Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Great Forest of Demo Monsters

This article is many things, but for me, mainly funny.
Many people consider the introduction demo of the first iPhone in 2007 to be one of the greatest seminal points in recent technology history. But few people know how daunting it was. At the time, the iPhone was in a very, very early stage for anything to be demo'ed, and hundreds of things could go wrong at any time.

It’s hard to overstate the gamble Jobs took when he decided to unveil the iPhone back in January 2007. Not only was he introducing a new kind of phone — something Apple had never made before — he was doing so with a prototype that barely worked. Even though the iPhone wouldn’t go on sale for another six months, he wanted the world to want one right then. In truth, the list of things that still needed to be done was enormous. A production line had yet to be set up. Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs.
The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.

I think possibly only Jobs could decide, monomaniacally, to do such a thing so early, and then by sheer basterdly force of will, make it work.
He had a history for it. The very first Mac still didn't work properly ten hours before the first demo event!

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