Tech

This is the genius way that Steve Jobs faked the iPhone at its first product launch

Posted by
Tom Victor
Published
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If you thought the first ever iPhone launch went flawlessly, there’s a very good reason

As summer terms to autumn, we await all the usual signs: leaves falling from trees, the Champions League restarting, and a new iPhone presentation.

The unveiling of a new Apple device has become something approaching an annual tradition, with huge presentations in front of massive audiences full of journalists from across the world, all with the goal of detailing the changes from one model of phone to the next.

There are other presentations around the same time, of course – there’s talk of a new Macbook Air this year, for example – but the iPhone has been the main event since all the way back in 2007.

However, on that occasion, not only did things get underway earlier in the year, but the presentation from Steve Jobs wasn’t all it seemed.

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There were a fair few bugs and glitches to content with ahead of the January unveiling, some of which experts have said ought to have made a flawless presentation impossible. These included the phone crashing during the playing of music and video, the fact that trying to surf the web then send an email turned the phone into a brick, and the fact that it would regularly run out of memory, requiring a restart.

The thing is, it *was* impossible – or would have been if Jobs, the late founder and CEO of Apple, didn’t come up with a way to fake the whole thing to give an illusion of functionality.

There were three parts to the plan, according to Curiosity, and the most detailed involved something described as a ‘golden path’.

This involved a designated order of tasks to carry out during the presentation, with Jobs following a specific route through which he knew would work - and whenever the phone was reaching the limit of its memory at the end of a particular task, he would surreptitiously change over to a new one.

The other two tricks come under the banner of what you might consider common sense, though Jobs and his team still had to find a way to make it all work on the day.

First off was a personal portable cell phone tower, provided by AT&T, the only company that supported the iPhone at the time, in order to ensure those on stage weren’t forced to share bandwidth with the room full of folks trying to share their first glimpse of the new device as quickly as possible – so far, so logical.

But after that we have the piece de resistance – the true element of fakery to the whole charade.

Throughout the display, the phones were rigged to ensure they would always display the full five-bar connection, regardless of the true status: you can’t be having a phone without a full connection on such a big stage, after all.

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Apple have been known to attempt to keep certain iPhone features under wraps ahead of each new release, though leaks seem to always get out.

We’re meant to be getting three new iPhones this year, including one with the largest screen of any such device ever.

The unveiling is bound to come with a huge, flashy presentation, and if the past is anything to go by it’s likely to go off without a hitch.

However, it’s good to know even Steve Jobs was once forced to act on his feet to problem-solve; after all, if it had gone wrong, and confidence in his product was damaged, leading to the market failure of the phone, the world today could have been a very different place.

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(Images: Getty)