The iPhone, Apple’s flagship device and arguably one of the most important inventions of the century, has long been attributed as a product of the genius of Steve Jobs. Apparently, though, it is also a product of his hate.
Scott Forstall, the co-inventor of the iPhone and former Apple senior VP of iOS, revealed that Jobs started working on the now-iconic device due to a feud with a Microsoft employee.
How Was The iPhone Created?
In an interview at the Computer History Museum, and in his first public appearance since his controversial exit from Apple due to the failure of Apple Maps in iOS 6, Forstall revealed the events that pushed Jobs to create the iPhone.
“It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. That is the actual origin,” Forstall said. That person was not Jobs’s longtime rival and sometimes friend Bill Gates but rather an unnamed Microsoft employee.
The Microsoft employee was the husband of a friend of Steve’s wife, Laurene. The couples often met in parties and other functions due to being in the same social circles, and every time Jobs ran into the man, “he’d come back pissed off,” Forstall narrated.
Setting the creation of the iPhone into motion happened at a weekend party, when the man told Jobs that Microsoft had “solved computing” through its early foray into tablet PCs. These devices, similar to the tablets of today, were lighter and smaller compared to computers and featured touch displays.
The fact that Jobs hated the most about the tablet PCs, leading to his irritation on the Microsoft employee’s comments, is that the devices only worked with a stylus. The Monday after, Jobs launched “a set of expletives” before starting to work on a touchscreen device that would outdo Microsoft’s tablet.
“First thing is, they’re idiots. You don’t use a stylus,” Jobs said, according to Forstall. Jobs said that users are prone to losing them, and they are counterintuitive considering that people are born with 10 styluses on their two hands.
The project started as a tablet, with Apple finding success in creating multi-touch displays. However, around 2004, Apple shifted from developing a tablet to creating a mobile phone after Jobs and Forstall entered a coffee shop. Jobs found that many customers were using their mobile phones, but they didn’t seem happy at all about it. Jobs considered it an opportunity and asked Forstall if the multi-touch display on the tablet that Apple was working on can be fitted on a mobile phone.
It was a “herculean” challenge to decrease the size of the multi-touch display, but Forstall knew that Jobs was right when the iPhone was completed.
“This is how phones need to be made,” Forstall said. The rest is history.
The Evolution Of The iPhone
The iPhone, ever since its announcement in 2007, has continuously evolved. The premium iPhone 8, which Apple is expected to reveal in September, is now a much more powerful and useful smartphone compared to its first iteration.
It is interesting to know that the creation of the iPhone was equal parts an emotional response and unique insight into consumer products. Nevertheless, Apple’s flagship product will not go anywhere as it evolves according to the needs of its users.