Ep. 029 – The Secret History of the iPhone with Brian Merchant


If you live in a big city, it can be easy to forget what it’s like to depend on a car. Urbanites tend to walk, take the subway or bus, ride a bicycle, or hop in a cab to get virtually everywhere.

On June 29th, 2007 Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new product, which he described as “a revolutionary mobile phone,” and a “breakthrough Internet communications device.”

Indeed, the iPhone has changed our lives. We do EVERYTHING on our phones. We text, we surf the web, we bank, we book vacations, we get directions, we book cars, we play games, and we even make the occasional phone call.

In the process, Apple has become the most profitable public company in the world, with a market cap of about three quarters of a trillion dollars – that’s more than twice as much as Exxon Mobil and three times as much as General Electric. Over the past ten years, Apple’s business has grown by 10 times and its stock price has increased by nearly 720 percent, dwarfing the 134 percent rise in the NASDAQ Composite Index.

But just how close did we come to not having the iPhone? How did it actually happen? Our guest Brian Merchant, technology journalist and author of the new book, The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone takes us back to the mid-2000’s to tell the iPhone origin story.

Brian reveals the inside story of the device, based on his exclusive interviews with the engineers, inventors and developers who guided every stage of the iPhone’s creation. He also discussed what life is like for the workers in China who assemble the phones. As you’ll hear, Brian doesn’t paint a very pretty picture.

If you’re a techie and live for the latest Apple rumors and news, definitely follow Brian on Twitter.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

 

We love feedback so please leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts.

For a recap of every episode, visit https://www.betterment.com/resources/topics/inside-betterment/better-off-podcast/