We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.
He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost:
The technology in shaping the glass, the cost relative to shaping the glass at the time, and some of the design features of this specific shape were not liked… The technology at the time had a lot to do with it. The qualities of the glass at the time had a lot to do with it. These are models — I’m trying to remember a time frame — that were before gorilla glass and before a lot of the other factors.
Satzger also talked about the issues with the early extruded aluminum prototype (pictured right):
My recollection of it was that to get the extruded aluminum design that was applied to the iPod to work for the iPhone, there were too many added features to allow it to be comfortable and to work properly… If you put an iPod up to your ear, the sharp edges, because of the processes, aren’t comfortable, and you can’t get antennas to work properly in a fully enclosed metal jacket. So each one of those things needed to apply other features that started.
Also discovered in the deposition is a question to Apple designer Christopher Stringer about whether drop tests affected the device’s initial design direction:
It changed as a result of those fine-tuning the design. From a composition point of view, we were trying to decide how much of a border we wanted around the glass, the angles, the dimensions, the corner radii. We excruciatingly put through how we wanted this thing to appear. So yes, it did take various forms along the way… I can tell you quite plainly that this shape is not determined as a result of drop tests.”