Inside Apple's 6-Month Race to Make the First iPhone a Reality

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Six months before the first iPhone was released into the eager hands of the buying public, all Apple had was a glitzy demo of a product that, in reality, barely existed. There were still hundreds of problems—from tiny software bugs to seemingly insurmountable hardware hurdles—to be solved. Faced with a hard shipping deadline of June 29, Apple’s employees scrambled as managers bickered and executives locked horns. This story of the 24 weeks, three days, and three hours leading up to the launch of the iPhone is excerpted from Fred Vogelstein’s 2013 book, “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution.” Buy it on Amazon.

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Everyone agreed that Steve Jobs’s iPhone demo back in January 2007 had been flawless—remarkable even. He’d taken a barely working iPhone prototype and, with some engineering sleight of hand, made millions want to buy one right away. But sleight of hand wouldn’t cut it when the iPhone actually went on sale June 29. Consumers would expect it to work as flawlessly as Jobs made them look onstage. And the iPhone team knew they were going to need every hour between early January and that immovable on-sale date.

It may have looked like Jobs already had zillions of iPhones ready for sale. In truth, all Apple had was a few dozen dozen prototypes. And those prototypes were so fragile they couldn’t withstand ordinary shipping from Apple’s Asian factories, let alone daily use. They only made it to the iPhone January unveiling because an Apple executive had flown to Asia and flown back with them as carry-on luggage. “We had to figure out how to build iPhones in mass quantity,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s then head of iPhone product marketing. Anyone can make one hundred of something. Making a million of them is something else altogether.

“How do you build and test antennas, for example?,” he said. “Every unit that came off the production line would need to be tested and characterized because there is great variability in how antennas get built on an assembly line. That affects the radio performance.” Apple was so obsessive about leaving nothing to chance that it actually designed and built its own testing setup at Apple headquarters to address these issues. “Then we brought Foxconn [Apple’s Asian manufacturing partner] in and said, ‘Replicate this five hundred times or whatever it takes to get it done.'”

Sarah Crichton Books

It wasn’t simply a matter of refining and producing parts that worked right. Key features of the iPhone were far from perfected. Its memory and the virtual keyboard, already one of its most controversial features, still didn’t work right. Touching the letter “e”—the most frequently used letter in the alphabet—often caused other letters to pop up around the keyboard. Instead of appearing instantly after being “typed,” letters would emerge after annoying lags.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had been among the many declaring the iPhone a failed product because it didn’t have a physical keyboard. Apple executives were worried too. They weren’t comfortable using the keyboard either. “Everyone was concerned about touching on something that doesn’t have any physical feedback,” one of the executives said. But Jobs was unyielding on the issue. “Steve’s rationale was just what he said onstage. ‘You put keys on, and now you’ve got these fixed keys that don’t work for every app. Worse, you’ve lost half your screen real estate.’ So everyone understood that this was incredibly important to get right—a make-or-break kind of thing.”

Apple needed to reengineer the iPhone’s display screen too. While Jobs had decreed it would be glass, not plastic, and had found a source for the material the previous fall, it was not as simple a matter as swapping one screen for the other. While Corning supplied the glass, that was only one of many steps necessary to create a working iPhone touchscreen. The multitouch sensors had to be embedded in the glass, not just attached to it, in order to work correctly. But the process of embedding the sensors in glass was entirely different from embedding them in plastic.

Glass is heavier than plastic too, so Apple’s engineers needed a stronger adhesive to hold the assembly in place. They had to readjust how all the buttons would work on a phone now made with a stiffer material (glass doesn’t bend like plastic). They had to rebalance the device to account for the difference in screen weight. “It was a really, really big deal,” said an executive involved in the process. “I think Jeff Williams [Apple’s then head of manufacturing] found every glass-cutting machine in China to make that happen.”

