In a discussion with Museum Historian John Markoff, former SVP at Apple, Scott Forstall has revealed how the original iPhone came to be, what went inside the company while engineering it, and just how passionate Steve Jobs was.
This is the first time that Forstall has spoken so publicly and candidly about the iPhone after leaving the company almost half a decade ago. The interview also reveals some very interesting tidbits about how the original iPhone came to be.
The biggest reason why the original iPhone was made? Some guy at Microsoft. Forstall says that Steve’s wife had a friend whose wife was at Microsoft. Anytime Steve and that person interacted, the latter would piss Jobs off by saying how Microsoft had solved computing with tablets and pens. One Monday, Steve came to Apple, mouthed a set of expletives and said: “Let’s show them how it’s done.” And that’s how the company started working on the original iPhone.
Initially, Apple engineers made a table in a room with a touchscreen on it. Since everyone inside Apple hated their phones, Steve wanted to scale the demo down into the size of a phone.
While there are quite a few other interesting tidbits about the iPhone revealed by Forstall in the interview, there’s one particularly related to him and Jobs that shows how much the latter cared about his friends and family. Forstall was dying and used to throw up constantly and lost a lot of weight in a few weeks. He was diagnosed with a very rare virus and his chances of survival looked bleak. Forstall had given up, but Jobs did not. He used to call every day and check in on him. Then, a few months later, Jobs got the best acupuncturist in the world to fix Forstall. And she did. In just a few sessions, Forstall stopped puking, was able to eat again, and eventually recovered from the virus.
Similarly, Forstall was with Jobs during his last days. He would visit Jobs every day in his house, talk, and demo Siri to him. Jobs loved Siri since he could talk to him without having to type. Jobs death devasted Forstall since he thought Jobs was always going to be around.
The full interview is just over 2 hours long but definitely worth a look since it reveals quite a fair bit about Steve Jobs and how the original iPhone came to be.[Via Computer History Museum]