Apple insiders share the details behind one of the best demos in the history of technology, the original iPhone changed the mobile world forever but there was more behind the scenes than most people realised.

Andy Grignon says:

It’s hard to overstate the gamble Jobs took when he decided to unveil the iPhone back in January 2007. Not only was he introducing a new kind of phone — something Apple had never made before — he was doing so with a prototype that barely worked. Even though the iPhone wouldn’t go on sale for another six months, he wanted the world to want one right then. In truth, the list of things that still needed to be done was enormous. A production line had yet to be set up. Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs

Among the methods of preparation for this moment, the article lists:

  • using 6 different prototypes of an iPhone (due to frequent memory leaks and shutdowns)
  • bringing a portable cellphone antenna to boost reception
  • fake hardcoded full reception signal (while in reality the thing reset itself every few minutes
  • the iPhone couldn’t play a whole entire song without crashing, so they had to make sure they don’t do that

The full article is over at the NyTimes

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