Scott Forstall describes iOS development, challenges in Samsung trial

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Following Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller, iOS head Scott Forstall to the stand to testify in the Samsung patent infringement trial.

Forstall introduced himself as managing iOS software for Apple, "the operating system that runs all iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch," as well as user interface design for both iOS devices and Macs.

He reports to the company's chief executive Tim Cook as serves as a member of the Executive Team, with 1,000 people directly reporting to him.

Forstall noted that he completed his undergrad and grad studies at Stanford University, earning a degree in symbolic systems, the intersection of computer science and linguistics, and a masters degree in artificial intelligence.

He reported that he first met Steve Jobs in 1992 at an initial interview at NeXT, describing Jobs as walking into his interview session, taking over the conversation, then informing him that he could expect a job offer from NeXT, and that NeXT expected him to accept it.

Forstall followed Jobs to Apple after its acquisition of NeXT in 1997. Through 2004, Forstall noted that he managed OS software in the transition of NeXT's technology to Mac OS X.

"I was one of the people who started the project and created a piece of it. Over time, I was responsible for more and more pieces," Forstall said, noting that he took over the whole OS.

Forstall said that the OS team at Apple "wanted an operating system that could last for another 20 years," noting that the Classic Mac OS Apple had during the 1990s "didn?t have those legs."

The development of iPhone & iPad

Asked by Apple's attorney to discuss the development of the iPhone and iPad, Forstall stated, "In 2003, we had built all these great Macs and laptops and we started asking ourselves what comes next. One thought we settled on was a tablet. We settled pretty quickly if we could investigate doing that with a touchscreen, so we started investigating and building prototypes."

Forstall added, "In 2004, I remember sitting with Steve [Jobs] and saying we all hated our cell phones. We were asking ourselves: could we use the technology we were using with touch and use that same technology for phone. Something that would fit in your pocket.

"I'll never forget," Forstall noted, "we took that tablet and built a small scrolling list. On the tablet, we were doing pinch and zoom. So we built a small list to scroll on contacts and then you could tap on it to call. We realized that a touchscreen that was the size that would fit in your pocket would be perfect for the phone. So in 2004, we switched over from developing a tablet to developing the iPhone."

Apple's Purple Project

Describing his role in developing the iPhone, Forstall stated, "in 2004, when we decided to build the iPhone, Steve knew that there would need to be a lot of different groups."

Forstall related that he was be responsible for building the software team. Jobs told him he couldn?t hire anyone from outside of Apple to work on the interface, but he could bring in anyone from within the company to work on the iPhone team.

"That was quite a challenge," Forstall said. "What I did was find people who were true superstars of the company, amazing engineers, bring them into my office and say, ?you?re a superstar in your current role. I have an other offer, another option. We?re starting a new project. It?s so secret I can?t tell you what that project is. I can?t tell you who you will work for. What I can tell you is if you chose this new role, you?re going to work hard, give up nights, work weekends for years."

Forstall added, ?we wanted to build a phone for ourselves. A phone that we really love. A computer in your pocket. We wanted to bring out something great without anyone else finding out what we?re doing so they wouldn?t leak it."

Asked if he was confidence his team would succeed, Forstall answered, "not at all."

Forstall described the iPhone team working in a locked down floor on the Apple campus, where all doors were secured with badge readers and activity was monitored by cameras. The iPhone project was given the code name Purple, so the building was called the "purple dorm."

"People were there all the time. It smelled like pizza," he said. Alluding to the movie "Fight Club," Forstall said, "The first rule of the Purple Project is you don't talk about the Purple Project."

Technological challenges of the iPhone

Forstall noted that a lot of the iPhone's innovation was related to the iPhone?s touchscreen, particularly its use of a capacitive touchscreen rather than the more commonly used resistive sensors designed to be used with a stylus.
Other challenges related to the fact that Apple software had historically been designed around the keyboard and the mouse.

"Every single part of the design had to be rethought for touch," Forstall stated. "We started with a brand new user interface. That?s one. Second, we didn?t want to have a physical keyboard on here. If you look back to even 2005 when the engineering team started on this, smartphones all had a physical keyboard. The most popular one at the time was the BlackBerry. People thought we were crazy."

Forstall also noted, "we wanted to give people the entire web, the entire Internet experience. And the Internet is designed for a much larger screen. When a web designer is building a site, they expect a [large] screen like this. We had a small screen. So we wanted to solve the problem of giving people the entire, Internet experience on this device."

Other companies were approaching the web on smartphones using WAP, a technology Forstall described as "a dumbed-down, baby Internet experience."

When asked how much investment went into creating the user interface, Forstall said that the task of building a user interface that could fit into a device one could use with your fingers was "immense."

Forstall noted that he "devoted years of my life to this," and described it as "very, very difficult."

Forstall describes the '163 tap to format patent

Asked about patent '163, which names Forstall as an inventor, he explained that it covers a lot. In browsing the web in a browser like Safari, Forstall explained, there are columns of horizontal stories representing content on web pages. The patent tries to address how to navigate among those stories by responding to user taps and double taps.

