Tony Fadell


'Tony Fadell' Articles

Former iPod Chief Tony Fadell Believes Apple Should Tackle Smartphone Addiction

Tony Fadell, who was instrumental to the creation of the iPod, believes Apple should tackle the issue of smartphone addiction. Tony Fadell, second from the left, alongside Steve Jobs and other Apple executives following the original iPhone announcement in 2007 In an editorial with Wired UK, the former Senior Vice President of the iPod division said Apple can solve the problem at the software level by "empowering users to understand more about how they use their devices." "To do this, it should let people track their digital activity in detail and across all devices," said Fadell. "You should be able to see exactly how you spend your time and, if you wish, moderate your behavior accordingly." Fadell said his solution would essentially be like a digital scale to monitor time spent in apps, web browsing, and other tasks:We need a "scale" for our digital weight, like we have for our physical weight. Our digital consumption data could look like a calendar with our historical activity. It should be itemized like a credit-card bill, so people can easily see how much time they spend each day on email, for example, or scrolling through posts. Imagine it's like a health app which tracks metrics such as step count, heart rate, and sleep quality.He added that Apple could also let users set their device to a "listen-only" or "read-only" mode, but it's unclear how this would differ from Apple's existing Do Not Disturb mode, which can be enabled when an iPhone is locked or unlocked. Fadell believes Apple is "particularly well-placed to tackle this problem," and that

Tony Fadell Talks Original iPhone's Business Model 'Disaster', Amazon Echo, and Self-Driving Cars

iPod father Tony Fadell has been making the rounds in the days ahead of the anniversary of the first iPhone's launch, which is today, June 29. In two new interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek and Reuters shared today, Fadell continued reminiscing about Apple history by discussing the iPhone's "disaster" of a business model over the first year, his view on how the Amazon Echo compares to Apple's creation of the iPod, and his doubt of the self-driving automobile industry. After a little over one year on the market, Apple had sold ten million iPhones, but Fadell recalled an initially bumpy road for sales of the company's first smartphone. Apple reduced the price of the iPhone during its first holiday season by $200, which is said to have been a factor in helping the company reach its goal of ten million iPhones sold, achieved in October 2008. Image via Bloomberg Businessweek Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since June 29, 2007, but the first iPhone, which launched without an App Store and was restricted to the AT&T Inc network (T.N), was limited compared to today's version. After sluggish initial sales, Apple slashed the price to spur holiday sales that year. "The business model for year one of the iPhone was a disaster," Tony Fadell, one of the Apple developers of the device, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. "We pivoted and figured it out in year two." When looking towards the future, Fadell sees the emerging space of the smart home speaker as an area of huge potential. The former Apple executive argued that only Amazon could have launched the

Tony Fadell Talks Apple's Pre-iPhone Days of Failed Motorola Rokr and Touchscreen MacBook Prototype

Over the past few weeks, former Apple executives that originally led the team behind the iPhone's creation have been reminiscing about the time before the smartphone's debut, which will see its tenth birthday tomorrow, June 29. The latest interview has been posted by Wired, with "father of the iPod" Tony Fadell discussing the multiple prototypes of the original iPhone, Apple's attempt to create a touchscreen MacBook, the poorly received collaboration between Apple and Motorola in the Rokr, and more. Addressing the "many different origin stories for the iPhone," Fadell pointed out that such stories were the result of Apple's multiple running projects and prototypes that it had for the iPhone. These included four big brands: "a large screen iPod" with a touch interface, an "iPod phone" that was about the size of an iPod mini and used a click wheel interface, the Motorola Rokr, and even an ongoing attempt to get a touchscreen onto a MacBook Pro to further prove the feasibility of the technology that would eventually end up in the iPhone, and never in a MacBook. Image via Wired The touchscreen Macbook project was basically trying to get touchscreen technology into a Mac to try to compete with Microsoft tablets. Steve was pissed off, and wanted to show them how to do it right. Well, that might have been the project to show Microsoft how to do it right, but they quickly realised there was so much software and there were so many new apps needed, and that everything had to be changed that it was very difficult. Plus the multitouch itself, we didn't know we could scale it

