Apple is "one of the world's most secretive companies," says Ian Sherr at The Wall Street Journal, and it's "finding there's a price tag in pushing its grievances against rival Samsung in federal court: Disclosure." In its quest to prove that Samsung has stolen its designs for the iPhone and iPad, Apple's top officials have been forced to testify about their company's creative process and marketing campaigns, details of which have long been held close to the vest. From an abandoned plan to build an Apple car to the Fight Club-like levels of security that surrounded the development of the iPhone, here are 5 secrets Apple revealed in its legal dispute with Samsung:
1. Even the iPhone's creators didn't know what they were working on... at first
When former CEO Steve Jobs tapped Scott Forstall, the head designer of Apple's iOS operating system, to build the iPhone in 2004, he gave Forstall some "pretty wild restrictions," says Eric Limer at Gizmodo. Forstall testified that he was not allowed to hire anyone outside the company to work on the iPhone, which was dubbed Project Purple. He had to find "superstars" within Apple, and even they had no idea what the project was before they accepted his offer to work on it. "We're starting another project," Forstall said he would tell potential recruits. "It's so secret I cannot tell you what the project is. You are going to give up nights and weekends for a couple years."
2. The first rule of iPhone is "You do not talk about iPhone."
Initially, Forstall and his team occupied a floor in one of Apple's buildings in Cupertino, Calif. When the team expanded to some 1,000 people, all reporting to Forstall, he took over an entire building and locked it down with badge readers and security cameras. "In some cases, even workers on the team would have to show their badges five or six times" to get into work, says Ina Fried at AllThingsD. Forstall hung a sign outside the main entrance that read "Fight Club," a reference to the Brad Pitt movie about an underground club of brawlers known for its catchphrase, "The first rule of Fight Club is, 'You do not talk about Fight Club.'"
3. The iPhone went through a lot of 3-D prototypes
Apple has submitted documents showing various iPhone prototypes, some of which featured "bulbous backsides and angled edges," says Sherr. When lawyers for Samsung asked how Apple determined the iPhone's final design, Apple designer Christopher Stringer said, "It was the most beautiful of our designs… When we realized what we got, we knew." (Samsung's lawyers are trying to show that Apple took inspiration for its iPhone design from phones made by Samsung and other manufacturers, negating Apple's claim that Samsung had copied the iPhone. "I never directed anyone to go and copy anything from Samsung," Forstall testified. "We wanted to build something great… so there was no reason to look at something they'd done.")
4. Apple considered a 7-inch iPad
An internal email between Apple executives show that in early 2011 the company was considering creating a 7-inch tablet, smaller than its current 9.7-inch iPad, citing the success of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7. "I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one," executive Eddy Cue wrote to Jobs. Prior to the iPhone, Apple had also considered building a car, since the "success of the iPod persuaded Apple that it could be more than a computer company," says Stephen Lawson at PCWorld.
5. Apple uses focus groups, despite Steve Jobs' denials
Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, says the company sought to cultivate a "lust factor" for the iPhone when it debuted in 2007. Apple's marketing campaign was built on the theory of "product as hero," in which the product's looks and functionality were the dominant themes. So far, Apple has spent $647 million on marketing for the iPhone, and $457 million for the iPad, which came out in 2010. Schiller also revealed that Apple relies on focus groups to create its products, which had been denied by Jobs, who wanted to create the impression that iPhones and iPads were designed in a kind of aesthetic vacuum.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Dean Koontz's 5 favorite books
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- 10 things you need to know today: July 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week