Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

Five Things We Learned at the Apple-Samsung Trial Last Week


The first week of arguments in the patent slapfest of the year — Apple versus Samsung — is finally wrapped up. And boy, what a week.

Over the course of the trial, Apple — a company infamous for its corporate culture of secrecy and well-guarded product-development process — was forced to lay bare many internal details that until now have never seen the light of day.

For Apple enthusiasts and those curious about what happens behind Apple’s closed doors, it’s an information goldmine. Here are the five most interesting thing we took away from Week One:

Eddy Cue Liked the Idea of a Seven-Inch iPad
No one was a bigger public naysayer of Apple producing a smaller version of its iPad than Apple’s former CEO, Steve Jobs. He famously railed against the idea on a conference call in 2010: “It’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software,” Jobs said.

Yet, on Friday, an unearthed internal Apple email revealed a doozy: Even some of Apple’s top brass, like Senior Vice President of Internet and Software Services Eddy Cue, thought it was an area ripe for Apple’s taking.

“I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one,” Cue wrote, going on to state that the now deceased Jobs even “seemed very receptive” after Cue mentioned it to Jobs several times.

Project Purple, or How the iPhone Came To Be
When Jobs charged SVP Scott Forstall with the task of creating the first iPhone in 2004, it was a gargantuan task, only made more difficult by the level of secrecy imposed on Forstall and his team. Jobs gave Forstall carte blanche to recruit any member of Apple’s engineering staff for Project Purple, as it was known. However, Forstall could tell them virtually nothing about the project, save for the fact that they’d be giving up nights and weekends for the next few years.

The team secured one of Apple’s buildings, and took over an entire floor. Forstall’s team got high-level badge access, though getting through to the project area sometimes required passing through five or six sets of locked doors.

Apple Designs Its Products at a Kitchen Table

Apple’s dream team of designers isn’t large. In fact, the company’s entire product portfolio stems from a group of 15 or 16 people, according to veteran Apple industrial designer Chris Stringer, all of whom convene around a kitchen table to discuss the exhaustive, laborious design process behind each Apple device.

“We’ll sit there with our sketch books and trade ideas,” Stringer testified. “That’s where the really hard, brutal, honest criticism comes in.”

Even Steve Jobs Doubted the iPhone at Times

As ubiquitous and popular as the iPhone is today, throughout the three-year process of designing, testing and building the phone, even Steve Jobs had doubts it would ever see the light of day.

“Smartphones existed, but they were more like little computers,” designer Stringer testified. “We were doing something unprecedented.”

Apple’s Insane Marketing Budget for the iPhone and iPad
When SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller took the stand, the exec shed light on the long road filled with doubt that it took to produce the iPhone and the iPad. But when those in the company realized they had nailed it, Apple put its all into pushing the products, with hundreds of millions in ad spending.

From the period where the first iPhone was released in 2007 until the end of fiscal year 2011, Apple spent more than $1.1 billion on marketing its iPhone and iPad devices worldwide. It seemed like a gamble. But with the two devices being the company’s fastest-selling products ever, it certainly looks to have worked out well for Apple.

Check out the list of links below to see all the other noteworthy moments that went down. And, of course, stay with us as we continue covering the trial on-site from San Jose this week.


Apple versus Samsung Full Coverage

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