Former Apple Executives Recall Designing Touchscreen Interface of Original iPhone

As we near the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone later this week, a few stories posted online have delved into the rich history of where the device started, how the original team came up with the idea for the touchscreen smartphone, and what it was like reviewing the device back in 2007. In a new video shared by The Wall Street Journal today, three former Apple executives -- Scott Forstall, Tony Fadell and Greg Christie -- have taken a look back at the first days of designing the iPhone with Steve Jobs. Apple's former senior vice president of the iPod division, Tony Fadell, recounted a time when Jobs showed him the company's first demo for what would become the iPhone's touch-based operating system. Image via WSJ Jobs and the rest of the team were seeking a more elegant solution to a smartphone interface than the one they began with, which was an iPod click wheel interface, when Jobs invited Fadell into a demo room. "Steve goes, "Come over here I need to show you something." So he walked me into the room...and it was basically like a ping pong table sized demo with a projector that was projecting a Mac interface on it. And you could use your whole hand and you could touch different things on it, like it was a big big Mac. It was literally a ping pong sized multi-touch display. And he goes, "I think this is gonna solve our problem." Former Apple vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall, recalled a specific time in 2005 when the iPhone team was put on a deadline of two weeks to come up with a better design for the smartphone's user interface. Jobs was not satisfied

Tony Fadell Shares New Details on Prototype iPhone Software With Virtual iPod Clickwheel

Earlier this month, Sonny Dickson shared a collection of images and videos featuring an of the iPhone with an early iPod-style operating system called "Acorn OS," based on a clickwheel interface. The iPod-like software was developed by "iPod Father" Tony Fadell, who shared some new details on its creation with The Verge in an attempt to clarify the backstory behind the software. Click Wheel-based OS vs. the Icon-based OS that went on to become iOS According to Fadell, the longstanding story suggesting there were two teams at Apple (one led by Fadell and one led by Scott Forstall) competing with one another to develop the iPhone's OS isn't quite accurate. There were multiple UI possibilities being explored by both the hardware and the software teams, who were working together. "It was a competing set of ideas, not teams," says Fadell. "And we were all working on it." He went on to explain that there were two paths in hardware and software UI development going on at Apple "at all times," and that the software shown off in the video is "just what the UI guys were doing, devoid of any hardware." There was never a hardware prototype running the software shown off in Dickson's video, but someone ported it "just for fun." It was only ever a Mac app. A virtual clickwheel, as shown in the video, was just one path of iPod-style development, as Jobs had the iPhone team explore every possibility. Other iPod-like ideas included an iPod phone with a smaller screen and a click wheel, which was unrealistic, and a hardware-based wheel with buttons, another idea that didn't

Nest Co-Founder Tony Fadell Leaving the Company

Tony Fadell, widely known as the "father" of the iPod and the creator of the Nest Learning Thermostat, today announced he is leaving Nest and Nest parent company Alphabet. Fadell, Nest's founder, has been with Google since it acquired Nest for $3.2 billion in 2014 and has worked on projects like Google Glass in addition to continuing to run Nest Labs. In a blog post, Fadell says he has decided the time is right to "leave the Nest," a decision that was originally made late last year. Fadell will not be present for day to day activities at Nest, but he plans to remain involved with the company as an advisor to Alphabet and Larry Page.While there is never a perfect time to transition, we've grown Nest to much more than a thermostat company. We've created a hardware + software + services ecosystem, which is still in the early growth stage and will continue to evolve to move further into the mainstream over the coming years. The future of Nest is equally as bright given the strong and experienced leadership team in place, as well as the two-year product roadmap we've developed together to ensure the right future direction. [...] I will miss this company and my Nest family (although I'll be around to provide advice and guidance and help the team with the transition), but I am excited about what's coming next, both for Nest and for me.Fadell says his new role as advisor will provide him with "time and flexibility" to pursue new opportunities and "create and disrupt other industries." He's leaving Nest with a two-year roadmap in place and Marwan Fawaz, a former Motorola