Lastly, Apple had to invent its own call-testing protocols to get the phone accepted on AT&T’s network. Manufacturers typically just let the carriers do this, but Apple wanted its own data in case of complaints about the iPhone’s call quality. It imagined AT&T using its data to blame call problems on the iPhone when they were largely the network’s fault. It wanted a way to refute that, Borchers said. “So we loaded [several] phones and computers into my VW Jetta and just went in loops and looked for call drops,” said engineer Shuvo Chatterjee. The phones were programmed to autodial certain numbers at certain intervals, with the computers to measure the results.

Hundreds of attendees flock to the Apple booth at the Macworld conference in San Francisco, January 2007. Apple unveiled an eagerly-anticipated mobile phone with a touch-screen.

TONY AVELAR/Getty Images

“Now Apple has a whole process, with special vans, but back then we were making it up as we went along in terms of what needed to be tested,” Chatterjee said. “Sometimes it would be ‘Scott [Forstall, the head of iPhone software,] had a call drop. Go figure out what’s going on.’ So we’d drive by his house and try to figure out if there was a dead zone. That happened with Steve too. There were a couple of times where we drove around their houses enough that we worried that neighbors would call the police.”

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Ultimately it fell to Borchers to coordinate and manage most of these issues. He and his team essentially were the iPhone project managers, helping Jobs coordinate and edit the work of the various teams, before developing its entire marketing plan. He and his team were all engineers themselves—Borchers had a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford and a master’s degree from MIT—but their particular specialty was taking complicated engineering details and explaining them in laymen’s terms.

If a feature could not easily be explained, Borchers’s job was to ask why it was important to the project in the first place. “We helped decide the DNA of the product, nurtured that DNA through the development process, and then translated that into the message the product goes out with,” he said. “So we got very involved with what features were going in and what it was going to look like.”

Many customers associated Borchers with the first iPhone as much as they did Jobs because Borchers starred in the widely viewed instructional video. No one had ever seen a device like the iPhone before, and Apple wanted to make sure that new users would not feel flummoxed by a device with only one physical button besides On/Off, Volume Up/Down, and Silent/Ringer.

As part of the marketing run-up to launch, Borchers had planned to have Jobs tape a 30-minute video showing customers in detail how to use the iPhone. But at the last minute Jobs told Borchers to do it instead. “We had built a studio for Steve [on the first floor] in Building One so he could just drop down [from his fourth-floor office], do it, and go back to work. But I think he realized it was just going to be a ton of his time. So instead I spent a month doing takes and rehearsals in makeup and getting shaved twice a day and wearing one of Steve’s mock black turtlenecks.” Borchers is now the chief marketing officer at Dolby Laboratories. But when I visited him at Opus Capital, the VC firm he landed at after leaving Apple in 2009, he had the shirt in Plexiglas on the wall of his office. “There were no other shirts like them when I did the video,” he told me. “So that’s what the clothespins are for. They pinned them along the back so it fit me because I [at five feet eight] am smaller than Steve [who was six feet two].”

Borchers had ended up at Apple after three years at Nike, and then four years at Nokia, when it was the most dominant phone manufacturer in the world. He’d joined Apple in 2004 to help market the iPod to car companies such as BMW and develop accessories with companies such as his former employer Nike. When Apple decided to build the iPhone at the end of 2004, he was one of the first managers tapped to work on the project. He was well-known among senior executives partially because he’d interviewed for a higher-ranking Apple job in 2002, only to have Jobs decide at the last minute that he wanted an internal candidate. “I remember sitting in a conference room, having Steve walk in, look at my CV, and ask, ‘Why are you even remotely qualified for this job?’ Ten minutes in, he says, ‘OK, I’ve heard what I need.’ I thought, ‘Well, OK. At least I got one brush with Steve.'”

That rejection turned into a blessing. Borchers came in a notch lower on the organizational chart a year later, earned Jobs’s confidence over the following year, and became a natural to work on the iPhone because of his Nokia background. “So at the end of 2004 I became one of the first marketing employees for the iPhone.”

