I just finished reading the Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson. Very interesting and insightful. Especially for somebody like me, who grew up during the 90s and early 2000s, because I just wasn’t born when the now somewhat mature tech industry was starting out.
There’s one thing that struck me when I read the book: The Gorilla Glass story. I had read this Ney York Times article that was linked by John Gruber almost a year ago. It clearly says that Apple switched from plastic to glass for the screen of the iPhone within weeks, and that it was manufactured in China.
In 2007, a little over a month before the iPhone was scheduled to appear in stores […]
“I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.” […]
After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen, China. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.
That doesn’t quite fit the corresponding chapter in Isaacson’s book and this wikipedia article, that ironically lists the NYT piece as a source.
In the ‘Gorilla Glass’ section of chapter 36 of Isaacson’s book, it says that the Gorilla Glass needed for the original iPhone was made within six months (and in the USA, not China), and the Wikipedia article supports this by placing Apple discovering the plastic scratching problem in 2006, not 2007.
This is weird, since the NYT article even mentions Corning Inc., the manufacturer of the Gorilla Glass. Anyway, currently I think the article is totally wrong about the detail of the glass screen being put together within weeks. But since it’s a very quotable line, the I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks is all over the Internet.
I was confused because I knew I had heard something conflicting to the info in Isaacson’s book until I finally found the DF post and NYT article. It doesn’t really matter since the article wanted to make the point of manufacturing in China being very flexible and quick, and it most certainly is right about this. But the ‘six weeks’ thing remains at least questionable.
However, if there’s more detailed info about this I’d be happy if you could point me to it.
Also about the Isaacson book and conflicting info: I thought I had heard that the clickwheel iPhone actually has never been a real option, but the stuff in the book about P1 (clickwheel) and P2 (multitouch) draws a different picture. I’d also be happy about info on that.