Why Steve Jobs drowned the first iPod prototype

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The first iPod. Steve Jobs drowned this. Photo: Grant Hutchison / Flickr (CC)
The first iPod. Steve Jobs drowned this to make a point. Photo: Grant Hutchison/Flickr CC

Every once in a while an anecdote comes along that so perfectly describes the late Steve Jobs’ vision, that it’s a perfect metaphor for Apple as a whole. This might be my favorite of those anecdotes.

Originally posted on Quora by ex-Apple employee Amit Chaudhary, here’s a story about how Jobs got his engineers to slim down the original iPod:

When engineers working on the very first iPod completed the prototype, they presented their work to Steve Jobs for his approval. Jobs played with the device, scrutinized it, weighed it in his hands, and promptly rejected it. It was too big.

The engineers explained that they had to reinvent inventing to create the iPod, and that it was simply impossible to make it any smaller. Jobs was quiet for a moment. Finally he stood, walked over to an aquarium, and dropped the iPod in the tank. After it touched bottom, bubbles floated to the top.

“Those are air bubbles,” he snapped. “That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.”

Anyone tempted to drop their iPhone in a tank of water to see if Jobs’ maxim against wasted space still applies?

Source: Quora