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Inside the Room Where Apple Developed the Original iPhone Software

With permission from Apple, senior software engineer Greg Christie recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal about the development of the original iPhone, disclosing some details ahead of a new patent trial involving Samsung. The original article focused on the iPhone's software features, while a follow-up report highlights the environment and hardware that was used in this software development process.

apple-iphone-room
Apple's hardware setup for testing early prototype iPhone software

According to Christie, design decisions on early versions of Apple's iPhone OS were made in a drab, windowless room with Mac hardware running the software and a large touchscreen device, "Wallaby", simulating the screen of the mobile device. The room is also where Christie met with Steve Jobs to present the iPhone team's work.
It doesn’t mean that the windowless room, lit by fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling, looked like anything special. Christie recalled the walls had signs of water damage from a flood in an adjacent bathroom. A few images covered the walls including one of Apple’s “Think Different” posters of famous graphic designer Paul Rand and another of a large chicken running around without its head.
These details on the development of the iPhone were released in advance of a second U.S. patent infringement trial between Apple and Samsung that is set to begin March 31. Apple prevailed in the first trial and was awarded a judgement of $890 million. This upcoming trial targets more recent products such the Galaxy Note II, the Galaxy S III, the iPhone 5, and the iPad 4.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 18 weeks ago
Right... so why do I see an iphone 4 on the table then? :)
Rating: 10 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago

Altecs with their subwoofer in between.


Harmon Kardon SoundSticks, I'd say.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago
It's amazing to see the humble beginnings of the OS that revolutionized the mobile industry.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago

I might be wrong, but I think I remember seeing drawings/designs of the original iPhone looking like the iPhone 4?

Surely if someone was to stage this picture they wouldn't be so careless as to leave an iPhone 4 there?

Still weird though.


The 'purple' prototype from 2005 looks like a white iPhone 4. Not sure if that was ever built into a physical prototype. But from all the books I've read, Steve didn't allow the software guys to see the hardware design and vice versa. Allegedly Ive secretly had two software guys mock something up for his team. He was the only one on his team who was allowed to know what the software UI looked like.

Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago
I still own that speaker system!
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago

Right... so why do I see an iphone 4 on the table then? :)


I'm wondering if that's the "touch screen" that's mentioned. It might look like an iPhone but act more like a simple trackpad.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago

Strange, the G3 would suggest that this was happening in the early 2000s but then the iPhone prototype hooked up to the machine looks a heck of a lot like an iPhone 4. So maybe Apple has the iPhone 8 in the works right now?


They hooked it up to an outdated Mac so it could simulate the slower speeds of the phone's hardware, and this was apparently in 2006. Not sure why the Macrumors article doesn't mention that, but oh well!
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago
From the article:

"This is a system Apple rigged together to run early prototypes of its iPhone software in 2006. It tethered a plastic touch-screen device – code-named “Wallaby” – to an outdated Mac to simulate the slower speeds of a phone hardware."

Obviously it's not an iPhone4. It's a test device for the development of the iPhone touch screen.

Also, I had the same Harmon-Kardon soundsticks and subwoofer that I bought with a Quicksilver G4.

I still have my B&W G3 that I put a G4/500 cpu into. It's still running OS 9.2.2 with some orphaned PCI cards in it.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago

Right... so why do I see an iphone 4 on the table then? :)


That iPhone 4 is used to call Steve Jobs whenever there were something requiring his attention during the development of the original iPhone.

;)
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 18 weeks ago
Mod note:

Let's quit the arguing over the speakers and what brand they are.

/mod note.
Rating: 1 Votes

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