In a rare interview with the Computer History Museum, former iOS head Scott Forstal revealed that the original iPhone would never have existed without Steve Jobs’ dislike of one particular Microsoft employee. The technology that would eventually create the entire smartphone industry as we know it started as a tablet project conceived by Jobs after a particularly irritating encounter, Forstal said. “We had been working on a tablet project and it began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft,” Forstal recalled. “Every time Steve had any social interaction with that guy, he would come back pissed off. He came back one time and that guy was talking about how Microsoft had solved computing. Steve came in on Monday with a set of expletives and said ‘Let’s show them how it’s really done’.”
The team set to work on the capacitative touch and multitouch capabilities that would eventually find their way into every Apple touchscreen device, but an observation in the Apple cafeteria shifted the focus away from tablets and to phones after Jobs and Forstal saw everyone was using their phones while seeming to hate the experience. “No one seemed like it was a pleasurable thing to use a phone, but it’s a nice thing for communication,” Forstal said. So Jobs asked his design team to minituraize the technology they were working on for a pocket-sized device, and the rest is history.