A New York Times piece about the birth of the original iPhone has revealed some pretty interesting tidbits about the transformative smartphone.
For one thing, it didn't work. And for another, making it almost drove Apple into the ground.
According to one senior exec, the development cost of the device was more than $150 million, and sucked engineers and staff into the project at the expense of everything else on Apple's agenda.
Andy Grignon, a senior engineer on the phone's radio systems, said that he gained 50 pounds during development and was exhausted by the effort.
"It had been drilled into everyone's head that this was the next big thing to come out of Apple. So you put all these supersmart people with huge egos into very tight, confined quarters, with that kind of pressure, and crazy stuff starts to happen."
He also said that on the day of the announcement, the phone was almost too buggy to unveil. Grignon said he and his colleagues were drinking from a flask hoping that the demo would hold together.
The piece says that only 100 iPhones had been built by that point, many with huge projects or failures. "Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs," the Times piece says.
"It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called "the golden path," a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked."
Then Steve Jobs went onstage, and did this:
With the same ultra-clear Retina display as the iPhone 5, but now with an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/iphone-5s-uk-pictures-release-date_n_3898775.html?1378818683&utm_hp_ref=uk-tech" target="_blank">added fingerprint sensor</a>, a seriously impressive 64-bit A7 chip, an improved camera and a new gold design option, this is the best iPhone ever made. And with its consistent market-leading app selection, easy-to-use OS and delightful design, it's hard to argue against it being one of the very best gadgets ever made too.
Google LG Nexus 5
The new Nexus 5 is based on the internals of the LG G2 - which means you get the same Snapdragon 800 processor, as well as the full version of Google's new Android 4.4 KitKat OS, which integrates SMS messages into Hangouts, freshens up the design and adds new features under the hood. The camera is still a little lacking, while the design is functional rather than beautiful, but at £299 off contract it's still a steal.
Samsung Galaxy Note III
The Note III is huge. It's got a 5.7-inch screen, though with the same 1080P resolution as the Note II. It adds a new leather back panel, which gives it an 'office' feel in line with the productivity-plus-stylus theme of the device. It also adds a Snapdragon 8000 quad-core processor, some new software enhancements and a few new S-Pen functions into the mix. If you're looking for a giant note-taking phone, this is still your best bet.
The 5C was rumoured to be Apple's 'budget' iPhone. It isn't - and not only because it isn't that cheap. The "proudly plastic" 5C comes in five colours (see what they did there) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/iphone-5c-uk-pictures-release-date_n_3899557.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech" target="_blank">but has the same internals, screen and camera as the iPhone 5.</a> It's essentially the same beautiful, high-end phone you already know and love, in a more colourful (and potentially divisive) design. As such it's hard to see how Apple won't sell a billion of them.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Though the S4 i<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/samsung-galaxy-s4-review-_n_3145186.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech" target="_blank">s in some ways an evolutionary upgrade over its wildly successful S3</a>, it's an extremely attractive, lightweight and high quality phone with a 5-inch HD screen, the fastest processor ever seen in a phone and <a href="http://gdgt.com/samsung/galaxy/s/4/" target="_blank">some interesting new features</a>, including a measure of 'eye tracking' controls and gestures that don't require you to touch the screen.
The HTC One is probably the most beautiful smartphone on the market - and is also the most intelligently designed. With twin, front-facing speakers it's the best choice for watching movies, and its 4MP 'Ultra Pixel' camera punches above its meagre pixel-count suggests.
Sony Xperia Z1
Sony's new flagship smartphone is an evolutionary development of the also-excellent Z. It keeps the same screen, the waterproof design and the nicely-tweaked version of Android, while upping the processor performance, improving the camera and smoothing out the rough (or rather sharp) edges of the Z's blocky design.
Nokia Lumia 925
<a href="http://gdgt.com/nokia/lumia/920/" target="_blank">The Nokia Lumia 925</a> has the same great design and attention to detail we've come to expect from Nokia, but with some crucial upgrades from the 920 including a thinner, all-metal design and an improved camera.
The LG G2 is an extremely high-end 5-inch, 1080p Android 4.2.2 smartphone whose major distinguishing feature is that it has three buttons on the back of the device, which are normally found on the sides. The G2 has its camera button and volume rocker on the rear, which for many people is enough to justify the purchase alone. It also has excellent battery life for this class of device.