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  • Jonathan Ive on the iPhone: "We nearly shelved the phone"


    Jonathan Ive mentioned yesterday at the UK Trade and Investment department’s Global Business on Creative Services that Apple’s iPhone came close to never happening.

    Ive mentioned yesterday Apple focuses on making great products instead of cutting corners to maximize profits, and it turns out Apple’s iPhone almost didn’t qualify as a great product. Numerous issues plagued the device’s development including proximity sensor issues.

    "We nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can't solve. With the early prototypes, I held the phone to my ear and my ear [would] dial the number,” he said. “You have to detect all sorts of ear-shapes and chin shapes, skin colour and hairdo...that was one of just many examples where we really thought, perhaps this isn’t going to work.” — Jonathan Ive

    Recently released court documents exposed numerous iPhone and iPad prototypes showing just how drastic some of Apple’s ideas were, and how far the iPhone development team went from inception to creation. Ive's comments made clear Apple's ultimate goal is not profit, even if that is hard to imagine for the most profitable company in the world.

    “Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them, and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal.” — Ive
    Source: The Telegraph [via Macrumors]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Jonathan Ive on the iPhone: "We nearly shelved the phone" started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. ColeTrex's Avatar
      ColeTrex -
      No iPhone? That would be terrible. Just thinking of holding a android is scary.
    1. aidanharris's Avatar
      aidanharris -
      “Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them, and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal.”

      Now why can't every company be like that?
    1. Bigmaxx2000's Avatar
      Bigmaxx2000 -
      That would have been one heck of a mistake, the iPhone has affected so many and their way of life it's unbelievable.
    1. pcboy123's Avatar
      pcboy123 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bigmaxx2000 View Post
      That would have been one heck of a mistake, the iPhone has affected so many and their way of life it's unbelievable.
      NO!! Its sad!!.. PERIOD..
    1. RandyTG's Avatar
      RandyTG -
      Quote Originally Posted by ColeTrex View Post
      No iPhone? That would be terrible. Just thinking of holding a android is scary.
      Without the iPhone the "smartphone" would not mean what it means today. Android may still have come out on its own, but it was more a Google need not to let Apple own the industry. No matter whether you like the iPhone or not or the iPad or not, each product has helped define and advance the definition and capabilities of the smartphone and the tablet. When you force other vendors to react you have them at an advantage. Just on the rumor that Apple is developing its own brand of "smart" TV, the other major TV makers have created an alliance to further the advancement of smart TVs so that they can still get a piece of the market should Apple indeed bring forth a TV. Maybe other companies should focus on making great products and focus less on profit. If Apple is truly product focused before revenue and they are now the largest company (by market cap) in the world and the most profitable then instead of copying their products, copy their methods.
    1. iamutman's Avatar
      iamutman -
      Quote Originally Posted by ColeTrex View Post
      No iPhone? That would be terrible. Just thinking of holding a android is scary.
      What would be scarier is holding an android in a universe where android didn't have iPhones to copy from
    1. micro_master's Avatar
      micro_master -
      "Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money."

      I'm sure investors were thrilled to hear that.
    1. Gustavo Saliola's Avatar
      Gustavo Saliola -
      Quote Originally Posted by RandyTG View Post
      Without the iPhone the "smartphone" would not mean what it means today. Android may still have come out on its own, but it was more a Google need not to let Apple own the industry. No matter whether you like the iPhone or not or the iPad or not, each product has helped define and advance the definition and capabilities of the smartphone and the tablet. When you force other vendors to react you have them at an advantage. Just on the rumor that Apple is developing its own brand of "smart" TV, the other major TV makers have created an alliance to further the advancement of smart TVs so that they can still get a piece of the market should Apple indeed bring forth a TV. Maybe other companies should focus on making great products and focus less on profit. If Apple is truly product focused before revenue and they are now the largest company (by market cap) in the world and the most profitable then instead of copying their products, copy their methods.
      100% Agree Randy. But thinking that THE METHOD cost to Apple almost 20 years and Steve's life makes every enterprise scare the pants out. Every once a while grab the Isaacson book and think about the rollercoaster Apple was up today and is strange thinking the industry without them.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by aidanharris View Post
      “Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them, and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal.”

