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Apple’s Multitouch Tech Began as ‘Safari Pad’ Concept

I had forgotten about this 2007 article by The Times’s John Markoff, published the day before the iPhone went on sale, until Rene Ritchie linked to it today. Markoff had such great access to Steve Jobs — I can’t recall any other reporter who got this sort of access to him.

The iPhone could have an effect on the cellphone industry akin to the influence the Macintosh computer from Apple had on the personal computer industry in 1984, Mr. Jobs said. He said he thought that the iPhone’s “multitouch” control system, in which the fingers are used to scroll through data or enlarge photos on the screen, was the biggest shift in a computer’s user interface since the Macintosh was introduced.

“It’s the first thing to come along since the mouse and the bit-mapped display and take things to the next level,” he said.

Mr. Jobs seized on the multitouch technology after Apple product designers proposed it as a “safari pad,” a portable Web surfing appliance. Instead, he saw the technology as something that could be used for a similar purpose in a cellphone, a former Apple employee said.

The whole article is well worth a re-read.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010