Steve Jobs wanted one iPhone feature to be very different

Original iPhone
Original iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new report claims Steve Jobs wanted one feature of the iPhone to be very different.
  • According to former iPod VP Tony Fadell, Jobs didn't want the new iPhone to include a SIM card.
  • Instead, he wanted to use CDMA to connect the iPhone to cell towers instead of GSM.

Apple's founder and former CEO Steve Jobs wanted the original iPhone to use CDMA instead of GSM technology so that the device didn't need a SIM card tray, according to former iPod VP Tony Fadell.

This week, Apple's former head of iPod took to the stage with Joanna Stern to promote his new book Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making at the Computer History Museum, as first noted by 9to5Mac.

Telling one story, Fadell revealed that Jobs wasn't a fan of the iPhone having a SIM card slot. Instead, he wanted it to be a seamless device stating "we don't want another hole in it."

According to Fadell, Jobs wanted Apple to use CDMA technology in its iPhone to connect to cell towers, rather than GSM. Fadell said that he had to convince Jobs that CDMA adoption simply wasn't widespread enough to be sustainable for the iPhone. While Apple did get round to a CDMA iPhone 4, the SIM tray persisted in all of Apple's best iPhones right up to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 released just last year.

Apple does now offer eSIM functionality on the iPhone in some countries, possibly paving the way for an iPhone of the future to eschew the SIM card tray altogether, which would be a welcome improvement for water and dust ingress, as well as providing more space internally.

Apple's iPhone 14 is expected later this year but may be eclipsed in 2023 by the iPhone 15. Multiple reports this week indicate that Apple is planning to ditch the Lightning port in the iPhone in favor of USB-C, in part to comply with an EU mandate off the charging standard expected to come into force in the near future.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9