The New York Times has an interesting story on the creation of the iPhone. The piece is based on an interview of Andy Grignon, who at the time was the senior manager in charge of all the radios in the iPhone.
According o the story, Apple took a massive risk with the original iPhone. The company likely spent over $150 million to develop the original iPhone. And it wasn’t just money Apple poured on the creation of it. Apple also put its best people on the project, ”Many top engineers in the company were being sucked into the project, forcing slowdowns in the timetables of other work.” If the iPhone had failed to become a success, the story of today’s Apple would likely be completely different.
The secrecy inside the company caused a rift within the company. ”Steve loved this stuff,” Grignon says. “He loved to set up division. But it was a big ‘[expletive] you’ to the people who couldn’t get in. Everyone knows who the rock stars are in a company, and when you start to see them all slowly get plucked out of your area and put in a big room behind glass doors that you don’t have access to, it feels bad.”
There’s also an interesting paragraph of the rehearsals. Steve Jobs would not be happy if something went wrong
“At first it was just really cool to be at rehearsals at all — kind of like a cred badge,” Grignon says. Only a chosen few were allowed to attend. “But it quickly got really uncomfortable. Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued — it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, ‘You are [expletive] up my company,’ or, ‘If we fail, it will be because of you.’ He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall.” Grignon, like everyone else at rehearsals, knew that if those glitches showed up during the real presentation, Jobs would not be blaming himself for the problems. “It felt like we’d gone through the demo a hundred times, and each time something went wrong,” Grignon says. “It wasn’t a good feeling.”
It all ended well and the iPhone become an instant hit. Check out the original iPhone announcement from 2007: