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Wired on the untold history of the iPhone

post #1 of 39
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In a special 4-page report titled "How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry," technology magazine Wired delves deep into the origins of Apple's iPhone project, revealing a slew of previously undisclosed details surrounding the multi-year development of the device.

One insider speaking to the publication estimates the Cupertino-based company to have spent roughly $150 million building the touch-screen device over a period of about two years, including several million spent buying and assembling special robot-equipped testing rooms.

"To make sure the iPhone didn't generate too much radiation, Apple built models of human heads -- complete with goo to simulate brain density -- and measured the effects," wrote Wired's Fred Vogelstein. "To predict the iPhone's performance on a network, Apple engineers bought nearly a dozen server-sized radio-frequency simulators for millions of dollars apiece."

It all started after a failed partnership with Motorola that gave way to clunky and cumbersome ROKR handset capable of playing back iTunes. At that point, Apple chief executive is reported to have known that he would need to take matters into his own hands.

According to the report, he got together with Cingular in February of 2005 to discuss a Motorola-free partnership. It was a top-secret meeting in a midtown Manhattan hotel, where the Apple co-founder laid out his plans before a handful of Cingular senior execs, including wireless chief Stan Sigman.

During the meeting, Jobs reportedly delivered a three-part message to Cingular: Apple had the technology to build something truly revolutionary, "light-years ahead of anything else." Apple was prepared to consider an exclusive arrangement to get that deal done. But Apple was also prepared to buy wireless minutes wholesale and become a de facto carrier itself.

Jobs had reason to be confident, according to Wired, as Apple's hardware engineers had spent about a year working on touchscreen technology for a tablet PC and had convinced him that they could build a similar interface for a phone.

But Jobs was seeking flexibility from Cingular that was unheard of in the cellular industry, at least at the time. Negotiations over features, revenue share and marketing arrangements would reportedly take more than a year, with Sigman and his team repeatedly wondering if they were ceding too much ground.

At one point, Jobs is said to have pitched his ideas and demands to some executives from Verizon, who promptly turned him down.

By Thanksgiving of 2005, eight months before a final agreement was signed, Jobs decide not to wait for the finer points of the deal with Cingular to be worked out, and instead instructed his engineers to work full-speed on the project.

As was first reported by AppleInsider in December of 2006, Wired notes that Apple originally built a prototype of a phone, embedded on an iPod, that used the clickwheel as a dialer, but it could only select and dial numbers -- not surf the Internet. So, as the story goes, in early 2006, just as Apple engineers were finishing their yearlong effort to revise OS X to work with Intel chips, Apple began the process of rewriting OS X again for the iPhone.

Through it all, Jobs is said to have maintained the highest level of secrecy. The project, internally known as P2 (short for Purple 2), succeeded an abandoned iPod phone initiative dubbed Purple 1. Teams were reportedly split up and scattered across Apple's Cupertino campus. "Whenever Apple executives traveled to Cingular, they registered as employees of Infineon, the company Apple was using to make the phone's transmitter," Wired claims.

According to the technology mag, even the iPhone's hardware and software teams were kept apart: Hardware engineers worked on circuitry that was loaded with fake software, while software engineers worked off circuit boards sitting in wooden boxes.

By January 2007, when Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld, only 30 or so of the most senior people on the project had seen it.

AppleInsider highly recommends that readers check out Wired's piece in its entirety.
post #2 of 39
Sounds like a good story for a movie. I say Matt Damon as Jobs...
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post #3 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Sounds like a good story for a movie. I say Matt Damon as Jobs...

And Nicole Kidman as the one who locks herself in the office.

The story kind of tells me that they didn't know what they would end up with when they started, aside from it being a phone. The technology is being pushed to run OSX on a mobile.

The upshot is that the iPhone can only get better as hardware allows for a more featured OS. And guess what, nobody else has OSX. Oh, of course Android has Linux. I'll take the new 3G iPhone thank you.

Imagine browsing the new iTunes rental service from your iPhone, but sending the movie to your home ready for viewing when you get there.

Pete
post #4 of 39
A good read
post #5 of 39
That's too funny, you'd think they were working on some kind of military technology.
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post #6 of 39
Now, I think Apple should buy Akamai. Any comments to the opposite, I'd like to hear, as I haven't thought off too many.
post #7 of 39
That is funny. I came across this earlier this morning. I usually don't venture outside of a few select sites that herald all my Apple news. As usual, I could have waited for AI to post it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by petermac View Post

Now, I think Apple should buy Akamai. Any comments to the opposite, I'd like to hear, as I haven't thought off too many.

