Thanks to a new trial that’s kicking off between Apple and Samsung, Apple recently allowed one of the software engineers who worked on the original iPhone to discuss the process of building the device. Apple’s Greg Christie, speaking to The Wall Street Journal recently detailed the sort of secrecy behind the iPhone project, and even how Steve Jobs almost took him off of building the original software altogether.
Christie said he was originally tapped by Scott Forstall back in 2004, who asked if he wanted to work on a secret project inside Apple called “purple,” which turned out to be the iPhone that Steve Jobs revealed to the world in 2007. A year later, in 2005, Christie still didn’t have anything that was compelling enough for Steve Jobs, at which point Jobs apparently told Christie he had just two weeks to get something together before Jobs passed the work on to someone else.
“Steve had pretty much had it,” Christie told The Wall Street Journal. “He wanted bigger ideas and bigger concepts.” So Christie sat down and came up with several ideas, including how text message threads would look and work, and the popular bounce-back scrolling feature that has been the subject of several lawsuits. Christie eventually won the faith of Jobs, another executive Bill Campbell and design head Jony Ive.
“The Green light in early 2005 was the start of what Mr. Christie called a ‘2 1/2 year marathon’,” The Wall Street Journal said. Tweaks were made constantly leading up to the announcement in 2007, with decisions on the album art that Steve Jobs would show on stage when he demoed the iPhone music player, to changes to the e-mail user interface. Oddly enough, Christie didn’t really believe how popular or how exciting the phone was going to be until the final moments, when he peaked out at the stage and saw the iPhone just before the event started.