Borchers’s job gave him great insight into all aspects of the iPhone project. But at age forty-seven, it also gave him more responsibility than he’d ever had before in his life. He’d be a key player at every public presentation Apple would make for the iPhone. He’d help write many of Jobs’s slides. And he’d have a say in every bit of advertising and PR associated with the device. It also meant that by the end of Macworld 2007, Borchers was more tired than he could ever have imagined.

Borchers had been one of the managers responsible for everything Apple did at Macworld, and when he wasn’t spending twelve-plus hours a day at the convention center through the weekend, he was in his car driving the forty miles from San Francisco to his home in Pleasanton. He’d driven all two dozen of the demo iPhones up to the convention center in the trunk of his Acura the previous Thursday—bagged in plastic and sitting in two subdivided boxes one might use for liquor. He’d driven them all back the following Friday night. A car with a member of Apple’s security team followed him up and back while he worried what would happen to his Apple career if he got pulled over or got into an accident. There were no other phones, so had his car gone into a ditch or caught fire, there would have been no iPhone to unveil. “I drove them into the basement of the Moscone Center and hand-carried them up to a special locked room we’d built where we had engineers waiting to unpack them and retest them for what felt like the sixty-fifth time that day.”

In between these two incredibly tense drives, Borchers had been the conductor of how every iPhone looked and was displayed at Macworld. He’d been responsible for scheduling rehearsals, making sure the right people and equipment were always in place, and for making sure security was sufficient so that any pictures of the phone didn’t leak out. He was so busy he didn’t even get a chance to watch the keynote live. While Jobs was speaking, Borchers was installing iPhones in spinning Plexiglas display cases on the show floor, and making sure the demonstrators Apple had hired for the event had devices to demo.

Only the morning after returning home to Pleasanton did Borchers realize what a long six days it had been. He’d spent the night before the Tuesday keynote at a San Francisco hotel up the street from Moscone, but he’d forgotten to check out, and he’d left all his luggage in his room.

The first Apple iPhone seen January 2007.

Jason DeCrow/AP

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Getting the iPhone ready for sale wasn’t the only distraction Apple engineers had to contend with in early 2007. To get the iPhone built, Jobs had pitted two of his star executives against each other—Scott Forstall and Tony Fadell—to see who could come up with the best product. The fallout from that two-year fight was now rippling through the corporation. It had been an ugly war, full of accusations of sabotage and backstabbing, pitting friends against friends. It had left many people on both sides feeling that Apple no longer resembled the company they had joined. Instead of being the counterculture underdog, they worried it had been transformed into a soulless profit machine, a big company with IBM-style corporate politics.

There is no virtue in being a struggling company, as Apple was for so many years, and the dwindling resources of a company nearing bankruptcy—as Apple was when Jobs returned in 1997—created its own brand of snake-pit politics. But most at Apple in 2007 hadn’t been there then. Apple may have been founded in 1976, but to most of its employees it was going through the growing pains of a ten-year-old company, not a thirty-year-old company. From 2002 to 2007 the number of employees at Apple had doubled to twenty thousand.

While some believe tensions with Forstall prompted Fadell to resign three years later, Fadell compellingly rejects this. He says he and his wife, who ran HR, left to be with their young children, despite Jobs’s efforts to make them stay. They left millions of dollars in stocks behind. Either way, the iPhone took Apple’s business to new heights. Apple became the most valuable company in the world because of their work.

But Forstall had been so aggressive in his effort to beat Fadell that it scared people. Many wondered whether there was anything he wouldn’t do to get ahead. CEO Tim Cook would eventually push Forstall out of Apple in 2012. But back in 2007 it looked as if he were going to be there forever, and when he was put in charge of all iPhone software in 2007, a huge exodus of talent followed. Those who stayed got to watch Forstall’s naked ambition on full display. Even his fans admit that before he left, he had become a cliché of a difficult boss—someone who takes credit for underlings’ good work, but is swift to blame them for his own screw-ups. When Jobs was alive, Forstall drove colleagues mad with his sanctimonious “Steve wouldn’t like that” critique, and he made no secret of his seeing himself as the eventual Apple CEO.