      Now why can't every company be like that?
      A company that isn't in it for profit is called a non-profit. This is just a nice thing for someone to say. If he wasn't about the money, I am sure he could come to work every day for free. No pay. No benefits. No nothing. But wait, he doesn't do that. Neither does anyone at Apple. Don't get me wrong. That's normal. I don't expect them not to make money. I don't expect people to work for free. But when they say ish like this, that really irks me.
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      Well I am glad that they didn't shelve the iPhone.... I could not live with out it! lol As far as the statement our goal isn't to make money..... you can't make good money with out a good product. Probably at that time they didn't know if it was going to make it or not. Verizon didn't want it back then....

      They took the chance it was successful.... people loved it and they made lots of $$$$$
    1. SepticTank's Avatar
      SepticTank -
      A private firm not in it for the profits? Buwhahahahaha!!! Come on now...... A cold day in Hell indeed. If they didn't care, why skirt billions in taxes through "loopholes?"

      Love their devices though....
    1. sane's Avatar
      sane -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      A company that isn't in it for profit is called a non-profit. This is just a nice thing for someone to say. If he wasn't about the money, I am sure he could come to work every day for free. No pay. No benefits. No nothing. But wait, he doesn't do that. Neither does anyone at Apple. Don't get me wrong. That's normal. I don't expect them not to make money. I don't expect people to work for free. But when they say ish like this, that really irks me.
      Your comprehension skills are lacking.

      He never said Apple doesn't make profits. He said that profits aren't the main focus, creating great products is the focus.

      For example, if Apple was into making profits over great products there would be more models and they'd allow clones.
    1. kalpesh78's Avatar
      kalpesh78 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ColeTrex View Post
      No iPhone? That would be terrible. Just thinking of holding a android is scary.
      I so agree. But then again. maybe even android wouldn't have existed. the competition between these companies is what's given us these masterpieces.

      Quote Originally Posted by SepticTank View Post
      A private firm not in it for the profits? Buwhahahahaha!!! Come on now...... A cold day in Hell indeed. If they didn't care, why skirt billions in taxes through "loopholes?"

      Love their devices though....
      I think every company in the world does that. Am sure charitable institutes also do the same. Com'on its just business. business means manipulating law, exploiting people, cheating... everything. its all allowed.
    1. duromega's Avatar
      duromega -
      Quote Originally Posted by coletrex View Post
      no iphone? That would be terrible. Just thinking of holding a android is scary.
      a+ 😂
    1. *T*'s Avatar
      *T* -
      SHOW US THE "RECENTLY RELEASED COURT DOCUMENTS!"

      The writers here are idiots, come on.
    1. mwdrds1967's Avatar
      mwdrds1967 -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      A company that isn't in it for profit is called a non-profit. This is just a nice thing for someone to say. If he wasn't about the money, I am sure he could come to work every day for free. No pay. No benefits. No nothing. But wait, he doesn't do that. Neither does anyone at Apple. Don't get me wrong. That's normal. I don't expect them not to make money. I don't expect people to work for free. But when they say ish like this, that really irks me.
      It's people like you who irk me, people who assume that money has to be first, last, and only. You really believe that making money cannot possibly come second to ANY other consideration? Do you have enough yet to buy back your soul?
    1. Lakunsta's Avatar
      Lakunsta -
      Quote Originally Posted by ColeTrex View Post
      No iPhone? That would be terrible. Just thinking of holding a android is scary.
      Seriously, me too!
    1. Lohand's Avatar
      Lohand -
      Trying not to reveal my secrete identity but as one of the first on the east coast to actually touch an iPhone I can tell you that the proximity sensor was one of the least of the problems. Lets just say that AT&T was a "good battered wife" to Apple with their network taking all kinds of blame for a crappy user experience. One day I'll write a book. Sayin...
    1. Taranis17's Avatar
      Taranis17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mwdrds1967 View Post
      It's people like you who irk me, people who assume that money has to be first, last, and only. You really believe that making money cannot possibly come second to ANY other consideration? Do you have enough yet to buy back your soul?
      He's absolutely right. Think about this just a little harder, and come down off the kool-aid:

      In order to create great products, they have to have capital (a.k.a. "money"). To get money, they have to show investors they can make great products that will make the investors money. If they can't show that = no money to "make great products."

      Simple.

      Ive can sit there on his perch and give lip service all he wants. Fact is, he and everyone else there gets paid, business expenses accrue and must be paid. All of that requires - you guessed it - MONEY!

      Any business not out to make money won't last long. Apple had a real innovator in Steve Jobs, who knew what people wanted before they did. He saw the potential in the market (there's that "money" thing again) and executed it as close to perfect as possible.

      More sales = more money = more innovations/great products.

      Simple.