Deccan Chronicle

What it was like working on the original iPhone, reveals Apple engineer

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: December 27, 2016 | Updated on: December 28, 2016

Terry Lambert recently took to Quora where he described his experience working on the original iPhone team.

The first iPhone was unveiled in 2007.

The first iPhone was unveiled in 2007.

Steve Jobs along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple -- the world’s current largest information technology company, back in 1976 to develop and sell personal computers. However, it was not until 2007 that the company reflected its shifted focus towards consumer electronics. The company sure has gone through an intriguing journey to stand where it stands today.

The original iPhone hit the shelves in June, 2007 at a price of $499 for the 4GB model and the 8GB model was priced around $599. The first-gen device was universally lauded as an innovative, breathrough device and Time magazine even went on to give it the, "Invention of the Year," tag. Nine years later, the iPhone family still seems to be going strong.

Not many are aware of this but the iPhone began as a secret project (codenamed Purple) at Apple and many designers, engineers and programmers worked on it. It went through rigorous quality assurance and Apple engineer, Terry Lambert has now provided the iPhone fans with a glimpse into what it was like working on the original iPhone. He took to Quora where he described his experience working on the iconic device. He was added to the iPhone team when the device was already in the development process as a kernel debugger.

"I got taken into areas where there were black cloths everywhere. If you ever work at Apple, black cloths are how they cover secret projects; you pretend not to see them; it’s a kind of wilful ignorance. I only got to see the machine doing the remote de-bugging, not the target – but it was obviously an ARM based system. If you want a clever Halloween costume for Apple, buy a black sheet, cut eve holes and go as a "secret project,"" he wrote in his post.

"When you finally got read it, you signed an NDA that let you see the NDA that had the code name on it. You couldn’t see the code name, until you agreed not to discuss the code name," he added. Lambert then went on to talk about Apple gave different groups, different codenames. "Another thing that Apple does is they give different code names to different groups; in other words, you may be working on the same project as some else, and not actually know it. Or be allowed to discuss it," he continued.

"After the read in, you got access to the ‘secret lab.’ That’s a lab inside the main lab. You may have access to the regular lab, but not the ‘secret lab.’ You didn’t really get to see the form factor, because when you are doing the initial work, it’s all prototypes on plexi-glass," he added.

"Oh and the special cables you used to talk to the pre-production units, they were actually Purple," he concluded.

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