WTF? Ex-Apple Executive Apologize For The Original iPhone, Says It “Wasn’t Great”

iphone2g

Here’s a hard to believe story: one of Apple’s executives behind the original iPhone has gone so far as to apologize to anyone who bought one during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

Why? According to ex-Apple senior director of product marketing for the original iPhone Bob Borchers: “If you had the original iPhone, I apologize; it was not a great phone, it was an OK phone.”

Unbelievably, he may have a point.

Borchers has since moved on from Apple, and is now Dolby’s Chief Marketing Officer. Although obviously the original iPhone 2G changed the mobile landscape forever, he thinks that Apple made mistakes putting together and marketing the original iPhone.

How? Specifically, when Apple said that the iPhone was a revolutionary phone, the best iPod ever and the Internet in your pocket, it had the order the wrong way around.

“What was interesting at Apple is that technology took a back seat to user interface. If you look at the iPhone as a technological element everything had been done before, it was about bringing all that together into an experience that was compelling and then communicating it as an experience not as a technology”.

“There were three value propositions in order of importance: a revolutionary phone, the best iPod ever and the Internet in your pocket but in fact it should have been the reverse. Having the Internet in your pocket was the most important.”

Borcher has a point. The original iPhone shipped with only an EDGE mobile connection, and couldn’t even natively run apps. It wasn’t until the iPhone 3G that the iPhone’s “connection to the Internet and the app community” helped make the iPhone the device it is today.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    Sorry, but this is a load of boiled crab. I owned an original iPhone 16GB model, bought on the day the 16GB version became available. The processor speed wasn’t great and it didn’t have many of the things we now take for granted 7 years later, but I used it successfully until 2012 when I upgraded to the iPhone 4S. The iPhone was a revelation when it first came out. Putting all 3 functionalities in the same device was magical. Looking at it in hindsight, it’s easy to be critical of the things it was missing, but for its time it was an amazing device. That Borchers should come out now and “apologize” for a revolutionary product is just plain ridiculous and insulting to Apple and all the rest of the engineers who worked on the project. This is a guy scraping for notoriety and publicity. I wonder what he’s now trying to sell?

  • 2oh1

    That’s just plain ignorant. The man is using a 2014 mindset when talking about 2007, and that is just plain dumb. In 2007, the phone was what people prioritized in a smartphone. The idea of internet on a phone wasn’t where consumers were at in ’07, nor were websites even ready for it. Marketing it as an internet device that also had a phone would have been a mistake. I’m sure that when designing the iPhone, Steve Jobs and Co knew what they were really making was a computer that fit in your pocket, and they were wise to not market it that way. That’s the genius of what they did. They presented the iPhone as a phone and iPod that did so much more, knowing that once people had the thing in their hands, they’d fall in love with the ‘more’ and look down on devices that did less. Apple over-delivered by so much that the development of Android had to be scrapped and started over from scratch. Oh, but this clown of an ex-Apple-Exec thinks that revolutionary device wasn’t great. What a clown. I’d be embarrassed if I made a statement like that.

    • Arti H

      I totally Agree with you 2oh1, additionally the 3G chipset was so big and power hungry that iPhone battery at that time would last only 90 minutes, so the break thru was the next generation 3G chip and the battery management software.

  • popeyoni

    Oh, yeah. One of the most revolutionary pieces of technology of the last 10 years wasn’t that great. He’s just looking for attention.

  • jren57

    Looking back the 1984 Mac 128k wasn’t that great ether, B&W 9″ display, 128K of RAM, no Hard Drive, I mean, what were they thinking!! LOL

    • Thomas Mrak

      RAM and Hard Drives were VERY expensive when the Macintosh came out. Even graphics on a computer were an option in those days, let alone color.

      The lack of upgradability is what makes even less sense, but we can thank Steve Jobs for that. He loved the idea of a closed appliance style box.

  • :)

    I think it’s clear that as chief marketing he knows what he’s doing. Dolby apparently has something new and needs to draw attention.

  • 程肯

    Rubbish. The guy was a PR guy, he didn’t’ have anything to do with the original iPhone. Further, the 3G antenna was not chosen because it was still not widely implemented. AT&T had only 20 cities wired for 3G, or rather Cingular did. And, most people used the original iPhone on wifi which as plenty fast.

  • Ewald Thueringer

    What an asshole! I had one and it was great. And it is still working! Better than some follow ups.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    The iPhone put Apple at the top of the heap over nearly all tech companies, but yeah, I guess the iPhone was only OK. With all the iPhone copiers out there, I guess they also thought it was just OK. What product exactly does anyone think is absolutely amazing? There are some people who are never blown away by anything. I’m sure the iPhone was as technically advanced as anything NASA had on board their space vehicles.

  • Darko

    So is this normal professional journalism now using vulgar language in your article such as “what the fuck”? They teach that at journalism school? It makes you seem like a stupid kid, and loses a lot of credibility.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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