such a phone. But for him, Apple was not creating a cell phone with a little bit of music technology; was creating a computer with a hint of cell phone.

The rest, as we know, is history.

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The interview (in English) is quite long and, if you are interested in the subject, it is very worthwhile. ?

(via MacRumors)