In 2011, Businessweek reported that chief designer Jony Ive and head of technology Bob Mansfield were so suspicious of Forstall they refused to meet with him unless CEO Tim Cook was present too. I’ve heard that was true for iTunes boss Eddy Cue as well.

It wasn’t shocking to see Jobs play two executives off against each other; he was well-known for his Machiavellian side. But what was surprising was that Jobs let the fight go on so long and affect so many people at Apple.

“It was incredibly destructive,” one executive said. “I think Steve would have been great during ancient Roman times, where you could watch people get thrown to the lions and be eaten. He played them [Fadell and Forstall] off each other. Tony was the golden boy for a while, then Forstall, then back to Tony, then back to Forstall. It became a circus. Remember “Spy vs. Spy” [a 1960s comic strip that pitted a white spy (the United States) against a black one (the Soviet Union)] in Mad magazine? It was like that—comical—if it hadn’t wasted so much time.”

Another executive, remarkably, made the same comparison. “The first time I saw [the movie] Gladiator [in 2007], I told my husband, ‘This feels familiar,'” she said. (Forstall would not be interviewed for this project. Fadell is not shy about his feelings, though. After Apple pushed Forstall out, Fadell told the BBC, “Scott got what he deserved.”)

In retrospect, many at Apple believe that it ultimately wasn’t a fair fight. Fadell’s expertise was hardware; Forstall’s was software. That gave Forstall a built-in advantage because many believed that Jobs was much more interested in the software and industrial design of Apple products than the innards. But while the fight was going on, it wasn’t at all clear how it was going to turn out.

Andy Grignon, a senior manager at Apple during the iPhone development, knows firsthand how nasty the fight between Forstall and Fadell was. He wound up in the middle and ended up feeling pulled in opposite directions like a piece of warm taffy. Even before work on the iPhone started, Grignon discovered simmering tension between the two executives. In 2004 Forstall tried to block Grignon from taking a job in Fadell’s division. Grignon had worked for Forstall for three years building products called Dashboard and iChat. He thought they were decent work friends. They would go rock climbing together on the weekends. But when Fadell offered him a better opportunity inside Apple, Forstall went out of his way to block it. He told Grignon that he supported his decision to move. Then Forstall went behind Grignon’s back to Jobs himself to stop it. “And he made enough noise to Steve that Steve actually intervened on my transfer to Tony’s org. He sat Forstall [and some other executives] in a room and basically beat them all down saying, ‘OK, you can have Andy and nobody else. Nobody else gets to transfer from software [under Forstall] to iPod [under Fadell].’ That’s when the animosity between them really started.”

The fight was like a religious war. When work on the iPhone began, Forstall constructed an elaborate secret organization to work on the project. It was so secret that it wasn’t clear for a while if Fadell even knew about it. From his office on the second floor of 2 Infinite Loop on Apple’s campus, Forstall started pulling in some of the best engineers from around the company, creating lockdown areas all over the building as he went. “If you were working weekends, you’d see the construction crews come in all the time putting up walls, security doors … everything … so that by Monday there was a new lockdown area. I’ve never seen walls put up that fast. Looking back, it’s almost comical to think about,” said Shuvo Chatterjee. “As they reconfigured, some of us were moving almost once every two months. For a while, I just kept everything permanently in boxes because I knew if I unpacked, I’d have to pack up and move again right away.” “It became a maze,” engineer Nitin Ganatra said. “You’d open this door and the previous door would close behind you. It was Sarah Winchester-y in some ways.”

Officially the iPhone was being run by Fadell. Fadell ran the iPod division, and it seemed natural to build the iPhone by starting with an iPod and just improving it. Forstall had a different and vastly more risky idea: figure out a way to shrink the software that ran on Macs and make it run on a phone. “We had all assumed the iPhone would run a version of the software we had designed for P1 [a version of the iPod OS designed for the first prototype],” said one of Fadell’s iPhone engineers. “But totally in parallel, Forstall and his team were working on a version of OS X to run the phone. We didn’t know.”

