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John Markoff to Interview Scott Forstall Next Week

Blockbuster event next week at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View:

How did iPhone come to be? On June 20, four members of the original development team will discuss the secret Apple project, which in the past decade has remade the computer industry, changed the business landscape, and become a tool in the hands of more than a billion people around the world.

Part 1: Original iPhone Engineers Nitin Ganatra, Scott Herz, and Hugo Fiennes in Conversation with John Markoff

Part 2: Original iPhone Software Team Leader Scott Forstall in Conversation with John Markoff

It kills me that I can’t make this. Hopefully there will be video.

Here’s the thing: Forstall was obviously a divisive figure inside Apple. He saw himself as an indispensable man after Steve Jobs died, and it turns out he wasn’t.

But there can be no dispute that Forstall led one of the most successful software projects ever undertaken. It’s a cliche to say that they achieved the impossible, but what Forstall’s team achieved was considered by many — including many of the members of the team — impossible. But they did it, and in the ensuing years they kept making iOS better and better. It’s not just that they managed to ship the original iPhone OS in June 2007, but the entire run up through Forstall’s ouster from the company was simply amazing.

Across the company, it’s clear that Forstall’s style was not popular. But I know many people who worked on his iOS team, and most of them loved working for him, or at the very least appreciated working for him. The thing I’ve heard over and over is that Forstall was incredibly demanding, yes, but if you were on his team and did good work he had your back.

Forstall pretty much hasn’t said a damn thing about Apple since he left the company five years ago. So if he opens up at all to Markoff, this could be fascinating. His team’s story about actually implementing the original iPhone remains largely untold.

Thursday, 15 June 2017