The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone

In the ten years since the iPhone was launched, a new book promises to tell unprecedented details about the genesis of the revolutionary device [atualizado 2x]

June 29, 2017. On this day, it will be ten years since the first iPhone arrived on the shelves of the operator Cingular AT&T, in the United States, and changed not only everything we know about mobile devices, but it achieved a privileged place in popular culture and marked society as a whole.

From its launch onwards, the story is well known. But what about before? What about the events within 1 Infinite Loop that led to the creation of one of the defining products of a decade? This is a much lesser known facet of the iPhone, and it promises to be unraveled with profusion of details in the new book. “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone”, the journalist and editor of Motherboard Brian Merchant, to be released on the 20th of this month and already in pre-order on Amazon and iBooks Store.

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone

THE The Verge today he published an initial excerpt of the book and, with it, we already have some very fleshy details – and, until then, unpublished – about the trajectory of the first Apple smartphone, from creation to arrival in stores. Starting, for example, with the fact that the process would have even destroyed marriages that was so arduous.

“The iPhone is the reason I’m divorced,” says Andy Grignon, a senior iPhone engineer. I heard things like this more than once from my dozens of interviews with the device’s key engineers and architects. “Yes, the iPhone has ruined a good number of marriages,” says another. “It was really intense, probably one of the worst periods of my life, professionally speaking,” says Grignon. “Because you create a pressure cooker with a bunch of really smart people with an impossible deadline, an impossible mission, then you hear that the company’s future is based on that. So it was almost a soup of misery. There was no time to put your feet on the table and say ‘this is going to be a great day’, it was always ‘fuck, we’re screwed’. Every time you turned around, there was an imminent death on the prowl. ”

One of the most interesting parts of the released segment, however – and which has already caused controversy – has to do with one of the key names behind the iPhone: Phil Schiller. According to Tony Fadell, also one of Apple’s top executives at the time of the device’s creation, Schiller is “a stubborn figure” and has long resisted the idea of ​​creating a smartphone without a physical keyboard. Fadell’s words about the former colleague are not very friendly:

He just sat there, guarded all the time, saying “no, we need to have a physical keyboard. No. Physical keyboard. ” And he never listened to our arguments while we said “no, Phil, it works now”, and he said “it takes a physical keyboard!”

Schiller did not, according to reports in the book, have the same technological verve as many of the other executives. “Phil is not a tech guy,” says Brett Bilbrey, former head of Apple’s advanced technology group. “There were days when you had to explain things to him like he was a kid at school.” Jobs liked him, according to Bilbrey, because he “looked at technology like average Americans do, like grandpa and grandma did.”

Eventually, according to the book, Schiller was convinced that a virtual keyboard on the iPhone’s multi-touch screen would work and the plan went as expected. But, according to himself, none of this is quite true:

Khyle Deen: Horrified to learn that @pschiller fought for a physical keyboard on the iPhone. Hard to think about it after ten years.

Phil Schiller: It is not true. Don’t believe everything you read …

Schiller’s answer, as is well known, serves to put everything we read in perspective – even a book done with care, from in-depth research, can have its inconsistencies and errors there. Nobody really knows what happened there in the days of the creation of the iPhone, but the truth is that the process created its good dose of enmities and dislikes – as can be seen by Fadell’s unfriendly words in relation to the current senior vice president of marketing. of the Apple.

We hope that the complete book, when it comes out, will bring us more details about this story – after all, whether in fiction or in real life, we all like a good conflict, right?

Update Jun 14, 2017 at 09:20

And we already have one more reaction about the controversial paragraphs about Phil Schiller. With the word, Tony Fadell:

I respect @pschiller as a colleague and as a friend. The story about him is not true. I asked the writer to correct the record.

This answer, of course, raises a few more very thorny questions. Fadell’s statement about Schiller, in the excerpt published in the book, is in quotation marks; that is, considering that the play was written by a respected journalist, it must be believed that Fadell spoke those words, letter by letter – otherwise, the book already born with serious credibility problems.

Of course, we have another possibility, which is that Fadell actually said that and is now sorry for buying a bad fight with Apple, his former home. Perhaps, with the rest of the book, we can have a clearer idea of ​​the steps in the process and dispel this very controversial initial impression – but for that, we will have to wait until June 20.

Update II, by Rafael Fischmann Jun 14, 2017 at 22:07

The thing is heating up. In several responses posted on Twitter, the author of the book guarantees that he did not distort Fadell’s words and that he even recorded his personal interview with him on audio.

Considering this, we have two possibilities: 1. or Fadell invented such a story while talking to Merchant, or 2. Fadell deeply regretted what I said to him at the time.

Something tells me that this story does not end here.