The patent describes technology that "makes it real simple for user to move around, navigate around the web site by double tapping on what you see," Forstall explained.

Asked how he developed the ideas, he stated that he devoted a lot of time practicing browsing on early prototypes. He noted that pinching in and out of the stories to get the zoom "just right" took a lot of time. Instead, he decided it would be better for the device handle this automatically: just double tap on the story and have it zoom up and center appropriately.

"The team went back and worked really hard" to figure out how to do that.Asked if the task was challenging, Forstall laughter and said, "understanding that [web page] structure -- and the structure the user cares about -- is part of the challenge."

Asked if this patent represents a "significant feature," Forstall answered, ?Absolutely! I remember what it was like before, during development and after. It allowed me to browse the web much more fluently.

"And we know from our users," Forstall stated, "that browsing the web is one of the things they do on their iPhone. It allows you to have a dramatically better experience."

Apple even created an advertisement based on this zooming feature, Forstall noted, which Apple's legal team subsequently demonstrated to the court.

Forstall's cross examination by Samsung

Samsung's cross examination first asked if Forstall recalled concerns about processor speeds compared with competing smartphones, and if the iPhone development team included looking at competitor's products, including Samsung's. Forstall said he agreed it was acceptable to look at other vendor's products.

Samsung next cited an email circulated between Apple's top executives where Steve Jobs commented on an existing click wheel-based Samsung phone and then stated "this may be our answer, we could put the number pad around our clickwheel." A second email, from Forstall, forwarded a press release for a different Samsung phone.

Asked if these were examples of Apple looking for inspiration at Samsung phones during the development of the iPhone, Forstall answered that he wasn't sure if Jobs was describing an aspect of the phone or referencing his own solution.

In a third Apple email Samsung presented, Forstall was asked if Apple was benchmarking competing phones, including those from Samsung. In reply Forstall noted that Apple was analyzing call performance of a number of phone models and carriers, and that the email was sent from a person who was performing a call drop test.

Forstall also clarified that Apple had acquired a variety of phone models to do feature analysis of how the phones handled calls, not to study their user interface and design. Forstall also noted he was aware that Apple had performed competitive teardowns of other mobile devices on the market.

Samsung's attorney specifically directed attention to Galaxy S features that are not on the iPhone (including Swype text input and aspects of the TouchWiz UI), oddly implying that Apple copied these features after performing a teardown of the unit.

An email circulating between Cook, Forstall and iTunes head Eddy Cue was next presented by Samsung, noting Cue commenting on the Galaxy Tab and stating that there would be a market for smaller 7 inch tablets.

"I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one," Cue said in the email. "I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time."

Samsung's attorney next asked about how a web page like the New York Times could be an electronic document with other documents embedded in it, apparel referencing Apple's '163 "click to focus" patent. Forstall answered that HTML provides a semantic structure, and that specific regions on the page aren't necessarily documents embedded inside of each other.

The attorney then challenged Forstall to answer whether Apple invented zooming in and out on a touchscreen, a question which Apple's attorneys objected to. The attorney then asked if Apple invented touchscreens, and Forstall answered that he didn't know the extent of Apple's patents and therefore had to answer that he did not know.

Asked if it was acceptable to benchmark other vendor's products, Forstall answered,"it?s fine to benchmark for performance reasons. It?s not ok to copy and rip something off."

Asked if he told anyone at Apple to copy Samsung's designs, Forstall replied, "I never directed anyone to go and copy something from Samsung. We wanted to build something great. There was no reason to look at anything they had done."

The attorney then challenged Forstall with an email from Jobs that was represented to mean he had found something worth copying, to which Forstall disagreed with that interpretation of the email.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    I know this is developing as we speak, but all the other sites reporting this news are able to do it without the huge number of grammatical mistakes.  
  • Reply 2 of 79
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,113member
    This is like a book that's writing itself.
  • Reply 3 of 79
    amoradalaamoradala Posts: 146member


    From Forbes.


     


    He’s (Forstall is) asked if he told anyone at Apple to copy from Samsung’s designs.


     


    “I never directed anyone to go and copy something from Samsung. We wanted to build something great…There was no reason to look at anything they had done.”


     


    Nice one Scott!

  • Reply 4 of 79
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    I know this is developing as we speak, but all the other sites reporting this news are able to do it without the huge number of grammatical mistakes.  

     


    What do you expect? They are typing it on a Mac in Office for Mac. The curly quotes and auto-correct in combination with the quirks of HTML entities require too much attention to detail to bother with when it really doesn't matter if the user reads the text or not once they have already logged a page view.


     


    EDIT: I see they are going through the post now to fix some of the mistakes as there are not nearly as many "?" mistaken question marks in the document now as there were in the original post. I think they might want to consider installing 'mbstring' as the www. server has that already but the 'forums' site apparently does not.


     


    yum install php-mbstring

  • Reply 5 of 79
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    amoradala wrote: »
    From Forbes.

