Tog: Apple’s iPhone will be a hit and why it’s so far ahead

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.

53 Comments

  1. The only thing that will be hit is your bank account. Only the ultra-rich could possibly afford a phone that runs $3000/year. It is obvious that Apple hates the poor, blacks, and hispanics because they do not put those groups in their ads. They are truly the most racist company on the planet. Is this who you want to give your money to? Are you a racist too?

  2. Tog’s been pretty hard on Apple ever since he left. For instance, he thinks that the OS X dock is the root of all evil, and has since 10.0.0. So hearing gushing praise like this from him is noteworthy.

    MW – “human”, as in “interface guidelines”

  3. I’ll be spending $1380 in the first year and $780 in the second year. With my current phone and plan, I’d spend $492 each year. That makes the 2-year cost of the iPhone $1176, which includes the data service (which I want to have anyway but currently do not). Nowhere near $3000 — I’m sick of hearing stupid numbers like that.

  4. Actually, yes. This IS the company I want to give my $$ to. As soon as some of these other also-rans start doing real work and start making products I actually want then I’ll consider going in that direction. Until then, piss off. Oh, and if you’re not buying an iPhone, I guess that means there’ll be one more chance for me to get one.

    Sorry but my time is far too valuable to sit in line for days (or even hours). If there are any left on Saturday I’ll try then.

  5. “I think it is fair to say that this 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.”

    Exactly!

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