At a talk at the Computer History Museum, former iOS chief Scott Forstall recounted, “The iPhone had a very circuitous route. We’d been working on a tablet project. It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. Anytime Steve had any interaction with the guy, he’d come back pissed off.”
Scott Forstall didn’t name the Microsoft executive, however, he was the husband of a friend of Jobs’s wife. According to Forstall, the executive would brag about Microsoft’s plans for tablets and styluses. Jobs hated the bragging nature of the executive to such an extent that he decided to beat them at their own game.
Steve Jobs was told repeatedly over dinner by this Microsoft executive that Apple should just license the tablet technology from Microsoft as it would “change the world”. According to Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography, he lost patience with the constant badgering and said: “Fuck this, let’s show him what a tablet can really be”.
Steve Jobs was not a huge fan of styluses and famously stated, “You don’t use a stylus … we’re born with 10 styluses”.
During the course of the development of the iPad, Apple soon realised that smartphones were going to be the next big thing and it would even be a threat to the flourishing iPod business. Apple then decided to switch their strategy to develop a device that would fit in your pocket and would have the multi-touch feature they were already working on.
Forstall recounted Jobs saying: “‘Do you think you could take that demo that we’re doing with the tablet and the multi-touch and shrink it down to something small enough to fit in your pocket?’
“We went back to the design team and they took it and they carved out a corner of it,” said Forstall. “Steve saw it and said ‘put the tablet on hold, let’s build a phone.’ And that’s what we did.”
The iPhone is now the world’s best-selling phone and has helped Apple become the most profitable company on the planet. In fact, two-thirds of the company’s revenue comes from the iPhone.