What Steve Jobs told original iPhone team

A former Apple product manager has revealed what Jobs told the team working on the first iPhone. And he wasn't as specific as you'd think.

Looking at the iPhone now, it's hard to think how it was originally conceived. How do you go about asking a team to come up with one of the world's most iconic gadgets?

Steve Jobs didn't mention apps, or media, or even a touchscreen. "His [charge] was simple," former iPhone product marketing manager Bob Borchers said during a recent lecture at a California school, AppleInsider reports. "He wanted to create the first phone that people would fall in love with. That's what he told us."

So where do you go from there? Borchers -- now a venture capitalist at Opus Capital -- was just as perplexed. "Now if you're an engineer, like I am by training, you're like 'what does that mean?'" he said. "But he was right. The idea was, he wanted to create something that was so instrumental and integrated in peoples' lives that you'd rather leave your wallet at home than your iPhone."

Jobs did elaborate somewhat, saying the device had to be a revolutionary mobile phone, the best iPod to date, and also let owners carry "the Internet in their pocket". There was no talk of apps (indeed, Jobs was initially against third-party apps), GPS, video or photography, or voice integration.

The iPhone almost shipped with a plastic touchscreen, until Jobs expressed concern at the last minute it would scratch too easily. The team improvised, and convinced Corning to resume production of its then-abandoned Gorilla Glass. Borchers also commented on Apple's insistence it would sell the handset and not give over all power to network AT&T.

So Jobs' original vision was not quite as concrete as we'd have thought. Is the iPhone still king? Or has Android overtaken it? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.

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About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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