Steve Jobs Refused to Bring iPod & iTunes to PC Without Walt Mossberg's Blessing

Tony Fadell, known as the godfather of the iPod for his role in its design, recently sat down Appvance CEO Kevin Surace at the SV Forum Visionary Salon Dinner to reminisce about Steve Jobs and his time at Apple. VentureBeat attended the event and has shared a transcript of the discussion. Fadell has discussed his role at Apple and his relationship with Jobs many times over the years, but new details, additional color, and lesser-known tidbits tend to surface with each new interview, making them worth a read. This most recent interview covers an interesting look at the decision to bring iTunes to the PC. Image via VentureBeat Jobs was initially against introducing PC support for the iPod because he viewed the device as a way to attract people to the Mac. Fadell had a team of people working on porting iTunes to PC to give people who didn't own a Mac a taste of Apple products. Fadell describes his effort to get iTunes on the PC as a "knock down, drag out battle." After being pressured by much of the iPod team to get iTunes to the biggest market, Jobs relented, but he insisted that journalist Walt Mossberg, who wrote for The Wall Street Journal at the time, sign off on the design.He [Steve] finally said, "Okay. But under one condition. We're going to build these and run it by Mossberg. And if Mossberg says it's good enough to ship, then we'll ship it." He wanted to divorce himself from having to make the decision. But Walt said, "Not bad. I'd ship it." That's how we actually shipped on the PC.Following iTunes' PC launch, Fadell says Mac sales accelerated. The iPod

Steve Jobs Passed on Building Apple Car in 2008 to Focus on iPhone

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in October 2011 following a lengthy battle with a rare illness, contemplated building a so-called "Apple Car" as recently as 2008, according to his former advisor Tony Fadell. Tony Fadell discussed an Apple Car with Steve Jobs in 2008 (Image: Bloomberg) In an interview with Bloomberg, Fadell, who led Apple's iPod division between 2001 and 2010, said he had discussions with Jobs on multiple occasions to hypothesize about what features an Apple-branded vehicle could have."We had a couple of walks," Fadell said in an interview with Bloomberg's Emily Chang. The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: "If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?"Jobs, who drove a Mercedes, decided not to move forward with the idea at the time, said Fadell, instead focusing Apple's efforts on the iPhone, which accounted for about two-thirds of the company's net revenue last year according to SEC filings. Fadell, who now serves as Nest Labs CEO at Google parent company Alphabet, said he does not have firsthand knowledge about Apple's car plans, but he did reflect on the similarities between smartphones and modern vehicles."A car has batteries; it has a computer; it has a motor; and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it," said Fadell, who's now the chief executive officer of Alphabet's Nest home appliances company. "But the hard stuff is really on

'iPod Father' Tony Fadell to Take Charge of Google Glass

Following some leadership changes that Google has implemented, Tony Fadell, creator of the Nest thermostat and "iPod Father," will oversee Google's Glass division, reports The Wall Street Journal. Google is planning on splitting out Glass, its wearable headset computer, from the Google X research lab into its own unit, led by Ivy Ross, who will report to Tony Fadell. Fadell will be in charge of Glass, and will provide "strategic guidance" on the product. Largely seen as a failure at this point, Google Glass failed to drum up enough developer interest to truly establish itself in the wearable market and Google has continually pushed back the product's mass market release. Google has opted to cease selling Glass to consumers through the Explorer program, but the company will continue to sell the product to companies and developers. In November, Glass Head of Business Operations Chris O'Neill said the company remained "completely energized and as energized as ever" about Glass and that Google remained "committed as ever" to an eventual consumer launch. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google still has plans to release a new version of Glass in 2015, but details on the upcoming product and its potential launch date are unclear. With the shift, it appears that Google is shying away from public testing in favor of internal testing, a strategy used by Apple. Under Tony Fadell, Glass could see some significant changes. In addition to creating the Nest thermostat, which was acquired by Google in early 2014, Fadell has been credited as one of the original