Steve Jobs at D8: iPhone Came From Multitouch Tablet Idea

Have you heard about the D: All Things Digital conference? Started in 2003 by the Wall Street Journal the conference has been on the forefront of debuting new technology and having some of the tech industry’s most influential speakers participating. Yesterday’s guest was Apple CEO Steve Jobs–who had a lot to talk about with hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in the 8th annual conference.

Steve Jobs covered many topics including: Flash, Gizmodo’s iPhone leak, Google, and AT&T to name a few. What was most interesting to me was when Jobs divulged some info on how the iPhone concept first originated. Engadget did a great job with their live blog from the event. Read below as Jobs sheds light on how the iPhone first came to life:

Steve: And same thing on the tablet. I remember telling you I thought handwriting was the slowest input method ever. We reimagined the tablet, we didn’t do what MSFT did. They had a totally different idea than us. And that drove everything. There tablet was based on a PC. It had the battery life, the weight, it needed a cursor like a PC. But the minute you throw a stylus out, you have the precision of a finger, you can’t use a PC OS. You have to create it from scratch.

Steve: We found a way to sell the phone that we want to sell. We didn’t think we could do it, but we did. We’d never been in this business, and AT&T took a big leap on us, and it’s worked out really well. And we really changed the rules of the game.

Walt: So when you built this OS, you did it in a phone. Why? Why not a tablet first.

Steve: I’ll tell you. Actually. It started on a tablet first.

Steve: I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on. I asked our people about it. And six months later they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He then got inertial scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘my god, we can build a phone with this’ and we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the phone.

Steve as usual was very frank and to the point when answering questions. His response to Adobe and the whole Flash issue is very clear–he calls the choice to ditch Flash a “techical decision” and “choosing wisely” when it comes to picking long term technologies for Apple to use. Apple was “tired of these guys trashing us” (Adobe). Check out the following D8 video below (ironically, it was a Flash video from the WSJ–but it’s already on YouTube):

[D8, Engadget]