Writing for Backchannel, Steven Levy published an interview with Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, in celebration of the ten years of the iPhone.
Levy began by narrating an interview with Steve Jobs in 2007, shortly after the device was introduced to the world. When he asked «Why a cell phone?» Jobs said – ironically – that he had «studied» and «analyzed the market» and «saw that they could make a lot of money out of it». Then, of course, he denied, saying that «this is not the face of the company». Even though it was only a joke at that time, the product really grew so much that, in the last quarter, the revenue with iPhones was US $ 51 billion (75 million units sold), which represented two thirds of the total amount collected by the company entire.
So Levy’s first question to Schiller – who has been with the company since 1997 and participated in the development and launch of the iPhone – was whether they had a sense of how big their new product would become.
Yes, but not on the scale it has become. We knew that we were working on something important that was big for Apple and that the world was paving the way for these things in the future. But we didn’t know how big it would be and we didn’t know how many things were going to come from there.
As we know, today what prevails in us iDevices are applications made by third-party developers; but initially, this was not a reality. Schiller said that during the development process, groups were divided between whether or not to allow third-party applications to exist on the new device. Jobs’s opinion prevailed.
Steve Jobs ended the discussion. He said: “We don’t have to continue to discuss this because we cannot have [um sistema aberto] now. Maybe we’ll change our minds later, or maybe not, but not for now, so let’s imagine a world in which we solve the problem with great native apps and a way for developers to make apps on the web. ”
A year after that, the flag of There’s an app for that! by allowing third-party applications on the iPhone, while maintaining a high pace of innovation. However, it may be that the leap that Apple has made has been so great that, in recent years, what has been said is that there are only small improvements instead of revolutions. The Apple executive, however, does not believe this.
I really think that the advances in the later versions are as big as the previous ones and, sometimes, even bigger. I think our expectations are changing more, not product advances. If you look at each version of the iPhone, from the original to the iPhone 3G, from 4 to 4s, you see big changes in everyone. You see the screen size change from 3.5 ″ to 4 ″, to 4.7 ″ and 5.5 ″. You see cameras going through incredible changes; from the first camera that couldn’t record videos to having a front and rear camera and now with three cameras, support for Live Photos and 4K videos.
Saying that the quality of iPhones is “incomparable” and with a speech that he prefers quality over low prices and “quantity”, Schiller looks to the future with an air of hope. When asked if Apple could do something as big as the iPhone, the executive says that in 50 years people will look back and realize that there really would be «a lot to come».
Thinking about the relevance that a “pocket machine” will have from now on, the journalist asked Schiller about Siri and the emergence of an “era of the conversational interface” that many companies are already advancing. Of course, without losing the almost robotic speech, the Apple executive still says that “Apple does more in a conversational interface than any other” and that he prefers “artificial intelligence that fits in his pocket”.
The journalist then reminded Schiller that Amazon’s intention with its virtual assistant, Alexa, “is not a ‘stuck’ interface on a single device, but something ambitious and persistent based on the cloud that can listen to you anywhere” . Schiller’s response is somewhat intriguing, especially given the recent rumors that Apple is doing something similar to Amazon Echo.
People are forgetting the value and importance of screens. Some of the biggest innovations in the iPhone in the past ten years have been on the screen. The screens will not disappear. We still like to take pictures and we need to look at them, and an incorporeal voice is not going to show me what the image is.
The iPhone has undoubtedly revolutionized the industry as a whole and it is not surprising that Apple executives defend it tooth and nail.
You can access the full interview at this link.