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Former Apple product manager recounts how Jobs motivated first iPhone team

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
When late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs assembled his first iPhone development team, he wasn't focused on conceiving a device that would run all sorts of apps and media but instead laid out a simple mission to his team: to create the first phone people would love so much, they'd never leave the house without it.

This insight into the thought process during the early days of the iPhone's development was shared during a lecture at a California school by former iPhone product marketing engineer Bob Borchers, who may be best known for his appearances in some of the iLife and iPhone guided tour videos.

"What's interesting is that the challenge Steve laid out for us when we created the iPhone wasn't to make a touch-screen device that would play apps and do all of this stuff," Borchers told students. "His [charge] was simple. He wanted to create the first phone that people would fall in love with. That's what he told us."

"Now if you're an engineer, like I am by training, you're like 'what the heck does that mean?'," he said. "But he was right. The idea was, he wanted to create something that was so instrumental and integrated in peoples' lives that you'd rather leave your wallet at home than your iPhone."

Borchers noted that Apple's success largely stemmed from focusing on only a handful of fundamental concepts: break the rules but do so in an exceptionally well manner, pay attention to detail and make people "think differently" about the relationship they have with their device, especially given that smartphones already existed in the market.

The product had to be a revolutionary mobile phone, the best iPod to date, and also let users carry "the internet in their pocket," the latter of which was somewhat of a foreign concept at the time, Borchers said. Downloadable apps, advanced GPS capabilities, video and photography features, and voice integration weren't part of the original mandate.

Instead, those featured blossomed from Apple's successful formation of a platform that could continue to surprise and delight users over time, with Jobs in particular exercising his penchant for perfection and attention to detail every step of the way.

For instance, Borchers recounted how the original iPhone almost shipped with a plastic touchscreen but right before its debut, Jobs confronted his team with the concern that while the plastic would protect the underlying LCD, it would scratch when users kept it in their pocket with keys and other items. This prompted his team to improvise on the spot, convincing Corning to resume production of its then-abandoned Gorilla Glass, which turned out to be the superior solution.

Similarly, Borchers also detailed Apple's well-known obsession with product packaging, saying that Apple spends "way too much time on" product presentation but its ultimately worth it because it effectively communicates to consumers that the product inside the box is special.

Meanwhile, Jobs and his team also did their part to break the rules of engagement when it came to dealing with its first official wireless carrier AT&T. As was customary at the time, the carrier wanted to purchase all of the phones outright from Apple and then turn around and market them to customers on its own.

"[We said] 'no, we don't want to do that,'" Borchers said. "We want to be able to sell the iPhone. We want to be able to talk directly to the customer. That was a big, big change for the industry.” 

The former product manager also showed students a couple of early iPhone ads, noting that the time on the iPhone in the commercials is always set for 9:42 a.m. because it represents the exact moment the iPhone was originally introduced. Borchers also pointed out that the phone number used to demonstrate the Google Maps function in one of the original iPhone ads was the actual number for Pacific Catch in San Francisco which still offers its calamari "iPhone special."

Borchers ultimately left Apple following the launch of the iPhone 4 to become a venture capitalist with Opus Capital. Apple and the iPhone had gotten "so big," he explained, that it was contrary to his passion for helping others get their own products off the ground, so he left to "get small again."

Borchers's lecture was captured by a student and posted to YouTube but those videos were quickly removed this morning after MacNN helped syndicate them to other journalists.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The idea was, he wanted to create something that was so instrumental and integrated in peoples' lives that you'd rather leave your wallet at home than your iPhone."

And NFC will make that an absolute reality.

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post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Borchers's lecture was captured by a student and posted to YouTube but those videos were quickly removed this morning after MacNN helped syndicate them to other journalists.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]

didn't borchers know he was being "filmed"?... thus doesn't the student have the right to leave the video on youtube?... unless the student's video has been sold to macnn
post #4 of 25
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And NFC will make that an absolute reality.

How about a drivers license app. Anyone think that would work? I do.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MauiJoe View Post

How about a drivers license app. Anyone think that would work? I do.

A workaround - take a photo of your DL, as well as any other cards such as medicare, hospital cards etc. with your iPhone and save them in DropBox or similar. Password protect and Voila!
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

A workaround - take a photo of your DL, as well as any other cards such as medicare, hospital cards etc. with your iPhone and save them in DropBox or similar. Password protect and Voila!

That won't work, a digital image is obviously easy to alter. Besides, licenses have that barcode on the back that lots of bars and cops use rather than what's printed on the ID itself.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

That won't work, a digital image is obviously easy to alter. Besides, licenses have that barcode on the back that lots of bars and cops use rather than what's printed on the ID itself.

So take a picture of the barcode. Its scannable. And yes, you can alter a digital image and the cop may not like it but in conjunction with other id in your pocket he might be amenable and let you off, or amenable and write you a ticket anyway ;(,
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Borchers ultimately left Apple following the launch of the iPhone 4 to become a venture capitalist with Opus Capital. Apple and the iPhone had gotten "so big," he explained, that it was contrary to his passion for helping others get their own products off the ground, so he left to "get small again."

He could have stayed at Apple and started new projects from scratch and then farmed them out as the projects neared reality and production... over and over again. We haven't hit the peak of digital/electronic development and inventive minds will always be needed to solve simple and complex problems.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

So take a picture of the barcode. Its scannable. And yes, you can alter a digital image and the cop may not like it but in conjunction with other id in your pocket he might be amenable and let you off, or amenable and write you a ticket anyway ;(,

CA driver's license have a mag stripe. A picture of that is worthless.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimgh View Post

CA driver's license have a mag stripe. A picture of that is worthless.

