Apple engineer Greg Christie recounts the first iPhone development process

The history of the first iPhone is an interesting tale and no matter who tells it, it often involves some never before heard situations. This time around, it's one of the original iPhone engineers, Greg Christie who was made available to the WSJ ahead of the latest Apple vs. Samsung legal battle to discuss some of the development process behind the original iPhone.

A lot of what has been detailed was known previously but some of it, such as the ultimatum posed to Greg Christie and his team at the time, are new and interesting highlights. Struggling to figure out how things should look and be able to work together as device, Jobs noted to Christie that the team had two weeks or he would assign the project to another group.

"Steve had pretty much had it," said Mr. Christie, who still heads Apple's user-interface team. "He wanted bigger ideas and bigger concepts."

That ultimatum prompted Christie and his team to work harder and eventually come up with many iPhone features, such as the now widely used swipe to unlock as well as the touch-based music player according to the report.

Keeping the stories of just how secretive Apple really is as a company alive, Christie also recounts how he was recruited to work on the iPhone and highlights, without giving out any number, how shockingly small the team was in late 2004 and how employee's working on the project were to handle working on the project outside of Apple.

Mr. Christie was working on software for Apple's Macintosh computers when Scott Forstall, a senior member of the company's software team, walked into his office, closed the door and asked if he wanted to work on a secret project, codenamed "purple."

Mr. Jobs ordered employees working on the project at home to use a computer in a secluded part of the house to prevent anyone from accidentally seeing details. He also demanded that employees encrypt digital images of the device.

The article goes on to cover what most folks already know. Steve Jobs was obsessive over every little thing on the iPhone and rightfully so. Things such as what music was to be shown off during the demo and even feature changes such as the removal of a split screen email view were being discussed only six months before the final unveiling.

It's a fascinating read, if you happen to have a WSJ account you can hit the link below to check out the full article.

Source: WSJ

Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Reader comments

Apple engineer Greg Christie recounts the first iPhone development process

3 Comments

Just search the article title in Google, click the link for it, and you should be able to read the entire article.

The plural of "employee" is "employees", not "employee's" (5th paragraph). People constantly use the possessive ('s) when they mean to communicate a plural (just an s on the end). Drives me crazy.