Tog Tognazzini joined Apple in 1978, Employee No. 66, and worked at the company for 14 years, founding the Apple Human Interface Group along the way. He explains why he thinks the iPhone will be a hit—and why Apple is so far ahead in a Q&A with BusinessWeek’s Jessie Scanlon.
A few samples of Tog’s replies:
It looks like the iPhone will be a hit out of the box. Both Steve Jobs and Apple now have 30 years experience bringing entirely new products to market. They know now to wait until the silicon technology is available that will allow them to produce a full-featured, mature product on Day One. [In contrast,] both Apple’s Lisa and Newton were terribly underpowered, leading to their failure in the marketplace. Gesture technology as incorporated in the iPhone has been under development in the lab for more than 15 years. It is well understood, and the power and speed of today’s silicon is well up to the task.
Steve is a man with three elements that make up the story of his success. First, he worships good industrial design and good behavioral design. He wants to make every product a jewel, something that can be exhibited in MOMA [the Museum of Modern Art] and that people will be attracted to. The second thing is his common sense, which is greatly undervalued as one of his strengths. He looks at something and knows whether it’ll work or if it’s simply a quirky, cute thing. The third thing is that he’s got a marvelous lack of fear, which could easily get him killed. He does things like betting the company on the Mac—or the iPhone. He’s more often right than wrong, so it pays off. But in my experience, his courage is something that’s sadly lacking at many other large corporations.
I think it is fair to say that [Apple’s iPhone] team is bringing out what would quite possibly be a sixth- or seventh-generation product for many of the giant, noninnovators that are dominating our industry today.
Much more in the full Q&A here.