Jobs wanted to run OS X on the iPhone. He just didn’t think it could be done. When Forstall’s team actually did it, Forstall won control of the iPhone project. “There is no hardware-software guy at Apple,” said another iPhone engineer. “This has been a point of contention for a lot of people in the history of Apple. Hardware guys think they know software. And software guys think they know hardware. But Steve wouldn’t have it [be drawn into that debate among his executives]. So when Scott said, ‘Hey, Steve, there is this kick-ass software team in Tony’s org, and I want it,’ Steve is like, ‘Well, of course. You’re the software guy. They’re doing software, they should be on your team.’ By the time the iPhone went on sale in mid-2007, Forstall controlled many of its software engineers. And when Apple launched the iPod Touch a few months later, Forstall controlled that too.

People check out the new iPhone on display at MacWorld on January 10, 2007 in San Francisco, California. The device which is controlled by a touch screen will play music, surf the Internet and deliver voice mail and e-mail.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images

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Fadell later went on to start Nest, a company that makes the first good-looking, powerful, and easy-to-use home thermostat. Not surprisingly, it has all the design and software flourishes of an Apple product. When it launched in 2011, it was one of the most talked about new ventures in Silicon Valley. And when Fadell and his partners sold Nest to Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion, it was one of the Valley’s most talked about acquisitions

Fadell was truly Apple’s first golden boy of Jobs’s second stint at the company. At thirty-two he’d come to work at Apple only knowing that he was to work on some secret project he was told he was suited for. Four years later, as the line executive in charge of iPod, he was one of the most powerful people at Apple. By the fall of 2006, iPods represented 40 percent Apple’s $19 billion in revenue. And its market share, at more than 70 percent, seemed unassailable. Apple was selling more Macs too, but those sales represented less than 10 percent of all personal computers. The iPod’s success, meanwhile, had turned Jobs into a business icon once again.

Fadell had been exactly what Apple needed in 2001. He was young, brash, and smart, having been part of cutting-edge portable-hardware engineering in the Valley for fifteen years. He once told a reporter that he would have ended up in jail had he not discovered computers. He occasionally showed up for work with bleached hair. He was not good at holding his tongue when faced with sub-standard work or ideas. His first job out of college was at General Magic, a company Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld spun out of Apple in the early 1990s in the hope of developing some of the first software ever written exclusively for mobile devices. The project failed and Fadell found himself at Philips, the giant Dutch conglomerate, where he quickly became the company’s youngest executive. He ran the company’s new mobile-computing group, where he developed some early PDAs (the Velo and Nino), which sold decently. They also introduced him to the power of digital music on portable devices.

Fadell was getting ready to start his own company when Apple’s then head of hardware, Jon Rubinstein, called, trying to recruit Fadell for a job that, astonishingly, he was not allowed to disclose. According to Steven Levy’s book The Perfect Thing, Fadell took the call on a ski slope in Colorado in January and expressed interest on the spot. He had idolized Apple since he was twelve, according to Levy. That was when he’d spent the summer of ’81 caddying to save up enough money to buy an Apple II. Weeks after Rubinstein’s call, Fadell joined Apple, only discovering then that he was being hired as a consultant to help build the first iPod.

Grignon and others have said that Fadell’s rise never sat well with Forstall. Up until Fadell joined Apple, Jobs’s inner circle was composed of people he’d worked closely with at least from the beginning of his return in 1997, and in some cases from his days running NeXT, the computer company he’d founded after getting fired from Apple in 1985. Forstall had worked longer with Jobs than almost any other executive. He’d joined NeXT when he’d graduated from Stanford in 1992. Yet he wasn’t part of Jobs’s inner circle for a long time, and Fadell was. And Fadell, who was the same age as Forstall, was rising much faster in the corporation than Forstall. Fadell ran the iPod division, which generated 40 percent of Apple’s revenue. Forstall was in charge of the application software that came with a Mac—things such as Address Book, Mail, Safari, and Photo Booth.

