• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • Part 4: We hired several very young engineers to make it happen: Andy Rubin, who went on to develop Android:

      Tony Fadell, who went on to play a big part with the iPhone:

      Megan Smith, who went on to become America's CTO under Obama:

      I remember them looking so young. Tony had a blonde mullet. Here was Megan back then:

    • Part 5: Steve came over to try a device. This is what Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson gave him to use:

      Steve sent Telecards back & forth for a few weeks and got the experience in his bones. I had what I thought was a great application: you could search for an address and get a map! Revolutionary. It would even give turn-by-turn instructions from the cloud, and with this device you could get them wirelessly in your car! 

      But Steve crushed me and said it should come with all the apps you’d need. We shouldn’t make consumers install them. How many apps for something like this do you even need?

      We thought people would love it more if they could program it. 

      Of course, what we really envisioned was a smaller, cheaper device with all the things we didn’t have then: good battery life, color screens, wireless infrastructure… Here are the original drawings:

    • Part last: My friends on the iPhone team said Steve made them crazy with his passion for perfection and design, insisting the screen be glass and the back be one piece. I’ve heard similar tales about Elon from my friends at Tesla. At the last minute, Steve included the mapping application on the original iPhone that I had loved so much on Magic devices:

      It wasn’t until iPhone 2 that Steve agreed to a development environment, and that’s when things really took off because creative people built great apps that Apple and Google could never have imagined. Who predicted ride sharing back then?

      We couldn’t solve all the technical issues back then but the people who were there went on to change the world.

      The lessons of humanizing language and great, humanizing design can now be seen everywhere in the world’s most loved products. Personally, I love the language Slack uses.

      20 years after General Magic, we made a documentary about it. I didn’t think many people would watch it because the company went bankrupt, but the movie became the #1 documentary on iTunes last year and part of in-flight entertainment all over the world.

      I think the movie’s success is because people are fascinated by what it takes to develop truly great products — the twists and turns, the emotion, the failure, a chance to achieve a dream and change the world. 

      Probably a lucky few who read this will change the world with a great new app we didn't know we need.