It doesn't matter. I can't see any police officer accepting a picture on an iPhone in lieu of a license. It was a terrible idea.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

A workaround - take a photo of your DL, as well as any other cards such as medicare, hospital cards etc. with your iPhone and save them in DropBox or similar. Password protect and Voila!

I actually use 1Password exactly for that purpose. Besides the virtual wallet where you can store all of the data from credit cards, identification cards (DL, passport, Social Security), and membership cards I also scan a copy and 1Password lets you attach the scanned image to the record. I've lost count of how many times I've needed something like my wife's SSN or had to provide a copy of my DL where this has been very handy. I'm not suggesting it can be used with an official like a police officer or to get you into a bar, but there are plenty of usage scenarios where it is invaluable.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It doesn't matter. I can't see any police officer accepting a picture on an iPhone in lieu of a license. It was a terrible idea.

I have used pics of my CA DL, registration, and proof of insurance on my iPhone and the California highway patrol as well as the Santa Clara county sheriffs did not bat an eye.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bspears View Post

I have used pics of my CA DL, registration, and proof of insurance on my iPhone and the California highway patrol as well as the Santa Clara county sheriffs did not bat an eye.

Did you accidentally forget your license?

Or do you routinely drive without having those physical documents?
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MauiJoe View Post

How about a drivers license app. Anyone think that would work?

The State Farm Insurance app includes an image of my insurance card. This is handy because we're supposed to keep one in the car, one in my wallet and one in my wife's wallet but they only ever send us two copies. Fortunately I haven't had a need to use it.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

Did you accidentally forget your license?

Or do you routinely drive without having those physical documents?

First time I had forgotten my wallet. Second time I just used my iPhone.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It doesn't matter. I can't see any police officer accepting a picture on an iPhone in lieu of a license. It was a terrible idea.

Thee was a recent news story of a Canadian man allowed to enter the US with only an image of his passport on an iPad.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1109955

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post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimgh View Post

CA driver's license have a mag stripe. A picture of that is worthless.

California also has a law that the police can impound your vehicle for 30 days without question if caught driving without a license. I would be willing to bet if you only had your iPhone image of the front of your license you would get a pass. Although there is a mag stripe on the back, every police cruiser has a computer that can look up your DL # to see if there are any warrants etc.

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post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

.. Steve Jobs ... laid out a simple mission to his team: to create the first phone people would love so much, they'd never leave the house without it.

It's just a different mindset. He didn't say 'price.' Didn't say 'features.' Didn't say 'make it cool.' He didn't say '30% operating margins.' He didn't come up with fancy 2x2s, NPV analyses, and PPT (well, Keynote) presentations.

That's what the also-rans simply don't get. They can't clone this mindset.

Hopefully, it is now indelibly etched in Apple's DNA.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...with Jobs in particular exercising his penchant for perfection and attention to detail every step of the way....

Reminds me again of the immeasurable influence that SJ had on Apple products. With him gone, I still find it hard to believe that the same quality and perfection will continue to exist at Apple. I guess we will soon find out...
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

It's just a different mindset. He didn't say 'price.' Didn't say 'features.' Didn't say 'make it cool.' He didn't say '30% operating margins.' He didn't come up with fancy 2x2s, NPV analyses, and PPT (well, Keynote) presentations.

That's what the also-rans simply don't get. They can't clone this mindset.

Hopefully, it is now indelibly etched in Apple's DNA.

Exactly.

Here is a video explaining Apple's mindset. It's referring to computers, but the overall message applies to Apple's other products as well.

Steve Jobs - "Our goal is to make the best personal computers in the world and to make products we are proud to sell and would recommend to our family and friends... there's some stuff in our industry that we wouldn't be proud to ship... we just can't ship junk..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...8gnUCWzE#t=34s
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Thee was a recent news story of a Canadian man allowed to enter the US with only an image of his passport on an iPad.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1109955

It helped that he "looked" Canadian, probably with no foreign accent and his first name was not Mohamed!
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sip View Post

He could have stayed at Apple and started new projects from scratch and then farmed them out as the projects neared reality and production... over and over again. We haven't hit the peak of digital/electronic development and inventive minds will always be needed to solve simple and complex problems.

That is one of Steve's greatest triumphs... He always thought, to his dying day, that there was still so much to do. *sniff* Where so many others would have thought they reached the summit and the only way was back down.
post #23 of 25
Steve was a driven CEO, with passion for excellence. I studied his life story and published an article on Amazon Kindle to explain why he accomplished so much. Please check it out at
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZZQIHI

Thank You.

[QUOTE=AppleInsider;2037191]When late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs assembled his first iPhone development team, he wasn't focused on conceiving a device that would run all sorts of apps and media but instead laid out a simple mission to his team: to create the first phone people would love so much, they'd never leave the house without it.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by haar View Post

didn't borchers know he was being "filmed"?... thus doesn't the student have the right to leave the video on youtube?... unless the student's video has been sold to macnn

Yeah, I didn't sell it to them. Apple legal got involved with the school district and Bob and based on what my teacher told me, they were pissed. That's why I took the vids off. And, no, you will not get emailed the videos.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

So take a picture of the barcode. Its scannable. And yes, you can alter a digital image and the cop may not like it but in conjunction with other id in your pocket he might be amenable and let you off, or amenable and write you a ticket anyway ;(,

Traveling is a right and does not require a license in a de jure state. My license expired back in May. I will mail it back to where it came from.
Always remember..wherever you go, there you are.
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