"Project Purple" and the pre-history of the iPhone

The single most fascinating aspect of the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung trials continues to be the wealth of historical information they're unearthing about the design and development of the iPhone and iPad. Yesterday, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing. Phil Schiller, and senior vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall, both took the stand and shared an unprecedented look into the events and timelines surrounding the creation of Apple's iPhone and iPad. Bryan Bishop broke down the testimony for The Verge. Here's the timeline:

  • Phil Schiller said the project began with the idea of putting entertainment content on phones. (Because phones back then weren't as good as iPods)
  • In 2003, Apple began working on the tablet that would become the iPad
  • In 2004, they shifted focus from tablet to phone, and the device that would become the iPhone
  • They used a table view as a proof of concept. (We've heard this from Steve Jobs before -- that he was sold on the project after seeing inertial scrolling and the rubber-band physics.)
  • Forstall was only allowed to recruit from within Apple, and couldn't tell anyone what they'd be working on until they were on board. (He could tell them they'd be giving up nights and weekends.)
  • Forstall repeated the Jobs' mantra that they made the phone they themselves wanted to own
  • Of the various "colors", "Project Purple" went ahead as the iPhone project and the building the team took over became the "Purple Dorm", complete with a "The first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club" poster on the door.
  • Forstall had the idea for tap-to-zoom while using early prototypes.
  • Schiller said sales for the original iPhone exceeded expectations.
  • Schiller said sales of subsequent iPhones have been greater than all generations previous.
  • After the iPhone, Apple moved back to the iPad project.
  • Schiller said Apple was going for great design, ease of use, and lust factor with the project.

So, not only have we seen early prototypes of both devices, including the "Project Purple" prototype itself, but we're getting even more information about the timeline and the thinking behind the product development process.

And again, the typically ultra-secretive Apple's willingness to share this information provides tremendous insight into just how genuinely they feel wronged and want to absolutely trounce Samsung in court.

And it's only been the first week.

Source: The Verge

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.