Steven Levy of the Backchannel Blog posted an interview with Apple SVP Phil Schiller, just in time for Apple’s iPhone anniversary. The interview consists of questions regarding the success of the iPhone along with some doubts leading up to launch.
Phil Schiller began by responding to a question regarding voice-only assistants. He says that nothing can beat an assistant that’s always with you and has a color display to present information.
Levy goes on to ask the question everyone wants to ask: did he predict just how monumental the iPhone would be? Schiller says that he knew it was going to be big but not at the scale of how it turned out to be. The iPhone became the most successful consumer electronics device ever with over one billion units sold.
He also talks about the internal debate of whether or not the iPhone should be opened up to third-party developers. Jobs originally shelved the idea due to time constraints but it became obvious that apps is what the phone needed to complete the puzzle. However, Schiller quickly reacted by saying that the original iPhone stood on its own back in 2007 without the App Store.
In regards to product innovation, Schiller says the iPhone is still making significant progress. He says the upgrades are still significant but people’s reaction have changed over time.
“I think our expectations are changing more, not the leaps in the products. If you look through every version—from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G to the 4 to the 4S, you see great changes all throughout. You see screen size change from three and a half inch to four inch to four point seven and five point five. You see cameras going through incredible change, from the first camera that couldn’t shoot video, to then having both a front and a backside camera, to now three cameras with the stuff we’re doing, and with live photos and 4K video.” (Maybe it’s just a happenstance that he didn’t provide examples from iPhone versions 6 and 7.)
Phil does say that the iPhone is still the leader in the industry, even ten years later. He cites ‘unmatched’ quality, however says that other smartphone vendors drives Apple to continue to create better products.