Image by Jay Williams via The Telegraph
Tony Fadell is widely known as the ‘father’ of the iPod, Apple’s iconic music player, where he was involved with 18 generations of design. Also the creator of the Nest smart thermostat (which sold to Google for $3.2 billion), Fadell spoke yesterday with Stephen Fry about Apple and technology at the 2014 Hay Festival in Wales.
It was very interesting working with Steve Jobs.
When we’d finished the first iPod and we had shown the world, literally hours after it was shown to the world we were back in the lab talking about what was not right, what we needed to do to fix the next version. Literally, hours later. We always said, celebrate for microseconds and let’s move on and continue our work of perfection. And that happened time and again.
With the iPod, I went and did all of the research over six to eight weeks.
I pulled together the storage, the batteries, the schematics and the pricing, put it together in a package, made a Styrofoam model, weighted it with my grandfather’s fishing weights and then made two other models because with Steve you always had to make three – two that were really s—. Then after six weeks of doing that day and night, I brought them in and presented them to Steve.
How did the famous touch wheel interface on the iPod come about? Thank Phil Schiller:
I made some buttons.
And [Apple executive] Phil Schiller, who is still at the company today, he brought in a wheel from a product and he was like, ‘We need to have this on it’. I said, I know how that works. Ok, we’ll roll that out as well. About seven months later we shipped the first iPod.
The former Apple hardware designer previously revealed how the iPhone at one point was originally planned to have a physical keyboard, but was ditched last minute for a touchscreen design instead.
Fadell’s company, Nest, also is the creator of the Protect smoke alarm—which was recently recalled over concerns a certain feature can accidentally turn the alarm off.
You can check out the rest of the interview here—it’s worth a Sunday read.