Tony Fadell

Today in Apple history: Apple offers ice water to Windows users in hell

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iTunes
On this day in 2003, Steve Jobs revealed his plan to bring iTunes to Windows.
Photo: Apple

October 16: Today in Apple history: iTunes Music Store comes to Windows October 16, 2003: Six months after opening the iTunes Music Store for Mac owners, Apple expands the service to cover Windows PCs as well.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs later quips that making iTunes available to Windows owners is akin to “giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.”

The first iPod went from pitch to shipped product in 7 months

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The first iPod went from pitch to shipped product in 7 months
The first iPod was a massive hit for Apple.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Whether it’s smartwatches or smart speakers, Apple rarely rushes to be the first company to move into a new product category. But once Apple’s decided to commit, it moves pretty darn quickly — as an iPod anecdote shared (indirectly) by former Apple exec Tony Fadell makes clear.

In a tweet made by the CEO of Stripe, Patrick Collison, Tony “Podfather” Fadell reveals the timeline of the original iPod. And it was pretty mind-blowingly intensive.

Quit or canned? Why is Angela Ahrendts leaving Apple? [Opinion]

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Ahrendts
Did Angela Ahrendts jump or was she pushed?
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When Apple fires an executive, the company is rarely straightforward about the situation. Apple never puts out a press release stating plainly that the executive was canned. So Tuesday’s unexpected announcement that Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s head of retail, is leaving in April led many to suspect she was fired.

That’s because the announcement came as a surprise and seems rushed. She’s certainly not retiring or quitting to join another company. The press release phrase “new personal and professional pursuits” sounds like code for “canned.”

General Magic trailer gives peek into one of Silicon Valley’s most influential startups

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The smartphone that never was.
Photo: Spellbound Productions

The documentary about the most important tech company you’ve never heard of is nearly ready to hit the big screen.

General Magic, a ‘90s startup created by some of the best minds at Apple, is getting the documentary treatment it deserves and the trailer is finally here.

Check it out:

General Magic tells story of Apple spinoff that almost changed the world

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General Magic documentary tells story of the iPhone that never was!
The iPhone that never was!
Photo: Spellbound Productions

How do you follow a project like the Macintosh? A high-flying Apple spinoff called General Magic tried to answer that question in the early 1990s.

After revolutionizing the personal computer, a team of ambitious ex-Apple engineers set out to build a connected touchscreen mobile device that prefigured the iPhone by 25 years. Their startup, General Magic, became one of the hottest ventures in Silicon Valley — before it all came crashing down.

“That period is one of the most important in computing history,” Sarah Kerruish, co-director of new documentary General Magic, told Cult of Mac. “It’s when handhelds were first realized, and when we saw the first early stages of the internet. General Magic combines these profoundly important threads in technology.”

Apple should battle smartphone addiction, iPod creator says

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What does Tony Fadell,
Tony Fadell wants Apple to help fight smartphone addiction.
Photo: Nest

Former Apple executive, father of the iPod and current Nest CEO Tony Fadell wants Apple to do more to battle smartphone addiction.

In a newly published op-ed, Fadell argues that it would be “easy” for Apple to create a deep dashboard that could reveal exactly how much time we spend on different apps.

Tech titans bow down to iPhone’s radical change

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What does Tony Fadell,
What does Tony Fadell, "godfather" of the iPod, think of the iPhone?
Photo: Nest

iPhone turns 10Over the past decade, the iPhone has changed pretty much everything, from communication and gaming to the way in which we consume news and pay for our groceries. But how has the device impacted the lives of tech titans?

Find out from Eben Upton, creator of Raspberry Pi; Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia; Tony Fadell, founder of Nest and “godfather” of the iPod, and more.

See extremely rare iPhone prototypes in action

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iPhone prototypes
These prototypes show some of the early steps Apple took in developing the revolutionary iPhone.
Photo: Hap Plain

iPhone turns 10 Apple collector Hap Plain can observe the iPhone’s 10th anniversary today by powering up two extremely rare iPhone prototypes — and you can see them in action, too.

The prototypes, which likely passed through the hands of Apple execs including Steve Jobs, Tony Fadell and Scott Forstall, offer a unique glimpse at iPhone development. You can see Plain fire them up in the video below, the latest entry in Cult of Mac’s collaboration with Wired UK to recap a decade of the iPhone.

Cult of Mac teams up with Wired UK for 10 years of iPhone

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Qualcomm patents
A lot has changed since the iPhone made its debut in 2007.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 The iPhone is turning 10 years old this week and we’re ready to celebrate with more coverage and insight than any Apple fanboy could ever want. Every day through June 29, we’ll be publishing a batch of stories focused on the greatest device Apple’s ever made.

Cult of Mac is collaborating with Wired UK for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. We’ll run down some of the device’s biggest innovations, failures and what’s in store for the future.

Check out what we’ve written so far:

Apple tore apart 100 rival devices to build its perfect phone

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Fadell
Tony Fadell spills the beans on the original iPhone's creation.
Photo: Nest

iPhone turns 10 As Apple scrambled to create the first iPhone, the company’s engineers tore apart literally dozens of rival products to work out what made them tick, according to a new interview with former Apple exec Tony Fadell.

He may be best known today as the founder of Nest, but Fadell was one of the fathers of the iPhone — which, if you haven’t heard, celebrates its 10th birthday this week. Fadell reveals more about Apple’s reverse engineering efforts in an interview with Wired U.K..

Cult of Mac is collaborating with Wired U.K. all this week for an in-depth look at the iPhone’s first decade — and the device’s lasting impact.

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.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

6 things we learned from the creation of iPhone documentary

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iPhone doc
Scott Forstall and others chip in to tell their iPhone war stories.
Photo: WSJ

If you hadn’t heard by now, this week marks the tenth anniversary of a little device called the iPhone going on sale. To celebrate, the Wall Street Journal has created a new mini-documentary, entitled Behind the Glass, detailing the making of Apple’s breakthrough smartphone.

Courtesy of interviews with former Apple execs Tony Fadell, Scott Forstall and Greg Christie, here are the top factoids we learned from it.

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.

Did Phil Schiller really want a physical keyboard on iPhone?

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Blackberry won its case against Ryan Seacrest. Photo: Typo
Phil Schiller allegedly wanted the iPhone to look more like this. Possibly.
Photo: Typo

One of the fascinating tidbits of Apple history that emerged online this week was the story that Phil Schiller was insistent that the original iPhone ship with a physical keyboard.

Only problem is, no-one seems to know whether it’s true or not. Former Apple exec Tony Fadell claimed it is. Schiller denied it. Now Fadell has denied it, too, but the author he told the story to is sticking by what he was told. What a mess!

App makers take stand against Trump’s immigration ban

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Donald Trump signing document
App makers are stepping up to fight Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.
Photo: The White House

President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from some Islamic countries from entering the United States has been met with a flood of tech companies making record-breaking donations to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The real reason iPhone didn’t inherit iPod’s click-wheel UI

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iPhonealternate
Yep, this is how the iPhone could have looked -- had project P1 taken off.
Photo: Apple

Former Apple VP Tony Fadell has dispelled the popular rumor that Apple had two rival teams working on different user interfaces for the first prototype iPhone.

Video of two prototype operating system builds for the original iPhone surfaced this week as Apple celebrated the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. One of the UIs proposed adopted the iPod’s click wheel interface and, according to Fadell, it actually worked really well.

There was just one problem: It sucked at making calls.

New video shows iPhone prototypes going head-to-head

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Apple's earliest iOS prototypes.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

Apple calls iOS “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” but it was almost the world’s worst.

