Sir Jony Ive, Apple's senior VP of industrial design, recently spoke at the British Embassy's Creative Summit and had some notable comments on the iPhone design process. The Independent reports that Ive said Apple "nearly shelved the [iPhone] because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can't solve." One example Ive gave of a fatal problem was that users would accidentally press buttons with their ear when holding up the phone to talk into it — a problem that Apple solved with its proximity sensor that locks the screen while talking on the iPhone.

He also noted that talking too loudly about the virtues of a product is a sure sign that it isn't ready for the market, saying that "if I'm trying to talk a little too loud about something and realising I'm trying to convince myself that something's good." When that happens, Ive says its time to go back to the drawing board: "I think some of the bravest things we've ever done are really at that point when you say, 'that's good and it's competent, but it's not great'." His comments make us wonder which, if any, of the iPhone prototypes that were recently revealed were good but not great.