Tony Fadell Tells Us The Story Of The IPod Based IPhone Prototype

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone introduction, and with it, a flood of stories about the design and development of the device. One video from Sonny Dickson, showing what looks like an iPod interface with a virtual click wheel, has attracted a ton of attention, since the longstanding story has been that two teams inside Apple competed to make the iPhone — one to turn the iPod into a phone, and the other to shrink OS X to work on a mobile device.

Not so, says Tony Fadell, who led the iPod team at Apple and then the iPhone team. He called me from the Detroit Auto Show, where he’s presenting on panels related to autonomous cars, to clarify what we’re seeing here.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

So there’s this video floating around, and a bunch of stories about the early days of the iPhone project, and the two competing approaches to the phone at the beginning.

There was tons and tons of different UI development, between both software and hardware development. It was a competing set of ideas, not teams, and we were all working on it.

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