    <span style="font-family:Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif;font-size:15.833333015441895px;line-height:20px;">He’s (Forstall is) asked if he told anyone at Apple to copy from Samsung’s designs.</span>


    <span style="font-family:Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif;font-size:15.833333015441895px;line-height:20px;">“I never directed anyone to go and copy something from Samsung. We wanted to build something great…There was no reason to look at anything they had done.”</span>


    <span style="font-family:Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif;font-size:15.833333015441895px;line-height:20px;">Nice one Scott!</span>
    Ooh that's gotta sting!
  • Reply 6 of 79
    Yeah, the grammar is a joke. Very very annoying having to internally correct the I tended grammar. It's as is a person not fluent in English wrote this -- as if I'm ready broken-English. I wouldn't comment but this is way to common on this site to be acceptable.
  • Reply 7 of 79
    Thank God Steve's not here to all of this Apple high-level, behind-the-scences stuff just NEEDLESSLY come pouring out over a case that, in all liklihood, will amount to nothing but appeals, settlements, etc.

    Nobody's paying anybody a billion dollars or whatever the amount is.
  • Reply 8 of 79


    lol, regarding the clickwheel question, Forestall should have added, "Oh, and by the way, since you bring it up, Samsung's clickwheel was in violation of Apple's clickwheel patent, so that too would have represented an example of their company utilizing ideas that weren't theirs to use."


     


    BOOM!


     


    That would have destroyed them!

  • Reply 9 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BoxMacCary View Post



     a case that, in all liklihood, will amount to nothing but appeals, settlements, etc.

    Nobody's paying anybody a billion dollars or whatever the amount is.


     


     


    $2,525,000,000.00


     


    I agree that this will last for years without complete resolution.  And I don't really see any possibility of important product bans here - the products involved are older models.  It's hard to say how this will all turn out. 

  • Reply 10 of 79
    The most interesting part of this trial is hearing Apple's process for designing something. The amount of time and effort they put into things and the attention to detail. And the fact they were thinking of these things years before the iPhone first came out.
  • Reply 11 of 79

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

     


    That's might be that they have real reporters, not D.U.D.

  • Reply 12 of 79
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Samsung lawyer asking Samsung witness why phones are rectangular like TV's. *facepalm*
  • Reply 13 of 79
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

    Samsung lawyer asking Samsung witness why phones are rectangular like TV's. *facepalm*


     


    Can a person be jailed for stupidity?

  • Reply 14 of 79
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    <vc><strong>Following Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller, iOS head Scott Forstall to the stand to testify in the Samsung patent infringement trial.</strong>
    He reports to the company's chief executive Tim Cook as serves as a member of the Executive Team, with 1,000 people directly reporting to him.
    Asked if he was confidence his team would succeed, Forstall answered, "not at all."

    meh. that's about as far i could get in the article before my head exploded as a result of the non-stop parade of grammar and syntax errors.

    or as appleinsider would put it: "that i could get Exploders, errors."
  • Reply 15 of 79
    misamisa Posts: 827member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Samsung lawyer asking Samsung witness why phones are rectangular like TV's. *facepalm*


    I think Samsung just went and bought the most expensive lawyer money can buy, and did nothing to check the competence in the tech field.

  • Reply 16 of 79
    pooch wrote: »
    meh. that's about as far i could get in the article before my head exploded as a result of the non-stop parade of grammar and syntax errors.
    or as appleinsider would put it: "that i could get Exploders, errors."

    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.
  • Reply 17 of 79
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

    indeed ... if only that were the reason.
  • Reply 18 of 79
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    The iPhone project was given the code name Purple, so the building was called the "purple dorm."

    "The first rule of the Purple Project is you don't talk about the Purple Project."

    I wonder if he got to be called Mr. Purple. He always wanted to be Mr. Purple:


    Asked if he told anyone at Apple to copy Samsung's designs, Forstall replied, "I never directed anyone to go and copy something from Samsung. We wanted to build something great. There was no reason to look at anything they had done."

    The attorney then challenged Forstall with an email from Jobs that was represented to mean he had found something worth copying, to which Forstall disagreed with that interpretation of the email.

    Good answers from Forstall, I wonder what the email from Jobs said.
  • Reply 19 of 79
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

    …I wonder what the email from Jobs said.


     


    No.


     


    Sent from my iPhone.

  • Reply 20 of 79
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    Marvin wrote: »
    …I wonder what the email from Jobs said.

    No.

    Sent from my iPhone.

    I meant the one where he supposedly suggests he may have found a product to reference.

    The more this court case goes on, the more I'm getting the impression these guys aren't really taking things too seriously:

    "There’s an issue with the microphones for sidebars and Samsung and Apple have offered to have their own technicians fix it (There’s a lot of laughter in the courtroom over that)."

    Some of Samsung's claims are bordering on ridiculous:

    "Samsung countered that Apple is doing the stealing and that some of the technology at issue - such as the rounded rectangular designs of smartphones and tablets - has been industry standards for years."
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