Even after the massive success of the iPod, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs, was not content. IPods had been bigger than anybody had anticipated with 350 million units sold. Steve knew it was just a matter of time before technology with the pace it was moving at, overtook these music devices. Steve knew the next big technology would need to be a communication device… a phone but not just a any phone, but one that would cut across platforms. With his team of analysts, designers, engineers, and thinkers, Steve Jobs put down the challenge to them, to come up with a phone that would change the market forever.
Apple’s first smartphone
For their first smartphone, Apple collaborated with Motorola and came up with the ROKR E1. It was a disaster, and Jobs was not happy with Motorola. The phone was the first to be integrated with iTunes, Apple’s music platform.
But it had so many issues, like transfer of music, and was a headache to users with too many menus, making it an extremely slow and frustrating process. Another problem was storage, which only allowed users to store only 100 songs at a time. Its internal memory at a paltry 11MB and could only support a memory card of 512MB. ROKR E1 made it to Apple’s ten worst products list.
Back to the drawing board
Steve and his team then decided to take a closer look at the high-end phone market. They analyzed each of the phones and noticed they had hard keys and those that and screens with the use of the stylus, which Jobs disliked. Others had a rotating wheel which was used to navigate the phones. The engineers did not like what they saw in the other phones and settled for a rotating control wheel similar to the one iPod had. That design never saw the light of day, though.
While the engineers were still scratching for design, at the same time, Apple’s Research and Development Department(R&D), had been working on touch screen technology for a while.
Borrowing concepts from their other products
It all started with the Tablet that Apple was developing to replace laptops. The main feature of the tablet was that its design was all touch screen and was sensitive to the touch. When Jobs was called to see the prototype of the tablet, he was so impressed with the design that he decided that touch technology should be used on the phone they were planning to build first.
The iPhone team
Dubbed ‘project purple’, a few die-hard employees were picked to begin working on the iPhone. It was a top secret project with many of the staff at Apple having no clue as to what was going on. For the next few years, the team worked, slept and ate at the office. The first design that they came up with did not please Jobs. They went back and started a new one from scratch until he was satisfied with the design, hardware, and software.
The iPhone Launch
Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007, and the launch was done in June of the same year. Momentum towards the iPhone launch had been created, and the iPhone did not disappoint.