But then Forstall and Jobs bonded. It was in 2003–4, and colleagues believe it was because Forstall developed a severe stomach ailment around the time Jobs was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Jobs, who at first tried to treat his own cancer with diet, developed a regimen for Forstall that appeared to cure him. After that, said Grignon, Forstall began coming to more and more of Jobs’s Monday senior-staff meetings. Ordinarily Forstall would not even have known about the iPhone project; he wasn’t senior enough. “So as soon as he found out through those inner-circle discussions that Jobs wanted to build a phone, that’s when he started to wedge himself in,” Grignon said.

Forstall couldn’t have been more different from Fadell. Forstall was smooth, engaging, and had Jobs’s flair for the dramatic gesture, having acted in high school plays in addition studying to computer science. Even then, say classmates, it was clear how ambitious and determined he was. As Businessweek put it in 2011, “In many ways, Forstall is a mini-Steve. He’s a hard-driving manager who obsesses over every detail. He has Jobs’s knack for translating technical, feature-set jargon into plain English. He’s known to have a taste for the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, in silver, the same car Jobs drove, and even has a signature on-stage costume: black shoes, jeans, and a black zippered sweater.”

For two years Forstall and Fadell fought about everything, often forcing Jobs to mediate disagreements over the smallest matters. Nitin Ganatra, who worked for Forstall and is now a consultant at Hornet Research, recalls one moment in 2006 when Jobs had to decide which group’s boot loader would run on the iPhone. It sounds like engineering minutia, and it is. The boot loader is the first piece of software that runs on a computer. It tells the processor to look for and start the disk that has the machine’s software on it. “We were like, ‘Why does Steve have to come in and make a decision about something this small? Can’t Scott and Tony figure it out on their own?'”

Another engineer, who reported to Fadell, expresses his frustration with the fight more bluntly: “For two years I worked Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s—insane hours—and it was hard to have to deal with this other political bullshit too.”

Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs discusses the iPhone during his keynote address on the opening day of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, June 11, 2007. Developers and IT professionals from around the globe come together to connect with Apple engineers and get a firsthand look at the latest technologies.

ROBYN BECK/Getty Images

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Despite the feuding and relentless deadline pressure, the iPhone—remarkably—stayed on schedule for its June 29 launch. When it finally went on sale, the last Friday of the month, the event was covered by the global news media as if Elvis Presley or John Lennon had risen from the dead. News crews camped out at Apple stores across the country to witness the pandemonium as eager customers waited on line for hours. Steven Levy, who now runs Backchannel (a part of WIRED), wrote about his experience covering the event.

Apple sold 270,000 iPhones in the first two days they were available. In the next six months Apple sold another 3.4 million iPhones, driving many to conclude that it had changed the cellphone industry forever.

Looking back, the iPhone launch feels like an even more remarkable accomplishment than it did at the time. For all the iPhone’s revolutionary design and features, a lot was wrong with it too. At $499 for the base model, it was too expensive. Virtually every other smartphone sold for closer to half that price. Consumers got the freedom to switch cell carriers or cancel their cell service anytime they wanted in return for paying so much more for the iPhone. Other, cheaper phones required customers to keep service up and running with one carrier for two years. But was that added flexibility worth $250 or more? Most thought it was not.

The iPhone ran on the slower 2G cell network when most high-end phones were running on the newer and much faster 3G network. The iPhone had taken so long to build that the chips enabling 3G reception weren’t useable when the phone was designed. Most other phones had GPS. The iPhone did not. Most phones had removable batteries and expandable memories. The iPhone had neither.

The iPhone didn’t run video made with Adobe’s Flash technology, which at the time seemed to be every video but those on YouTube. YouTube used Flash to stream videos to desktop and laptop computers but a different technology that used less bandwidth to stream to mobile devices. Most companies didn’t have the money or the technological prowess of Google to do likewise then.

Seemingly obvious features such as the ability to search your address book or to copy and paste text or to use the camera to record video were missing from the first iPhone too. Critics pointed out these flaws as if Apple had not thought of them. The problem was much more straightforward: Apple just hadn’t had time to put them all in. “There were moments where we said, ‘Well, this is really embarrassing,'” said Grignon. “But then we’d have to say, ‘OK. It’s going to be embarrassing. But we have to ship. Even though it is a stupid, small, easy thing to fix, we have to prioritize and fix only the things that are the worst.”