I don't know anything about Akamai. What would be the benefit to this?
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post #8 of 39
I don't know anything about Akamai. What would be the benefit to this?[/QUOTE]

Bandwidth infrastructure, they are going to need S..tloads of it.
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by petermac View Post

I don't know anything about Akamai. What would be the benefit to this?

Quote:
Bandwidth infrastructure, they are going to need S..tloads of it.

In the late 90s and early 00s, Apple owned AKAM stock, but they sold it at profit from around 2001 - 2003, IIRC. As long as Apple can get favorable bandwidth costs (as it does for chips for iPods), I don't see a reason to buy.
post #10 of 39
Bad form ripping the bulk of the article and placing the link at the end of the page.
post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Bad form ripping the bulk of the article and placing the link at the end of the page.

This is complete nonsense. We linked at the very beginning quite prominently, linked again at the end, and further suggest our readers make the jump to Wired and read all four pages of their article.

Thanks,

K
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post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

This is complete nonsense. We linked at the very beginning quite prominently, linked again at the end, and further suggest our readers make the jump to Wired and read all four pages of their article.K

Right on!
post #13 of 39
Is it me or do others find it significant that Wired is confirming that Apple ha been working on a touch screen tablet?

Thats the juiciest bit of the whole article for me.
post #14 of 39
Funny reading the old Kormac77 posts again...
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post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Is it me or do others find it significant that Wired is confirming that Apple ha been working on a touch screen tablet?

Thats the juiciest bit of the whole article for me.


Those were my thoughts exactly. I can hardly wait until next week.

I have my credit card ready.
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

That's too funny, you'd think they were working on some kind of military technology.

This kind of thing happens all of the time in business. I worked on a 'top secret' project to present to a movie studio behind locked doors late at night with an executive's direction and then the project was sprung on an unsuspecting company later on. We won the contract, by the way.

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post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottiB View Post

In the late 90s and early 00s, Apple owned AKAM stock, but they sold it at profit from around 2001 - 2003, IIRC. As long as Apple can get favorable bandwidth costs (as it does for chips for iPods), I don't see a reason to buy.

Well....if you consider that nearly everything Apple does is done better than anybody else by leaps and bounds...then you should also consider that owning their own network would enable them to likely provide the type of experience on a cell phone all the time that one can expect from their mac. And they'd likely figure out a whole lot of other cool things that could be done with one, as well as innovative ways they could use the bandwidth.

This level of experience happens with the UI of iPhone but falls short on the ATT network, which frankly blows.
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

That's too funny, you'd think they were working on some kind of military technology.

considering that business at this level IS a war, that's not an inappropriate analogy.
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by g5man View Post

Those were my thoughts exactly. I can hardly wait until next week.

I have my credit card ready.

I third that notion.

Quote:
Jobs had reason to be confident. Apple's hardware engineers had spent about a year working on touchscreen technology for a tablet PC and had convinced him that they could build a similar interface for a phone.

What does Wired know that we don't? Or, are they just reading into all the patent articles?
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

What does Wired know that we don't? Or, are they just reading into all the patent articles?

The article statesor implies that that the information was given first hand by people inside Apple.
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post #21 of 39
great!!!!! now with all the success of the iphone apple will get sued by "Infineon" for some bogus patent dispute----
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post #22 of 39
A very nice read indeed.

Actually another movie plot. At the moment I try to imagine Jobs "level stare" in the
hotel suite among all these suits, hehehe. Gorgeous.
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post #23 of 39
I work at a major company on top secret projects. People get fired for leaking images. One day someone down the hall brought in a visitor for lunch..and then POOF, their office was emptied out the next.
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

Well....if you consider that nearly everything Apple does is done better than anybody else by leaps and bounds...then you should also consider that owning their own network would enable them to likely provide the type of experience on a cell phone all the time that one can expect from their mac. And they'd likely figure out a whole lot of other cool things that could be done with one, as well as innovative ways they could use the bandwidth.

This level of experience happens with the UI of iPhone but falls short on the ATT network, which frankly blows.

Wouldn't it be cool if Apple was in TOP SECRET negotiations with google to be a silent partner with them to bid and WIN the upcoming FCC auction for the 700mhz wireless spectrum?
Or perhaps spend the cash alone and let Apple own the entire nation-wide network themselves?
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by g5man View Post

Those were my thoughts exactly. I can hardly wait until next week.

I have my credit card ready.

I don't smoke but I know what you mean.
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by McHuman View Post

I work at a major company on top secret projects. People get fired for leaking images. One day someone down the hall brought in a visitor for lunch..and then POOF, their office was emptied out the next.

