Apple divulges details in court about 7-inch iPad, conception of the iPhone

One of Apple's iPhone 2G advertisementFor those of you unfamiliar with the matter, Apple and Samsung are currently involved in a long, drawn-out legal battle concerning the two company’s conflicting patents. Both companies are fighting to prove the other one copied their original ideas. Samsung lawyers say Apple can’t have a “monopoly on a rectangle” and Phil Schiller, senior vice president of marketing at Apple, says “Customers can get confused about whose product is whose.” Basically, it’s a schoolyard argument with a price tag of $2.5 billion.

But for a company that prefers to stay in the shadows, Apple’s necessity to publicize intimate details about its inner workings can’t be comforting. The Wall Street Journal has been closely following the case, recently reporting on various nuggets of information being spilled onto the courtroom floor, ranging from marketing technigues and budgets to Apple protocol. But marketing strategies are nothing compared to the unique, fascinating, and often bizarre ways that Apple operates.

Like Apple’s stance on a 7-inch iPad, for example. In public, Apple couldn’t make their disdain for the smaller form factor more obvious. But behind closed doors, the company’s stance is much less cut and dry. Apple’s head of iTunes business, Eddy Cue, was actually advocating the merits of a smaller iPad. In an email to Schiller, software genius Scott Forstall, and Tim Cook (Apple’s chief operating officer at the time), Cue wrote: “I believe there will be a 7″ market and we should do one. I expressed this to (CEO) Steve (Jobs) several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time.”

Weird, right? And it gets weirder, especially regarding the development of the first iPhone. Called “Project Purple” in its infancy, Apple had many rules and regulations for how the project should be handled. Forstall said Steve Jobs forbid him from hiring anyone outside the company, forcing him to recruit some “superstars” at the company. Forstall was also told he couldn’t share what they’d be working on, only that they would have to give up many weeknights and weekends.

Once the team was assembled, a floor of the Apple building was locked down with cameras and keycards to keep the secrets on the inside. It was nicknamed the “purple dorm” because of the project’s codename. Above the door was a sign that read “Fight Club”, an homage to the popular film of the same name. It specifically referenced the rule in the film that no one can ever speak about fight club. Forstall said he had 1,000 people reporting directly to him at the time.

The details certainly aren’t shocking, considering Apple’s infamous reputation for taking the secrecy of unreleased devices very, very seriously. But it will be interesting to see what other tidbits about Apple — and hopefully Samsung too — are uncovered as the patent wars continue.


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