Tony Fadell: We first tried to make an iPod phone which was — it was a great music player, and if you wanted to just make — so you could select a name from a list, you know — it would be easy, just like you select a song. Okay, I can select somebody and call them. But then it came down to dialing, and it was such a horrible experience. It was like an old rotary phone. I grew up for a few years on rotary phones, and you hated ’em, right? So that was the thing that put the bullet in the head of that product, was we just couldn’t make the rotary phone and text entry work.
So then we had to go and look for another technology. Obviously, you couldn’t do keyboards. And we had this new touch screen technology, multi-touch. It was the size of a ping pong table. And Steve pulls me into this secret room and goes, “This is touch. This is multi-touch. Play with it.” And I was like, “Oh, this is cool.” And it was a big Mac. It was a projected Mac on this ping pong table, and I’m moving things around. He goes, “See that? I want you to put that on the phone.” I was like, “It’s that big!”
So after a few weeks of learning about what it was and everything, I was like, “Yes, we can put a multi-touch on a phone. The issue, though, is we’re gonna have to start a touch screen company to do so because no one in the world had ever built any of this technology.” And we did have to do that. So not just making all of the apps and the phone itself, and all the other pieces of the puzzle, we also had to make another company just to supply the touch screen components necessary to build it. So we were doing all of this stuff at the same time it. It was an insane, awesome project to work on.