Things you never knew about the iPhone

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A stream of Apple executives and employees called as witnesses in the Samsung trial this week has forced them to give up some interesting bits of information that the famously secretive company would no doubt like to be kept private. Much of what we’ve heard has to do with Apple’s vaunted product design and development process. But we’ve also gotten some concrete detail about how the iPhone, in particular, came to fruition.

Here’s some of the most interesting facts learned this week about the iPhone.

  • Before deciding to build the iPhone and iPad, Apple considered other product categories, including “crazy stuff” like a car or a camera. (Wired)
  • The iPhone was code-named “Project Purple.”
  • When Scott Forstall, SVP of iOS software, started hiring what would become the iPhone team, he was told by Steve Jobs he couldn’t bring in anyone from outside Apple. (AllThingsD)
  • Once the team was in place, they took over a floor in a building at Apple HQ, added extra security, and hung a Fight Club poster outside. As in, don’t talk about Project Purple. (CNET)
  • Even as the iPhone’s popularity has soared, Apple has continued to lavish more millions on campaigns advertising the device. It spent $97.5 million in 2008 on iPhone ads in the U.S., $149.6 million in 2009, and $173.3 million in 2010. It spent almost that much, $149.5 million, on iPad ads in 2010. (AllThingsD)
  • Because it lost a bid to keep a customer survey secret, we know more about iPhone owners’ buying habits. Like that they are a cautious bunch: 78 percent of them buy a case for their device. (WSJ)

The revelation of details like this show us that even if Apple ends up winning this case, it’s still lost something: mystery. Everything about the way Apple conducts itself as a business makes clear that it absolutely hates giving up this kind of information outside of a very small group within the company. As innocuous as these details may seem to some, Apple’s ability to keep its product development process under wraps is part of what adds to the company’s aura of success. Apple doesn’t want the competition — and especially its customers — to know what goes on behind the curtain.

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