In its ten years of existence, the iPhone has become one of the most important, ubiquitous, and iconic pieces of technology in the everyday life of the consumer. However, to fully understand where the device comes from, and how it has shaped and continues to shape the trajectory of Apple, it is important to view the device with a bit of perspective and understand where it its roots lie.
All those years ago, the original iPhone had been divided into two separate projects: P1 and P2. Tony Fadell, the “Godfather” of the iPod, was in charge of the P1 project, while Scott Forstall was the head honcho of the P2 project. While both had the goal of creating a phone, they were both following very different trajectories, reads details leaked in a new piece from Sonny Dickson.
Fadell’s P1 project boiled down to being essentially an iPod operating system on a touch screen device. At the time of development, the iPod had achieved massive success in the technology markets and people were very comfortable with the device and its functionality.
Forstall’s P2 project, on the other hand, was following a different design ethos. Contrary to the P1 interface, the P2 operating system made use of individual icons allowing users to interact with the phone rather that an iPod-esque scroll wheel. The P2 prototype was indeed the first true touchscreen, app-driven phone experience.
“When the iPhone was undergoing development, both projects ran what is know as Acorn OS and ran on the same hardware,” reads the report. “Both teams were extremely competitive because both project teams wanted to impress Steve Jobs.” This obviously goes without saying, as Apple was well on its way to becoming the most valuable tech company in the world,
The P2 took significantly longer to initialize due to having a true operating system, while the P1 took a much shorter amount of time as it had a much slimmer OS. Interestingly, these early iPhone prototypes required a custom process to turn off, as they were so early in the development process that an “off switch” had yet to be integrated.
Forstall’s iPhone P2 project is what came to be known as the original selling model of the iPhone, paving the foundation of where we are today, 10 years in the future. Check out the interesting comparison of the early prototypes below.
Check out the video below detailing both interfaces (Dickson had leaked the iPod prototype “Acorn” last week):