Before deciding on the icon-based user interface we know and love today, Apple designed an awful prototype UI that was based on the iPod’s software and controlled with a virtual click-wheel. Check it out in the video below.

Tony Fadell nearly lost an original iPhone prototype at the airport

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Fadell
Nest CEO Tony Fadell had a very, very bad day.
Photo: Nest

Remember that massive news news story from 2010, when an Apple engineer accidentally left an iPhone 4 prototype in a bar in Redwood City, only for it to wind up in the hands of Gizmodo?

Well, a much, much bigger story could have happened a few years earlier — when then-Senior Vice President of Apple’s iPod Division Tony Fadell came close to losing an original iPhone prototype at an airport, prior to it being publicly unveiled.

Now that’s got to be a bad day at the office!

Tony Fadell is leaving the Nest

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Fadell
From the sound of things, Nest CEO Tony Fadell learned quite a bit from working with Steve Jobs.
Photo: Nest

Nest co-founder and CEO Tony Fadell revealed today that he’s taking flight and leaving the company he created.

The godfather of the iPod hit a grand slam with the launch of his smart-thermostat company that was bought by Google, but it appears he’s ready to call it quits just six years into Nest’s run.

Jony Ive and Tony Fadell helped design this fancy $700 juicer

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The Juicero is like a Keurig for juicing.
The Juicero is like a Keurig for juicing.
Photo: Juicero

The iPod of juicers won’t be sold by Apple, but Jony Ive and former Apple exec Tony Fadell each helped design what could become the closest thing.

Juicero, a startup backed by Campbell Soup and Google, is launching the world’s first cold-press juicing system today, that takes the hassle out of liquifying raw vegetables by using juice packs to create a clean and simple press.

Basically, it’s like a Keurig, only it spits out delicious juice.

How Apple’s favorite reviewer convinced Jobs to bring iTunes to PC

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iPod-man
If you used an iPod on PC, you can thank Walt Mossberg.
Photo: Apple

Bringing the iPod to the PC was one of the keys to making Apple’s breakthrough music player the ubiquitous mega-hit that it became. But, as with the decision to allow an App Store on iOS, then-CEO Steve Jobs wasn’t exactly on-board with the idea from the start.

In fact, according to a new interview with Nest CEO (and former Apple executive) Tony Fadell, it virtually turned into a “knock-down, drag-out” battle between the pro-PC camp at Apple and Jobs.

Until Walt Mossberg, of all people, managed to break the deadlock.

New version of Google Glass will turn your boss into a Glasshole

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Google Glass header
Just when you thought you were safe from the Glassholes ...
Photo: Google

Google Glass has returned to keep looking like a really lame version of the future, according to reports. The company is rolling out a new, office-ready version of its augmented-reality wearable to businesses that aims to correct some of the problems of the earlier model.

The new hardware features a smaller form factor, prolonged battery life, and a faster processor.

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Tony Fadell: I volunteered to save Google Glass

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When Tony Fadell was put in charge of Google Glass earlier this year, we wrote that the father of the iPod had been “tasked with saving Google Glass from extinction.”

According to a new interview with the Nest co-founder, that’s not entirely accurate, though. Fadell says that rather than being saddled with the project by Google, he actively asked for it.

“It wasn’t handed to me and said, ‘Tony clean it up,'” he explained. “I offered. I remember what it was like when we did the iPod and the iPhone [at Apple]. I think this can be that important, but it’s going to take time to get it right.”

The iPod’s godfather is still waiting for his Apple Watch

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Fadell
From the sound of things, Nest CEO Tony Fadell learned quite a bit from working with Steve Jobs.
Photo: Nest

Before creating the home automation company Nest, Tony Fadell cut his teeth at Apple by creating revolutionary products like the iPod. You’d think being one of the key guys behind Apple’s resurgence in the early aughts means you get hooked up with Apple products for life, but according to Fadell, he had to pre-order the Apple Watch like the rest of us peasants. And he’s still waiting for it to arrive.