Early iPhone engineer shares stories of Safari's move to mobile

Early iPhone engineer shares stories of Safari's move to mobile

What was it like moving Apple's Safari web browser from the Mac to the original iPhone? More interestingly, what was it like doing it under the attention of Steve Jobs? Former Apple engineer Francisco Tolmasky, one of the team members who helped do just that, spoke with Brian X. Chen about it as part of the publicity for his new iOS game, Bonsai Slice. There are lots of great anecdotes included, including how Ken Kocienda ended up creating the iPhone keyboard, insight into Don Melton's and Henri Lamiraux's teams, and, of course, Steve Jobs. The New York Times:

Mr. Jobs was notorious for throwing his weight around however he could. One person on the iPhone design team was also named Steve, which caused some confusion in meetings. Mr. Jobs sought to change this.

"At some point Steve Jobs got really frustrated with this and said 'Guess what, you're Margaret from now on,'" Mr. Tolmasky said. From there on, members of the team would always address the designer Steve as Margaret.

For some context on that, Steve Jobs was away on leave when the designer, Steve Lemay, came on board. So, during meetings, when "Steve" was asked for an opinion, Lemay was who they were talking to. When Jobs came back and they asked "Steve" for an opinion, Lemay, who was used to answering, answered. It happened twice, and then Jobs realized it would keep happening, so said — "Okay, from now on, when I'm in the room, your name is Doris!" (Or "Margaret", I'm sure recollections of the specific name vary.)

(That anecdote came up on a previous episode of Debug, along with a few others.)

I love that this kind of stuff is getting shared. The iPhone is one of the most important developments in recent technological history and how it came to be is a story that needs telling. It's part of reason we do the podcasts we do here at iMore, and why I link to as many other sources on it as I can. It's our history.

Check out all of Tolmasky stories, and more, via the link below, and let me know your favorites.

Source: The New York Times

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Early iPhone engineer shares stories of Safari's move to mobile

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What I find interesting is that in a large company like Apple, it seems like a select few actually do the important stuff. It's the old 80/20 rule. In any large group, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. It doesn't matter what the work is or what the group or organization is. The ratio is pretty accurate.