clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 2005 Steve Jobs ultimatum that became the iPhone

New, 40 comments

In 2005, Greg Christie was working on the device that would become the iPhone, and running out of time. As a senior software engineer at Apple, Christie had been given an ultimatum by Steve Jobs: bigger ideas and bigger concepts for the iPhone's software in two weeks, or else the project would be given to another group. In response, Christie and his team developed a set of features — such as swiping to unlock the phone — that came to define the way smartphones were designed. It was a process that Apple has rarely discussed, but now, ahead of the company's upcoming patent-infringement trial against Samsung on Monday, Christie has recounted his memories of the iPhone's development to The Wall Street Journal. The article describes how he was invited to work on a secret project code-named "purple," and asked to give covert presentations to Jobs in a windowless room to avoid information leaking.