Inside Apple’s 6-month race to make the first iPhone a reality

“Everyone agreed that Steve Jobs’s iPhone demo back in January 2007 had been flawless — remarkable even. He’d taken a barely working iPhone prototype and, with some engineering sleight of hand, made millions want to buy one right away,” Fred Vogelstein writes for Wired. “But sleight of hand wouldn’t cut it when the iPhone actually went on sale June 29. Consumers would expect it to work as flawlessly as Jobs made them look onstage. And the iPhone team knew they were going to need every hour between early January and that immovable on-sale date.”

“It may have looked like Jobs already had zillions of iPhones ready for sale,” Vogelstein writes. “In truth, all Apple had was a few dozen dozen prototypes. And those prototypes were so fragile they couldn’t withstand ordinary shipping from Apple’s Asian factories, let alone daily use. They only made it to the iPhone January unveiling because an Apple executive had flown to Asia and flown back with them as carry-on luggage.”

“Getting the iPhone ready for sale wasn’t the only distraction Apple engineers had to contend with in early 2007,” Vogelstein writes. “To get the iPhone built, Jobs had pitted two of his star executives against each other — Scott Forstall and Tony Fadell — to see who could come up with the best product. The fallout from that two-year fight was now rippling through the corporation. It had been an ugly war, full of accusations of sabotage and backstabbing, pitting friends against friends.”

“Forstall had been so aggressive in his effort to beat Fadell that it scared people. Many wondered whether there was anything he wouldn’t do to get ahead. CEO Tim Cook would eventually push Forstall out of Apple in 2012. But back in 2007 it looked as if he were going to be there forever, and when he was put in charge of all iPhone software in 2007, a huge exodus of talent followed. Those who stayed got to watch Forstall’s naked ambition on full display,” Vogelstein writes. “Even his fans admit that before he left, he had become a cliché of a difficult boss — someone who takes credit for underlings’ good work, but is swift to blame them for his own screw-ups. When Jobs was alive, Forstall drove colleagues mad with his sanctimonious ‘Steve wouldn’t like that’ critique, and he made no secret of his seeing himself as the eventual Apple CEO.”

Tons more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: The upheaval caused by the iPhone caused upended pretty much everything.

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  1. So what did those people who left the the biggest software-hardware project in 20-30 years do? The person in charge had to be tough and smart if it was easy where is? Nokia, Blackberry, Microsoft and Palm.

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