15 years ago today, no one believed the iPhone would succeed

Fifteen years ago, the original iPhone was officially released, and the crowd outside the Apple Store was full of people, and this scene has continued to the current iPhone launch.

▲ Picture from: wired

Apple has always had such a magic power. Whenever a new product is released, there are always crowds gathered outside Apple Stores around the world. Even in order to win the top prize, they will stay overnight outside the Apple Store one day earlier.

On the morning of June 29, 2007, many senior executives of Apple went to Apple Stores in different cities to witness this historical moment.

▲ Steve Jobs on the iPhone's first sale day. Image from: paloaltoonline

Phil Schiller (VP of Global Marketing) went to Chicago, Jony Ive (Chief Designer) and the design team went to San Francisco, and Steve Jobs showed up at the Palo Alto Apple Store , a mile and a half from his home.

Witnessing with Jobs is the former Mac team's soul, such as co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Bill Atkinson and so on.

▲ Steve Jobs on the iPhone's first sale day. Image from: Yahoo

There is no doubt that the iPhone is the most important product in Apple's history. It is very rare for Apple executives or the creators of the iPhone to appear in the Apple Store and witness with many users.

No one believed the iPhone would succeed

Released from January 2007, and then listed at the end of June 2007, after half a year.

▲ The iPhone was officially released at the 2007 MacWorld Conference. Image from: Mashable

During this period, it was not only the development team who suffered to catch up with the schedule, but also outside analysts and senior media were not idle, but they were not cheering or affirming Apple.

Instead, it has completely moved towards the opposite, and is collectively bearish .

Including Microsoft CEO, RIM CEO, Bloomberg, Business Week, etc. all think that the iPhone can't win at all. In front of BlackBerry, Nokia, and Motorola, it is the beetle that shakes the tree.

The industry made such a sigh, the reason is basically determined to be the appearance and operation logic of the original iPhone.

In the fourth quarter of 2006, a total of 22 million smartphones were sold worldwide, roughly divided among Nokia, Blackberry, Motorola and Palm.

At the time, their phones were basically rectangular boxes with the screen on the top and buttons on the bottom. Moreover, at that time, people had already recognized that mobile phones were like this. One-way access to information from the screen and input on the keyboard were also the interaction methods that people were accustomed to.

Before the iPhone, probably no one knew that you could open photos like flipping a book, pinch to zoom out with your fingers, and tap an avatar to make a phone call.

▲ Picture from: vox

At the MacWorld conference in January 2007, when Jobs clicked on Ive's avatar and spoke with Ive in the audience, many people compared the phone call to Bell's phone call a hundred years ago, which is a microcosm of an era.

But what's interesting is that when Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world, the iPhone was still an unfinished product, and there were no small problems with both the hardware and the iPhone OS.

In order to allow Jobs to demonstrate smoothly, the iPhone development team developed a set of strict procedures , such as only playing a part of a song or video, sending emails before surfing the Internet, and so on.

▲ Picture of people waiting to buy iPhone from: wired

In less than half a year, even though the industry was against it, on June 29, Apple still solved many problems and delivered as scheduled.

Accidentally, the iPhone's biggest problem was being so popular that it nearly crashed the AT&T network with too much data access.

Richard Sprague, then a senior marketing director at Microsoft, was certain that the iPhone would not sell more than 100,000 units by 2008. In reality, however, the original iPhone sold more than 1 million units in just 74 days.

▲ Steve Ballmer Picture from: gifcen

In an interview with USA TODAY in April 2007, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also believed that the iPhone had no chance to perform well in the market.

Fifteen years later, the iPhone alone accounts for 40% of the global mobile phone market's sales revenue, contributing nearly 60% of Apple's revenue, and there are more than 1 billion iPhones in the world.

The iPhone was born, actually for the music business

It only took two years to build a mobile phone from the beginning and finally bring it to the market. The research and development process in the past two years is almost a microcosm of Apple's more than 30 years of technology accumulation.

In 2004, the iPod was at its peak and almost single-handedly overturned the entire traditional recording industry.

▲ iPods pictures from: musictech

But Apple's vice president of marketing, Greg Joswiak, isn't getting carried away by the victory. Instead, he's monitoring whether other phone makers are ready to integrate music players into their phones, threatening the iPod's status.

Rather than waiting, it is better to take the initiative, but at that time Apple did not want to build mobile phones, because Jobs thought that the operators had too many rules and regulations to make and design according to their own ideas, but watching the growth of the mobile phone market did not want to give up this part of the music business.

