Apple book season: tidbits from Dogfight as unofficial Jony Ive biography goes on sale


For fans of books about Apple, this is a epic time. Earlier this week, Fred Vogelstein’s book Dogfight went on sale, and today, Leander Kahney’s The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products book about Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive went on sale.

Dogfight focuses on the emergence of both Apple and Google as the world’s two preeminent technology companies, and it details the competition of the two companies and the respective product development cycles of early iPhones and iPads and devices running Android. The book provides first-hand accounts of life working under Steve Jobs, and details the incredible run-up to the launch of the first iPhone in early 2007…

Kahney’s unbelievable biography ties together several interesting (and some unknown) parts of Ive’s upbringing, education, and design philosophies. The book also provides some tales into Ive’s interactions with other Apple executives, work with Steve Jobs, and design techniques for the original iOS Devices like the iPhone and iPad. During some parts of the book, you may feel like you were actually in the room when decisions were made. For fans looking to read an interesting take on Apple’s design chief, Kahney’s book is worth a read.

Both books are available in audio format for free at Audible for new Audible customers. In addition to these two new books, former Wall Street Journal Apple reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane is working on a book about Apple in the post-Steve Jobs world. Her book, Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, is scheduled for release on March 18, 2014, and it is already available for pre-order.

Below, we’ve compiled some interesting stories from within Vogelstein’s Dogfight:

  • Then Apple executives Mike Bell and Steve Sakoman were the two people that convinced Steve Jobs to begin the iPhone project. The two executives disbelieved in building software for a Motorola phone. Bell convinced Jobs on November 7, 2004 to build a phone out of unseen Jony Ive iPod prototypes, and Jobs agreed a few days later.
  • Apple created three completely distinct iPhone prototype designs during the device’s development cycle, and one Apple executive is quoted as saying that 6 prototypes of the iPhone design to be announced were built.
  • Early iPhone/iPad prototypes were Multi-Touch screens with the guts of a Mac mini. They are said to not have worked well because they ran OS X.
  • The iPhones Apple demonstrated in January of 2007 were far from ready to ship. Apple had lots of antenna testing to do, and even asked Foxconn to replicate its antenna testing facilities.
  • The iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard was problematic, and some Apple executives were “worried.” Apple Senior VP Jeff Williams led the process of replacing the iPhone’s plastic screen with glass.
  • Apple conducted makeshift antenna testing for the first iPhone, driving around the homes of Scott Forstall (for example) while talking on the phone in former Apple executive Bob Borcher’s car to find dead zones.
  • Steve Jobs was originally set to star in a lengthy demonstration video about the iPhone. Apple even built an entire studio specific for this video at its Cupertino HQ. At the last minute, Jobs asked Borchers to do the video, and Borchers wore one of Jobs’s iconic turtleneck shirts.
  • Borchers personally drove each iPhone unit to the Macworld conference, followed by Apple’s security team members in another car. Borchers was essentially in charge of the entire keynote address, and he even installed the iPhones into glass tubes in the demonstration area.
  • The book provides in-depth details about Steve Jobs playing Scott Forstall and Tony Fadell against each other, noting how political the company had become.

The book includes several other details about the development of the original iPhone, and it also provides a close look at Apple’s relationship (and fallout) with Google. I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in an in-depth look at the growth of two of the world’s strongest technology titans. 

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  1. So why doesn’t Leander make his book available on the iBookstore again? What’s this Amazon only thing?

  2. I’ve since found out that the book IS available for pre-order on the iBookstore. It’s just that 9to5mac doesn’t breathe a word about that as they don’t want to alert you to that fact. probably because of some Amazon deal.