Birth of the iPhone: How Apple turned clunky prototypes into a truly magical device

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iPhone 2G prototype
iPhone 2G prototype
Photo: Jim Abeles/Flickr CC

iPhone turns 10 The world had never seen anything like the iPhone when Apple launched the device on June 29, 2007. But the touchscreen device that blew everyone’s minds immediately didn’t come about so easily.

The iPhone was the result of years of arduous work by Apple’s industrial designers. They labored over a long string of prototypes and CAD designs in their quest to produce the ultimate smartphone.

This excerpt from my book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products offers an inside account of the iPhone’s birth.

Relive 10 years of amazing iPhone innovation

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iPhone evolution GIF
The iPhone sure has changed over the years.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 The iPhone packed a lot into its first astonishing decade. Not only has the device itself evolved significantly since its promising-but-by-no-means-perfect beginnings, but it’s transformed Apple’s business — and many of our very lives — in the process.

All this week, Cult of Mac’s “iPhone Turns 10” series will look at the innovative device’s massive impact on worldwide culture. The iPhone, which launched on June 29, 2007, truly changed the world.

What iPhone milestones have passed since Steve Jobs introduced this stunning hybrid device, which combined a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device? Check out our handy guide to 10 years of iPhone history.

Today in Apple history: Power Mac G5 packs world’s first 64-bit CPU

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G5 computer
A 64-bit CPU powered Apple's stunning "cheese grater" Power Mac G5.
Photo: Bernie Kohl/Wikipedia CC

Jun 23 June 23, 2003: Apple launches its gorgeous Power Mac G5, a powerhouse desktop computer with a perforated aluminum chassis that earns it the affectionate nickname the “cheese grater.”

Starting at an affordable $1,999 ($2,650 in today’s terms), the Power Mac G5 is the world’s first 64-bit personal computer — and Apple’s fastest machine yet.

Jony Ive wants to design a soap dispenser

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Apple Design Boss Jony Ive has some low-tech ambitions.
Photo: Apple

After developing some of the most iconic tech products of the last two decades, Apple’s design boss Jony Ive has some astonishingly low-tech ambitions when it comes to the future.

During a recent interview at a conference organized by the Norman Foster Foundation, Jony Ive gave a surprising answer when what futuristic product he would like to design next.

“A soap dispenser,” Ive replied.

Liveblog: Apple unveils new software lineup at WWDC 2017

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Get ready for WWDC 2017.
Get ready for WWDC 2017.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference is set to kick off in just a few short hours, and rumors indicate we could be in for the iPhone-maker’s most action-packed keynote in years.

Not only is Apple expected to unveil iOS 11, macOS 10.13, tvOS 11 and watchOS 4, but today’s event could also showcase some fresh new hardware. Cult of Mac will be here to liveblog all the festivities with up-to-the-minute analysis on all the new software, hardware and more.

Tim Cook and company take the stage today at 10 a.m. Pacific in San Jose, California, but we’ll be kicking off the fun a little early. Come join the action!

Is it time for Apple to say goodbye to Jony Ive? [Friday Night Fights]

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friday_night_fights
Is Apple in desperate need of new ideas?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s been some time since Apple delivered something really revolutionary. Every product in its stores looks just like it did last year… and the year before that… and the year before that.

Friday Night Fights bugFans will pin most of the blame on chief design officer Jony Ive. After more than two decades of spectacular and unparalleled ideas, it seems Steve Jobs’s best friend is running on empty. Is it time for him to go to make room for fresh blood and new ideas?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we battle it out over whether Apple’s design team needs significant change.

Jony Ive becomes Chancellor at London’s Royal College of Art

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Jony Ive gets animated as he talks about Apple Watch. Photo: Vogue
"No running in study hall!"
Photo: Vogue

Jony Ive will take over from Sir James Dyson as the new Chancellor at London’s Royal College of Art, assuming the post in July 2017.

The five-year, unpaid position doesn’t take Ive away from Apple, although it will require him to take occasional meetings and help govern. And give him a few added trips to his home turf, too!

Jony Ive talks Silicon Valley’s culture in BBC interview

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Apple's Jony Ive at least year's Vanity Fair Summit.
Jony Ive agrees that diversity is one of Apple's biggest strengths.
Photo: Vanity Fair/YouTube

Jony Ive was interviewed on the BBC’s Today program on BBC Radio 4 today, during which he talked about the importance of design, and Apple’s push to embrace diversity.

“At Apple, we’ve been very clear about how important it is that we have a diverse pool of talent that we can hire from,” Ive said. He also described the way that Silicon Valley’s cultural diversity, comprising people from all over the world, is what makes it special.

Today in Apple history: It’s time for Apple Watch

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Get your Apple Watch ready for the new iPhone.
The Apple Watch was the first major new product launch of the post-Steve era.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

April24 April 24, 2015: It’s time for the official release of the Apple Watch, the wearable device Tim Cook describes as the “next chapter in Apple history.”

Fans, having endured a seven-month wait since the device’s unveiling at a keynote the previous September, can finally strap an Apple Watch onto their wrists. Behind the scenes, however, this moment been a lot longer in the making.

Touch ID moves to the back in new iPhone 8 renderings

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iPhone 8 rear shell mockup.
iPhone 8 rear shell mockup.
Photo: Weibo

Apple may make the surprising move of relocating the Touch ID button to the back of the iPhone this year, but based on renderings of a leaked schematic, it wouldn’t look that bad.

Several renders, based on the supposed iPhone 8 schematic that hit the internet this week, show what the device’s rear shell might look like during production. It’s not a photo of the real iPhone shell, but for now this is as close to the real deal as we’re going to get.

Here’s another angle: