Jonathan Ive on How Apple 'Nearly Shelved' the iPhone

Yesterday, we reported on an appearance by Apple design chief Jonathan Ive at the UK Trade & Investment department's Global Business Summit on Creative Services in which he talked a bit about Apple's design philosophy and its focus on making great products rather than simply trying to maximize profits by cutting corners.

say hello to iphone
The Telegraph has another report on Ive's appearance, highlighting his discussion of how the iPhone was "nearly shelved" as Apple struggled to deal with a number of issues, apparently including a search for a proper proximity sensor that would reliably turn off the device's screen when it was held to the user's face.

"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.”

Ive's comments on his experience with early iPhone prototype come just as a number of such prototype designs have surfaced in court documents filed as part of a legal battle between Apple and Samsung.

Apple actually began work on a tablet before the iPhone project got underway, with one early tablet prototype from that 2002-2004 period having surfaced just two weeks ago. Apple was working on a phone at the time, but once Jobs realized that Apple could bring the multi-touch interface of the tablet to a phone, the company focused its efforts on the iPhone project and essentially set the tablet project until it was reborn as the iPad.

Top Rated Comments

Gottis Avatar
124 months ago
... And to this very day the proximity sensor doesn't always work well lol

might be something wrong with your ear
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwhittington Avatar
124 months ago
Lucky for Samsung

Had it not been for Apple, Samsung would still be the underdog mobile phone provider with Nokia, HTC, and RIM dominating the marketplace.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
applesith Avatar
124 months ago
And we would have been stuck with this:

Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bad03xtreme Avatar
124 months ago
They should shelve this new stretched 4S design...
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleGuesser Avatar
124 months ago
I could not agree more.

We are going to find out just how gullible the buyers are, when this "new" model is introduced.

Yet even worse, so will Apple. If they sell like I expect they will in massive quantities setting even more sales records, that will validate Apple's choice to foist off this old design, over and over and over again.

It will bolster Apple's ability to continue on the path of dictatorship, profit taking, and trickling out a few new features at each release. Then counting up every little change so they can make a dramatic claim like "200 new features"... :eek:

Wow, more pessimistic people on an iPhone that has YET to be publicly announced. Get off your high horse and wait for the public release before you start making accusations... :rolleyes:
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deadlystriker Avatar
124 months ago
Thanks Steve.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...