With the iPhone’s tenth birthday coming up this week, CBS Sunday Morningaired a segment today taking a look back at the development and launch of the original iPhone.
The segment from David Pogue includes a roundtable session with Pogue, Walt Mossberg, Steven Levy, and Ed Baig, the four journalists who received review units of the iPhone in 2007 just prior to its launch.
“After three days,” said Mossberg, “I was ready to throw this thing out of the window for trying to type on glass.”
“It’s ten years later,” said Levy, “and half the emails I get still have a little message underneath saying, ‘Typed on phone, forgive typos’!”
Pogue also sits down for a brief interview with Bas Ording, one of the key Apple engineers behind the first iPhone.
Part of what made the iPhone a hit was that objects in that touchscreen world have their own physics. You can thank Bas Ording for some of it, like how lists have momentum when you flick them, or how they do a little bounce when you get to the end.
“And now, a billion people are using your idea,” said Pogue.
“Is it a billion? That’s a lot!” Ording laughed.
“Did anyone, at the time, on this team, have any idea how big this could be?”
“Oh, no, not at all. I didn’t, for sure.”
The segment doesn’t break any new ground on the background of the iPhone, but it’s a nice piece highlighting the milestone anniversary of the device that changed the world. Discuss this article in our forums
Apple is building a new flagship retail location in Chicago, which features glass walls and a thin, carbon fiber roof. Photos of the store’s roof were shared today by Chicago news site DNAinfo, and as it turns out, Apple has added a white Apple logo that wasn’t in the original plans, making the top of the structure look a lot like an Apple notebook.
The roof is made from a material that resembles the silver aluminum of the MacBook and MacBook Pro, with rounded edges and the same rectangular shape. When complete, it will sit atop all-glass walls, making for a unique floating MacBook-style design that’s not quite like any other Apple Store.
The new store, which is located near the historic Michigan Avenue Bridge alongside the Chicago River, has been designed by longtime Apple partner Foster+Partners in homage of Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style homes.
Based on plans from 2015, the building spans 20,000 square feet and replaces a vacant food court. It features two floors, with a flight of stairs that go from street level to a walkway next to the north bank of the river.
There is no word yet on when the new store will be opening, but construction is nearing completion. Discuss this article in our forums
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As we noted last week, today marks the release of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, a new book from Motherboard editor Brian Merchant chronicling the development of the original iPhone. I’ve had a chance to read through the book before its launch, and overall it’s an entertaining read, although it comes up a bit short in its promise to unveil the secret history of the landmark device.
The One Device is really a book in two parts, and the part directly covering the development of the original iPhone is actually only about 30 percent of the book, broken up into four chapters interspersed throughout. The remainder of the book covers topics that are related to the iPhone, but which are in most cases separate from the direct early iPhone history.
In the four chapters that cover the development of the iPhone, Merchant weaves together his own interviews with a number of engineers who worked on the original iPhone with tidbits and quotes pulled from other sources such as executives’ testimony in the Samsung trial, Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, and Brett Schlender and Rick Tetzeli’s Becoming Steve Jobs. Many of the members of the original iPhone team have left Apple over the past ten years, so some of those key former employees including Bas Ording, Richard Williamson, Imran Chaudhri, and the colorful Andy Grignon were willing to talk to Merchant about their time working on the project.
There are some interesting details about early work on multi-touch inspired by Wayne Westerman’s FingerWorks technology that was eventually acquired by Apple, Steve Jobs’ obsession with secrecy on the project that led to the team winning an internal “innovation award” at Apple’s annual “Top 100” retreat even though the project they working on couldn’t be revealed to the those in attendance, and the trials and tribulations faced by the small initial team working under signifiant pressure.
“That project broke all of the rules of product management,” a member of the original iPhone group recalls. “It was the all-star team — it was clear they were picking the top people out of the org. We were just going full force. None of us had built a phone before; we were figuring it out as we went along. It was the one time it felt like design and engineering were working together to solve these problems. We’d sit together and figure it out. It’s the most influence over a product I’ve ever had or ever will have.”
The “secret history” outlined in these chapters feels a bit on the light side, and it left me wishing Merchant could have dug into more detail on it. That’s understandably a difficult task given Apple’s penchant for secrecy that keeps many of those with direct knowledge off limits and others who were able to talk still limited in what they felt comfortable disclosing, but I was still hoping for a bit more.
The bulk of the book covers topics that are more ancillary to the iPhone’s development, areas such as raw material mining in Bolivia and Chile, working conditions in Foxconn’s Chinese facilities, and some of the additional history on multi-touch. Background on ARM processors, lithium-ion battery technology, and Corning’s Gorilla Glass help to fill things out, while a fairly extensive interview with Tom Gruber, one of the founders of Siri, helps the reader understand where Apple’s personal assistant came from.
Merchant spices up these chapters with his own first-hand experiences gained by traveling to many of the locations, offering not only vivid descriptions of the locations themselves but also in-person interviews with some of the innovators responsible for the technological leaps that eventually enabled the development of the iPhone.
Overall, the book reveals only a few new tidbits and insights on the actual creation of the iPhone, but it’s still interesting to hear some of these details shared directly by those who were there. Combine those stories with the background chapters on many of the components and technologies that have made their way into the iPhone, and for those reasons alone The One Device is a worthy read. It’s a nice overview for those who may not be steeped in the history of Apple and its devices, but it left me wishing for more depth in the areas that mattered most.
Microsoft this morning announced a series of new features coming to its Outlook for Mac 2016 software for Office 365 users, including those that will allow you to schedule your emails, track the message’s delivery, and find out if the email was read, among others. Some of the changes are rolling out first to those who receive early updates through Microsoft’s Office Insider Fast… Read More
Apple today announced that television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg will be joining the company to help craft its new slate of original video programming. The two will lead Apple’s video programming efforts on a worldwide scale and report to senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue.
Erlicht and Van Amburg are joining Apple from Sony Pictures Television, where they were presidents of the company since 2005 and helped produce shows like AMC’s Breaking Bad
and Better Call Saul, Netflix’s The Crown, Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, and more.
Erlicht said that he and Van Amburg will attempt to create content of “unparalleled quality,” matching Apple’s success in its other product categories.
“Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple — there is much more to come.”
“It will be an honor to be part of the Apple team,” said Jamie Erlicht. “We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in their other services and consumer products — unparalleled quality.”
“Apple has a relentless focus on delighting customers with their products,” said Zack Van Amburg. “We will bring that same intention to Apple’s programming and we could not be more excited about what lies ahead.”
The hiring announcement today represents Apple’s latest move into establishing its presence in the original TV production space, and comes on the heels of the debut of the company’s first show on Apple Music called Planet of the Apps. Later this summer, Apple Music will also debut Carpool Karaoke: The Series as its next streaming show.
In today’s press release, Apple talked up the pair’s history for creating diverse content — from sitcom The Goldbergs to supernatural action comedy Preacher — but no word was given on the specific kind of television that Erlicht and Van Amburg would be working on for Apple, or when any of the shows they produce might be coming out. Discuss this article in our forums
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