Tony Fadell talks early work on iPhone, says he almost lost a prototype at an airport

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Tony Fadell, better known as the “iPod godfather” has shared some of his stories from working on the original iPhone, including the time he almost lost a prototype at an airport.

Via BBC, Fadell says that he was traveling with the iPhone when he thought he lost it. Fadell explained that Steve Jobs told him that if anyone were to to leak the information to the world, they would get fired immediately.

After several hours, with a full search party that didn’t even know what they were looking for, the iPhone was found.

“Steve had expressly told me it was totally top secret. He said he was going to fire anyone who tells the world. I was sweating bullets. I was walking through every scenario thinking about what could happen.”

“It fell out of my pocket and it was lodged in between the seats!”

Fadell also talked about the iPod-inspired iPhone prototype with a click-wheel.

“We were turning it into a rotary phone from the sixties,” Fadell remembered. “We were like, ‘This doesn’t work! It’s too hard to use’.”

While Apple was prototyping an iPhone with a touch screen, the company had also been working on a Mac with a touch screen.

“They had been working on this in secret. It was the size of a ping pong table. Steve showed it to me and said, ‘I want to take that and put it on an iPod’.

“We needed thousands of people working on all of this, at the same time, for it to land together for the launch.

“And then we only had six months after that to ship it. Obviously we pulled it off, but it was not easy.”

Interestingly enough, Fadell told the team to make sure the iPhone worked with a stylus. But as we all know, Jobs was against the idea but Fadell and his team was working on it without Jobs’ knowledge. We did it without his knowledge, it was behind the scenes. He would’ve ripped my head off.”

The full interview can be found here.

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