The Story of How Apple Overcame Steve Jobs’ Objections to come up With a Big Sized iPhone on geekersmagazine.com
Do you remember the first iPhone when it was introduced in 2007 so spectacularly by Steve Jobs at a MacWorld conference? Yes, that iPhone was so small compared to the smartphones of today. The first iPhone had a screen size of just 3.5 inches.
When Steve Jobs Was Wrong….
Steve Jobs insisted that iPhone screen wouldn’t be larger than 3.5 inches as he said that was the only size at which you could operate the phone with just one hand. When the likes of Samsung and HTC and other Android phone makers came up with much larger phone sizes, Jobs was dismissive. He called the Android phones ugly – “Hummers” was the term he used to describe them!
Steve Jobs, as everybody knows, was a stubborn man with an opinion of his own.
Once a decision was made, he wouldn’t change it for the world. True, Jobs was right on most occasions. But here, he was wrong. But let’s understand why.
Jobs felt that a screen size of 3.5 inches was the right size for a phone, as a bigger screen would make it harder for an average person to hold it and type one-handed too. Till his very last day as the CEO of Apple, Jobs insisted that 3.5 inches was as big Apple would go with the iPhone screen size. Jobs died of a rare illness in 2011.
After Jobs was no longer around, Apple executives were forced to take another look at his strategy of now allowing a bigger screen for the iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook was worried deeply by reports that sales of big screen Samsung phones were overtaking those of the iPhone. He said in an official meeting, “consumers want something that we don’t have.”
But Cook was in a dilemma. No one admired Jobs as much as Cook does, so to go against something that his former boss held sacred was really a very difficult decision to make for Cook.
But the writing was on the wall – Cook realized that most Apple users, even the most loyal ones, had an issue with Apple’s screen size. The iPhone 5 wasn’t as successful as the other iPhones before it because a lot of people at that time were gravitating towards the big sized Samsung Galaxy S2 and ditching Apple to do so. This meant that the iPhone’s small screen size, which Jobs insisted was perfect was now the iPhone’s Achilles Heel.
That’s why Apple came out with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone Plus in 2014. The idea was to compete with Samsung on an equal footing. As you might have predicted, Samsung welcomed the new iPhone 6 launch by putting up large ads quoting Jobs as saying, “No one is going to buy a big phone.” Okay, Jobs never did say that, but hey, who cares, it was Samsung’s moment of redemption.
So was Steve Jobs wrong?
Well, yes, he was. But Jobs was not against large screen sizes. After all, the first iPhone had a much bigger screen size than all the mobile phones of that period. Remember the Nokia phones? Much of the space on them was occupied by the keypad with just a small screen on top.
So far from being an opponent of the idea of having phones with large displays, Steve Jobs was the man who created the first phone with a large screen size– the iPhone. Yes, he refused to make it any bigger than that and failed to anticipate the threat from large Samsung phones, but hey, no one is perfect. Not even Steve Jobs!
Raghav Hegde, Bangalore
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