There was no app store, or plans to launch one. The iTunes app store, which Apple didn’t unveil until 2008, has been as important to the iPhone’s success as the device itself. Last year it generated $20 billion in revenue for mobile-software developers and another $8 billion for Apple. It has been one of the engines driving Silicon Valley’s boom. But Jobs, like the rest of Apple, was so focused on getting the device ready for sale that he didn’t see the potential at first. “I remember asking Steve what he wanted to accomplish with the iPhone,” Bob Borchers said. “He said he wanted to build a phone people could fall in love with. It wasn’t ‘Let’s revolutionize XYZ.’ It was ‘Let’s think about how to build something cool. If they fall in love with it, then we can figure out what they want to do with it.’ When we launched the iPhone, we called it a revolutionary phone, the best iPod ever created, and an internet communications device. But we had no idea what an internet communications device even was.”

Jobs understood why consumers would see the iPhone as a Macintosh for your pocket. It ran OS X after all. But he also hated the idea that consumers would see the iPhone this way. Computers are things that run software from developers all over the world—outside Apple. He didn’t want the iPhone to become that at all. After the unveiling, when software developers began clamoring for permission to make programs for the iPhone, Jobs said no publicly and emphatically. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC,” he told John Markoff of The New York Times right after the announcement. “The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”

But the iPhone had so many other cool new features that consumers overlooked its flaws. It wasn’t just that the iPhone had a new kind of touchscreen, or ran the most sophisticated software ever put in a phone, or had an internet browser that wasn’t crippled, or had voicemail that could be listened to in any order, or ran Google Maps and YouTube, or was a music and movie player and a camera.

It’s that it appeared to do all those things well and beautifully at the same time. Strangers would accost you in places and ask if they could touch it—as if you had just bought the most beautiful sports car in the world. Its touchscreen worked so well that devices long taken for granted as integral parts of the computing experience—the mouse, the trackpad, and the stylus—suddenly seemed like kluges. They seemed like bad substitutes for what we should have been able to do all along—point and click with our digits instead of a mechanical substitute. All of this captivated not just consumers but investors. A year after Jobs had unveiled the iPhone, Apple’s stock price had doubled. Today it’s nine times what it was back then.

Apple helped create the hype and then took full advantage of it. On launch day it sent top executives to various stores in big cities to witness it all and help whip up the crowds. Head of Global Marketing Phil Schiller went to Chicago. Jony Ive and his design crew went to San Francisco.

Steve Jobs’s store was, naturally, the one in downtown Palo Alto at the corner of University Avenue and Kipling Street. It was a mile and a half from his house and he often showed up there unannounced when he was in town. The appropriate high-tech luminaries had already gathered when he arrived. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and early Apple employees Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld were already standing on line.

But it also seemed as if Jobs had some internal flames to fan of his own, said one of the engineers who was there along with Grignon and many others who had worked on the project, including Fadell and Forstall. “So there’s this reunion of the original Mac guys, and it’s really cool. And then Steve goes up to Tony [Fadell] and proceeds to go over in a corner of the store and talk to him for an hour and ignore Forstall just to fuck with him.”

“Up until that day, for the previous six months, everything had been Tony’s fault. Any hardware problems or ship delays or manufacturing problems—all Tony’s fault. Scott could do no wrong. But that was the day the press reviews came out, and the iPhone’s email [software] wasn’t working for people, but everyone loved the hardware. So now Scott was the bad boy, and Tony was the golden boy. And it was funny, because Steve did it in a way in which his back was to Forstall so that Tony got to look at Scott while it was all happening. I’m not joking. The look on Scott’s face was incredible. It was like his daddy told him he didn’t love him anymore.”

From Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution. Copyright ©2013 by Fred Vogelstein. Published with permission from Sarah Crichton Books.