Jobs and Scratches: How Apple Changed Plastic for Glass in the Display of the First iPhone Five Months Before Release

The company reported on the transition to glass only 11 days before the start of sales.

Steve Jobs at the presentation of the first iPhone with a plastic display version of the smartphoneTIME Photo

In January 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone. A smartphone with a plastic display was shown on the scene , but in June it came out with a glass front panel. Much of what happened then remained a mystery until this was told by Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams (Jeff Williams). The speech took place in 2017, but the media paid attention to him just now.

According to Williams, the day after the presentation of the iPhone on stage, Jobs approached him and complained about the plastic screen. The founder of Apple carried the prototype into his pocket all day, but the device had scratches on it.

Jobs said that it was necessary to switch to glass, but Williams objected that a sufficiently strong material would appear on the market only in 3-4 years. The founder of Apple remained adamant: he said that the phone should go on time and already with a glass front panel.

I do not know how we will do it, but when he [iphone] is released in June, he will be with glass.

Steve Jobs

founder and former CEO of Apple

Two days later, Corning CEO Wendell Weeks (Wendell Weeks) called Williams and said he was talking to Jobs on the phone. Apple founder contacted Wicks, only to say that the Corning glass is “crap”.

According to Williams, this was followed by weeks of technology discussions at the level of the research and development departments. As a result, Apple and Corning teams joined together and went through the “months of pure terror” to meet the deadline.

Apple announced the replacement of the plastic front panel on the glass just 11 days before the start of sales. Then they almost did not pay attention to the news, because the company told about it with a press release on the site, as it does in the case of minor innovations. However, the iPhone became the first smartphone to receive a scratch-resistant glass from Corning, later known as Gorilla Glass.

Williams spoke about the details of the transition from plastic to glass at the Corning plant in Kentucky after the announcement of an investment in the company in the amount of $ 200 million. The company is still one of the largest suppliers of Apple, and, according to media reports, is developing the technology of flexible displays for Apple.

As noted at The Verge, Williams will be responsible for Apple’s hardware and software design after leaving Johnny Quince in 2019. Top manager will report to vice president of industrial design Evans Khanki and vice president of interface design Alan Dye.

Journalists believe that despite his position, Williams has always had a greater impact on Apple products than was originally thought. According to his updated biography on the company’s website, the COO “managed the development of the Apple Watch in close collaboration with the design department.”

The Wall Street Journal also noted that Williams helped shape the look and feel of modern smartphones by working on the glass panel of the first iPhone. In the publication, he was called a person who can simultaneously manage logistics and is interested in improving products. Journalists believe that he looks like a natural successor to Quince and a possible “heir” of Tim Cook.

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