Tony Fadell, Father of the iPod: From Apple to Nest Labs, always a designer

“Computers have fascinated me for as long as I can remember,” Tony Fadell writes for The New York Times. “In grade school, I took a summer programming class, using a mainframe computer with punch cards. My grandfather helped me buy an Apple II; he didn’t know anything about computers but recognized that, for me, it was an important tool — just like his hammers and drills. In high school, a friend and I started a small company, Quality Computers. We worked from his parents’ basement, reselling Apple II hardware and writing software.”

“Music has always been one of my passions,” Fadell writes. “[In 2001], Apple Computer hired me as a consultant in designing what would become the iPod digital music player. Computers plus music plus Apple — it was another dream gig. Eight weeks later, I approached Steve Jobs with the initial iPod concept and was put in charge of building and leading the development team. One iPod led to another, eventually becoming 18 generations of iPods — and then three generations of the iPhone. My wife also worked at Apple. Eventually I wanted to spend more time with our two children, and I also wanted a break. So in 2008, I stepped away as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division and became a strategic adviser to Mr. Jobs. He was an incredible influence on how I think about bringing products to market.”

“After leaving Apple, we decided to build a ‘green’ home in Lake Tahoe, Calif,” Fadell writes. “While researching heating and cooling systems, I realized that the thermostat was ripe for innovation. I founded Nest Labs to build the self-programming Nest Learning Thermostat.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you’re in the market for a thermostat (or even if you’re not), there’s only one thing you need to know: You want the Nest Learning Thermostat.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]


  1. I installed 3 Nest thermostats in my house. The best thing you can ever do to control your heating and cooling costs, and make your home more Apple-like. Plus, its the first programmable thermostat that you don’t need a 50 page instruction manual for.

  2. We got the Nest thermostat a couple months ago, couldn’t be happier! Previously I had bought a filtrete programmable thermostat and it was horrible, not only that, when you had to replace the batteries annually, it would lose all the programming and you’d have to start from scratch each and every damn time. How frustrating is that? Thank you Tony for making my life less complicated by having your thermostat, its great to adjust it remotely and see monthly reports of my energy usage and how to improve it I love it!

  3. When I first installed the Nest, one of the first feelings I had was this overwhelming feeling of sadness…

    I thought of all the people who worked for other companies that made thermostats and felt really sorry for them. I mean, I imagine these people, with families to support, going to their jobs day after day, year after year, and cranking out either dumb thermostats or really crappy “smart” ones and then all of a sudden Nest gets introduced.

    It would be like working at company that made phones when the iPhone was introduced. It’s so sad to think, ‘what have you done with your lives?”

  4. Nice. HVAC is also my passion. If he means individual thermostats on radiators they are of no use. But I guess he don’t. I more like the thermostat as a part of the heating appliance, not as some separat controll unit somewhere else. Coupled with allot of feed back information, in and out temp, warm water, energy consumption and much more and connected to a weather service it could really see a reinvention. And of course, you can connect it to a PC, reach it from the Internet and your smarty phone, import graphs to your PC over different data etc. Atwater that is what I would like to see.

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