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And in an interview with CNBC’s Jon Fortt, Fadell shared a lot of interesting details about the early stages of the iPod and iPhone development, as well as the controversial decisions of Steve Jobs. .
No iPod for Windows users
Fadell was hired by Apple in 2001 to help the company develop its music strategy, centered around the iPod, of course. As mentioned in the interview, there were many MP3 players that came before the iPod, and they became quite popular in the market. However, neither model is intuitive enough for those who “just want to play MP3” chief.
Apple’s idea was to bring the simplest possible MP3 player experience to the masses. Fadell said that, “Everyone loves music, audiences are everywhereHowever, unlike its competitors, the iPod had to be easy to use, had good battery life, sync data quickly, and support 1,000 songs.
According to Fadell, that’s one of the reasons Apple chose to connect FireWire over USB. While the original USB standard was super slow, up to 12 Mbps, FireWire was able to transfer data to over 100 Mbps at the time. But there is another problem behind this decision.
As some of us know, the first two generations of iPods were not compatible with Windows computers. To copy music to iPod, users need a Mac – and that was the decision of Steve Jobs.
“From the very beginning, I said ‘We have to make sure it works well with Windows’. And he (Steve) said, ‘If I’m alive, that’s never going to happen’“- Fadell recalled.
Get help from outside
Jobs believed that the iPod would help convince Windows users to switch to the Mac. However, the number of users who buy Macs just because of the iPod has never been up to expectations. And of course, this in turn hurt iPod sales as the product became too expensive for people who didn’t have a Mac!
Even so, Steve Jobs was adamantly against the idea of allowing the iPod to be compatible with any PC other than the Mac. The difficult situation forced Fadell and the iPod development team to turn to journalist Walt Mossberg, a friend of Jobs, to ask him to convince Jobs to make the iPod compatible with Windows.
Fadell said that Jobs didn’t want to admit he was wrong, but Mossberg showed him that opening the iPod to Windows computers would be the right path to success – as it turned out, Mossberg and Fadell were absolutely right!
Third-party apps on iPhone
The fact that Steve Jobs didn’t like the iPhone running third-party apps when he announced the device in 2007 is nothing new. However, when this device launched with a warm welcome from consumers, developers, and especially large companies, wanted to put their apps on it.
Apple immediately came up with an attractive solution: encouraging the development of web applications that run through the Safari browser. Even more interesting, Fadell revealed in the interview that the web application idea was also enthusiastically supported by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google at the time.
Schmidt is also a member of Apple’s board of directors, and he was deeply involved in the development of the iPhone, as demonstrated by the product’s integration of many Google services. In Fadell’s eyes, Schmidt”a bit too emotional” when first seeing web apps running on iPhone.
However, as we all know, web applications are not good enough. At the same time, the iPhone didn’t sell as well as expected, so Steve Jobs realized he had to launch the App Store and use iPhone apps to keep users in the Apple ecosystem.
After leaving Apple in 2008, Fadell founded his own company, Nest Labs, to make smart home devices, which was later acquired by Google.
This is the prototype of the iPod released 20 years ago: as big as a brick, it looks like a desk phone
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