Did John Sculley dream up the iPhone -- in 1984?

John Sculley drew ‘Mac phone’ concept for Steve Jobs in 1984


John Sculley drew a 'Mac phone' concept for Steve Jobs back in the 80s.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

Former Apple CEO and business parter of Steve Jobs, John Sculley dropped some interesting new tidbits about Apple’s history in a recent interview. He said that all the way back in 1984, Jobs was dreaming up the idea of a “Mac phone.”

This “Mac phone” would be a desktop device that acted as a phone, but ran a version of the Mac’s software.

Sculley says that he realized mobile would be “the next big thing” after helping develop the Apple Newton platform in the ’80s and ’90s, but Jobs was already a step in the right direction envisioning what a Mac phone would look like. He’d have Sculley draw a mockup.

“He was not a drawer, he was a great visionary but he couldn’t draw,” Sculley told TechCrunch. “I could draw, I had studied design. So Steve would describe it to me, I’d draw it out.”

They’d go back and forth with Jobs telling Sculley what he liked and didn’t like, and would have him make adjustments to the drawing accordingly. Sometimes the screen would need to be a bit bigger, other times the device itself would need changes.

The Mac phone never saw the light of day, but they did end up making hard models out of it a few years later. “Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as the iPhone,” Sculley said.

Designer Pierre Cerveau came up with a rendering for an iPhone if it had been released in 1984, and it’s easy to believe that Steve Jobs’s vision back then could have been pretty similar.

“The best definition of a genius is someone who sees the obvious 20 years ahead of the rest of us,” Sculley added.

The interview also featured David Steinberg and mostly discussed the company they both founded, Zeta Interactive. The company aims to help brands track customer engagement and acquisition in areas where it’s currently difficult to do so like traditional media.