Live stream: Watch Scott Forstall discuss the iPhone’s creation at Computer History Museum event


As we reported last week, Scott Fostall is set to publicly talk about the iPhone’s creation this evening at  Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The interview marks a change of pace for the former Apple executive, who has generally traveled under the radar since Apple CEO Tim Cook fired him in late 2012 following the shaky Apple Maps rollout.

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Head below for a live stream, more details, and our commentary on the interview…

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.

Scott Forstall, the leader of the original iPhone software team will take part in a fireside chat with Computer History Museum historian John Markoff. A panel with three of the engineers who worked on the original iPhone, Nitin Ganatra, Scott Herz, and Hugo Fiennes, will describe how the iPhone came to be.

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

Live stream:

Live blog:

  • Opening with interview with original iPhone engineers Nitin Ganatra, Scott Herz, and Hugo Fiennes
  • How was living with the secrecy? “The thing about Apple is we all get it, we all live in that culture. They were very respectful. You develop a talent for describing what you’re working on without giving too many details.”
  • Fiennes: “The first time I saw pinch-to-zoom was at the keynote.”
  • Ganatra: “There was so much value in having this secrecy. I think it served us very well in the end. Nobody knew what was coming and nobody knew what we were working on.”
  • Ganatra: I can’t tell you how many times I heard Scott talk about scrolling deceleration…being very detailed about scrolling and how the UI responds to touch. There’s a lot of math that goes into making it work so well.”
  • Herz: “I was doing my best work because Steve might be, and sometimes was, lurking around the corner.”
  • Fiennes says Jobs once asked him to move the CPU a couple of millimeters to make the PCB symmetrical…
  • Forstall: “I have always loved theater…I used to act. It was always a passion. When I left Apple, I was introduced to a woman and we hit it off and she said ‘we should produce something on Broadway.’ She started sending me scripts and ‘Fun Home’ was one of the scripts she sent me…and it’s a powerful story.”
  • Parallels between software and theater? “Doing a show is like a startup…you start with the creative types, you invent something, you put a bunch of money and effort and time behind it, and you give it to the public.”
  • If you’d ended up at Microsoft? “They were doing great…I had this idea that anywhere you went doing engineering you’d be doing great.”
  • Role at NeXT? “I did whatever they told me to do.. I worked on the user interface frameworks..the basis for Cocoa Touch.”
  • In the loop when Steve sold NeXT to Apple? “We were in the loop in that we kept on trying to pivot and had great tech, but not customers. At some point, Steve decided that Apple needed us. We needed to be something other than NeXT [to be a platform.]”‘
  • “The iPhone and a very circuitous route. We had been working on a tablet project and it began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft..every time Steve had any social interaction with that guy, he would come back pissed off. He came back one time and that guy was talking about how Microsoft had solved computing. Steve came in on Monday with a set of expletives and said let’s show them.”
  • Steve proposed to Scott: “Do you think we could take that demo we’re doing with the tablet and shrink it down to a phone?”

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