▲ iTunes Phone in cooperation with Motorola Image from: CultofMac

So Apple found Motorola and put the iTunes Store service into Rokr, which was a compromise for Jobs.

In parallel, Scott Forstall, Apple's vice president of software, formed a small team to develop the corresponding software for Project Purple.

▲ Jobs loves purple. Picture from: dialoguereview

For the next few months, they will report to Jobs in a small room on the second floor of Apple's headquarters, and after they impress Jobs, they will show it to other Apple executives.

In 2005, the Motorola Rokr's performance was quite unsatisfactory , and the Apple software team brought very advanced interactive ideas, allowing Jobs to advance the Project Purple project process.

The shadow of almost all Apple products can be seen on the iPhone

The multi-touch interaction led by the iPhone actually existed in Apple for a long time, but it was obtained by accident when Apple engineer Brian Huppi solved the method of controlling a computer without a mouse.

Initially, Jobs dismissed the idea, arguing that throwing a Mac's interface onto a trackpad would seem unwieldy. And the trackpad is the same size as the desktop, which is not elegant enough.

▲ Very Ive Leica T

Ive on the side has changed the angle. If this technology appears on the back of the camera, the buttons on the back of the digital camera can be removed, so that the entire screen can be used.

The "multi-touch" technology that was eventually retained also became the basis for the interaction of the iPhone.

As for the idea of ​​a whole screen behind the camera, it finally appeared in Leica T. The integrated CNC cutting and the interaction logic of the whole screen are exactly the same as Ive's original idea.

Leica designer Andreas Kaufmann also said in an interview that, as a fan of Ive's design style, he was doing his best to imitate Jony Ive.

▲ Ive in Overwatch Image from: iMore

The Apple design team led by Jony Ive was once one of the souls of Apple products. As an industrial designer, Ive does not only study lines and curves.

Over the years, he has also continuously improved his and his team's understanding of industrial materials. Since 2004, he has been working hard to control the black streaks that appear in the manufacture of aluminum materials, and even went deep into the supply chain to learn how to mix a certain amount of magnesium and iron to maximize the original color and improve the hardness of aluminum materials.

After the iPhone's release, Ive's design team grew to include more material experts, and even acquired Chicago-based QuesTek Innovations, which holds patents on making steel for race cars and rockets.

To this end, on the first-generation Apple Watch, Apple also launched three different materials in one go. In addition to aluminum-magnesium alloys, stainless steel and pure gold cases appeared.

The birth of the iPhone is Steve Jobs' control of software and Ive's pursuit of industrial design details. Behind the two of them, the one who brought the iPhone from the table on the 2nd floor of Apple's headquarters to Apple Stores around the world The man is Tim Cook.

In December 2006, on the eve of the iPhone's release, Ive crossed the entire Pacific Ocean to Shenzhen Foxconn. In a conference room, he selected 30 iPhones from the more than 100 pre-produced iPhones and brought them to the press conference.

Nick Forlenza, Ive's vice president of design at Turn & Go, says any of these could go to Jobs, who are as sophisticated as a camera made by Canon.

Foxconn's production process gave Ive the confidence that Apple could build millions of equally sophisticated phones without having to travel thousands of miles to supervise the work.

Tim Cook, the man behind the iPhone

Before Tim Cook joined Apple, he was famous for managing the supply chain at Compaq, and choosing Shenzhen Foxconn as an OEM also belonged to Tim Cook's work.

Not only that, but the touchscreens of the early iPhones were not glass but plastic, and Jobs stumbled across that it was easily scratched. Therefore, in the production version, it was decided to use glass.

Then, Jobs called Corning, and the two companies hit it off, not only bringing strong glass to the iPhone, but saving Corning as well.

But behind this, it is not easy to put a technology that has never been mass-produced on the ground and produce enough glass in less than 6 months. Cook and Corning jointly turned a glass factory in Kentucky into a manufacturer of iPhone screens, and they caught up with the first sales on time, which was an almost impossible task.

▲ Apple has also continued to invest in Corning to develop new types of glass. Image from: cnet

These jobs are not as glamorous as software engineers and industrial designers at the front desk, and are secret jobs that are hard to see for ordinary people.

"His unseen work became Apple's secret weapon."

In the 1984 Super Bowl finale, Apple aired its famous "1984" ad , alluding to the Mac's challenge to the old IBM to reinvent the PC.

The iPhone, released and launched in 2007, ushered in a new era of "smart phones" and led a new digital lifestyle.


On the Origin of the iPhone
"Becoming Steve Jobs"
After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company

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