LOL! And at the same time...oh snap!
post #27 of 39
You've got to be impressed that, with all the time, money, and human resources devoted to the thing that only about THIRTY people saw the final product before its announcement. Wow.
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post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by McHuman View Post

I work at a major company on top secret projects. People get fired for leaking images. One day someone down the hall brought in a visitor for lunch..and then POOF, their office was emptied out the next.

What was that person working on?

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post #29 of 39
this level of secrecy happens all the time.

a friend of mine was working on Jacques [the cleaner shrimp in the fish tank in finding nemo].
he did all of the modeling and about 200 stock animations.

he didn't know what setting the character was going to be in.
he didn't know who would voice the character.
he didn't know it was a movie, nevermind the name of the movie.
he didn't even do the skinning [textures], just the model & animations.
he didn't even know what COLOR Jacques would be.


...this DOES explain why the UI is so strange on the iPhone. one person working on a weather widget in shades of dark blue, one person working on a stocks widget in light blues, one on a clock [greys and pinstripes], one on photos [dark greys instead of blues], calculator [black], notes [brown and yellow]. when is this going to be unified?
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

one person working on a weather widget in shades of dark blue, one person working on a stocks widget in light blues, one on a clock [greys and pinstripes], one on photos [dark greys instead of blues], calculator [black], notes [brown and yellow]. when is this going to be unified?

I don't think many of these apps should be unified.

What does need to be unified is the scroll bar in Leopard among apps.
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post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

a friend of mine was working on Jacques [the cleaner shrimp in the fish tank in finding nemo].
he did all of the modeling and about 200 stock animations.

he didn't know what setting the character was going to be in.
he didn't know who would voice the character.
he didn't know it was a movie, nevermind the name of the movie.
he didn't even do the skinning [textures], just the model & animations.
he didn't even know what COLOR Jacques would be.

You sure sound like you know this friend's character really, positively, quite well!
post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecking View Post

That's too funny, you'd think they were working on some kind of military technology.

They were, that's why Jobs said "boom"
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

This is complete nonsense. We linked at the very beginning quite prominently, linked again at the end, and further suggest our readers make the jump to Wired and read all four pages of their article.

Thanks,

K

I agree, and took your advice and read it.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't think many of these apps should be unified.

What does need to be unified is the scroll bar in Leopard among apps.

I hacked them to be unified right away.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

Well....if you consider that nearly everything Apple does is done better than anybody else by leaps and bounds...then you should also consider that owning their own network would enable them to likely provide the type of experience on a cell phone all the time that one can expect from their mac. And they'd likely figure out a whole lot of other cool things that could be done with one, as well as innovative ways they could use the bandwidth.

This level of experience happens with the UI of iPhone but falls short on the ATT network, which frankly blows.

Unless Apple can drop fiber to every home in America, buying Akamai won't do much for the end-user experience. It's the proverbial last 100 feet that's the issue.

Unlike your position with AT&T, I can't recall anyone complaining about Akamai's network. Why would Apple purchase it if there's nothing wrong nor inhibiting its business? It's not as if in puchasing Akamai's servers they could be turned into an Apple-only network--kicking off Akamai's existing customers. Spending $4.5BN (AKAM's current market cap) for an iTunes store where Apple sees little profit?

A component of Apple's success is focusing on what it does well and partnering with those that also do well.

ETA: Coincidentally, I found a blog entry concerning a rumor of Apple perhaps dropping Akamai for Google.
post #36 of 39
I'm sure they cant have considered linux option for more than 30 seconds. it would have been an exceptionally dumb move.
post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I'm sure they cant have considered linux option for more than 30 seconds. it would have been an exceptionally dumb move.

Right, I agree, but that's how legends build up. The press
loves this kind of stories.
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post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The article statesor implies that that the information was given first hand by people inside Apple.

Jobs has stated in an interview around a year ago that Apple developed a PDA but never released it. I don't think it's much of a leap to assume this project was what got multitouch started, so I don't really think Wired is going out on a limb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olternaut View Post

Wouldn't it be cool if Apple was in TOP SECRET negotiations with google to be a silent partner with them to bid and WIN the upcoming FCC auction for the 700mhz wireless spectrum?
Or perhaps spend the cash alone and let Apple own the entire nation-wide network themselves?

What network? The auction is for bandwidth. Whoever wins will need to build or rent infrastructure over and above paying the winning bid.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

What was that person working on?


He could tell then, but then he'd have to kill you.

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