How Apple designed the iPhone for ‘normal people’


Apple vice president Greg Christie, who worked on the first iPhone, testified Friday in a San Jose, Calif. courtroom about the development of the device. Christie was testifying on behalf of Apple as part of the company’s $2 billion patent infringement case against Samsung.

Christie spoke about Apple’s painstaking development of the device, which took three years to build because Apple wanted to make a phone that was easy to use for the average consumer.

“One of the biggest challenges is that we need to sell products to people who don’t do what we do for a living,” Christie, one of the inventors of the slide-to-unlock iPhone feature, said. When designing products, Apple keeps in mind that it wants “normal people — people with better things to do with their lives than learn how a computer might work — to use the product as well as we can.”

One area that was particularly challenging for the team was making sure the phone was always available for the user. The team working on the UI for the iPhone wanted to have the phone’s screen always on so it was ready at a moment’s notice. This always-on state was impractical, so the team of software engineers, working in their spare time, designed the idea of a lockscreen.

“We knew we had to have a locked mode, or a locked state, where it wouldn’t let you do most things, except you could unlock it,” Christie said.

What came out these discussions was slide-to-unlock, an easy to use method to unlock a phone. This mechanism shipped on the original iPhone and is one of the patents at the heart of the infringement. Arguments by Apple and Samsung are expected to last until the end of April. Court will be in session each  Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. When each side has completed its arguments, the jury will begin deliberation which will last until a verdict has been reached.

[Via Re/Code and CNET]