We’re just a couple of weeks away from more drama between Apple and Samsung due to patent litigation. One of the advantages of these trials is that a lot of the secrecy behind the development of the original iPhone has been revealed. One of the primary software engineers in-charge of developing iPhone OS back in the day, which we now know as iOS, has come clear as to how an ultimatum from Steve Jobs himself resulted in the smartphone revolution that you know today.
Greg Christie is famously know for being named in most, if not all of the software patents behind iOS. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Christie details how he was invited to become part of “Project Purple” due to his experience with the Apple Newton project, but how he was only given two weeks by Steve Jobs to come up with a compelling user interface that he would be willing to love. Things like “swipe to unlock” and gestures like “pinch to zoom” were born from this two-week brainstorm, and according to Christie, Jobs was so excited from the result, that he decided to go with it.
Today the rest is iPhone history. If you have access to The Wall Street Journal, we highly recommend you read the whole interview. It’s crazy how the modern smartphone interface that we know today was born out of pressure to deliver.