P1 vs. P2: How Apple picked what came to be the iPhone

“To understand the iPhone today, and how it has shaped Apple and pushed the world forward, it’s important to have a sense of perspective. A critical part of that is understanding how it all started – where the iPhone of today got its roots,” Sonny Dickson blogs. “Back in the beginning, there were two iPhone projects, the P1 and P2. Tony Fadell had the clout of being ‘Godfather’ of the iPod, but Scott Forsall had been working with Steve since NeXT. The iPhone P2 is what came to be known as the original selling model of the iPhone, paving the foundation of where we are today, 10 years in the future.”

“The P1 project is Tony Fadell’s project. The P1 iPhone is essentially an iPod OS on a touch screen device. At the time, the iPod had control of the market and people were very comfortable with the device. Then there was the P2 project, Scott Forstall’s,” Disckon writes. “Contrary to the P1 interface, the P2 OS used individual icons to interact with the phone rather than a scroll wheel. It was the first true touch and app driven phone experience.”

“When the iPhone was undergoing development, both projects ran what is know as Acorn OS and ran on the same hardware. Both teams were extremely competitive because both project teams wanted to impress Steve Jobs,” Disckon writes. “The P2 loads octopus whereas the P1 has the iPod classic logo. The P2 takes a significantly longer to load because it actually has a real OS, whereas the P1 takes much less time since the OS is slimmer.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A nice peek inside Apple’s process (at least as it existed under Steve Jobs) that shows Apple obviously making the right choice and why Fadell ended up leaving Apple to instead make heavily-recalled thermostats.


  1. True what MDN says about Fadell leaving, but Scott Forstall also left to almost uniform derision by Apple fans, including MDN I think. I think Apple could use more Scott Forstall now, even if he liked less fashionable icons, and less Jonny Ive and his love of chasing minimalism.

    1. There was nothing wrong with the icons. But the pundits had begun to whine like cicadas about the “stale” iPhone. They touted Microsoft’s innovative Metro interface and the modern look of Android. We users were swept up in the frenzy, the fun of deriding Apple’s fading glory. We learnt to spell, and be appalled by, skeuomorphism. Apple was losing its leading-edge cachet in the popular imagination—intolerable! Sound the alarm! Reorganise immediately! Place Sir Jony Ive in charge! Then he proceeds to relegate the GUI redesign to subordinates, handing them a primary colours paints set and a pamphlet by Mies van der Rohe. Thus emerged iOS 7. That was around the time I bought a new pink plastic wrist band for my Hello Kitty watch. One must keep up with fashion, after all.

  2. I remember all the rumors of a virtual click wheel being developed for the iPod. Looks like it was true but that the focus was on a phone. The iPod touch would come later.
    At least Apple looked at the 2 options. Obviously the icon based approach is better which is not surprising since Palm and Newton had already used this.

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