The iPhone is so important to tech and culture that it has a creation myth. Except it’s not a myth. One day Forstall and Steve Jobs were sitting in the cafeteria at Apple: “We’re sitting there and we notice that everybody around us is using a phone, and they all looked rather angsty,” Forstall said, speaking Tuesday night at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Cell phones seemed necessary, but not fun to use, Forstall said.
Forstall explained that people at Apple were already thinking of ways to counter the problem of phones (that played music) threatening iPod sales. They had also been working on a multi-touch tablet. Jobs said: “Do you think we could take the demo with the tablet with multi-touch and shrink it down to the size of something that you could fit in your pocket?”
This led to a demo in which multi-touch was used for scrolling through phone contact information. It worked very well. So well that it became immediately obvious that the iPhone would be a thing. A very big thing, it turned out. “The second you saw it you just knew this was the way a phone had to behave,” Forstall said. “Steve said, ‘Put the tablet on hold; let’s go build a phone with multi-touch.”