The Epic v. Apple trial has now officially been adjourned, but it brought several documents that revealed sensitive information about both companies. Interestingly, in one of the emails Steve Jobs sent back in 2007, it is confirmed that Apple was working on a 15-inch MacBook Air (which was never officially released), plus some more discussions about the App Store.
15-inch MacBook Air
The first MacBook Air was introduced in January 2008 and was considered a revolution for the laptop industry as it featured a full-size keyboard and a 13-inch LCD display in a super compact body. However, an email sent by the Apple cofounder in August 2007 shows that the company was also working on a larger MacBook Air.
Details about this machine are unknown, but Steve mentions in his briefing for 2008 that the company would discuss a “15-inch MacBook Air” in the first half of 2008. Apple actually released the MacBook Air in a new size in 2010, but it had an 11-inch screen. The only Apple laptop that has ever been available in a 15-inch version is the MacBook Pro (and the PowerBook before that).
You can even see some interesting handwritten notes in the scanned email.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Apple was exploring the idea of a 15-inch MacBook Air, but it is unclear whether the company still wants to launch a larger version of its most popular laptop.
App Store discussions
The main topic of the Epic v. Apple trial was the App Store, as the Cupertino-based company was accused of monopolistic practices for the way it runs the store on iOS devices.
During the trial, we have already shared several emails from Apple executives arguing over internal decisions regarding the App Store, but there seems to be even more. In the same email from August 2007, months after the iPhone was announced, Steve makes it clear that there was still no decision about creating the App Store at that time.
Jobs wanted to discuss the idea of opening up the iPhone software to developers, as he also mentions EA Games as one of the likely partners to be one of the first to offer third-party apps on the iPhone. The iOS App Store was announced in March 2008 and officially launched in July of the same year.
Earlier this year, Apple’s former SVP of software engineering Scott Forstall revealed that he even asked some developers to create demo apps for the iPhone using jailbroken devices — probably because Jobs was initially against the idea of having third-party apps installed on the iPhone.
Also about the App Store, another email — this one from March 2015 — shows that App Store executives wanted to implement some of the tools used by Google to review apps from Play Store. They argue that Google had better tools to automatically analyze apps without requiring human interaction in most cases.
A document filed with the trial brought more details about Apple’s efforts to improve the App Store review process.
It’s well known that Apple was working on a tablet device long before the iPhone, although the company’s smartphone was introduced first. However, the email from Steve Jobs shows that the company was also having discussions about the tablet back in the first half of 2008.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple wanted to launch the iPad in 2008, but the company probably revived its plans for a new tablet around this time. For context, the first iPad was announced in January 2010, and it hit the stores in April of the same year.
Shazam on the App Store
Shazam was already quite popular 10 years ago, and the developers behind it decided to release another app called “Shazam Player,” which worked as an alternative music player for iPhone users. However, Apple wasn’t happy about this.
Eddy Cue, who is currently in charge of Apple’s services, said in an email in 2012 that Apple wouldn’t promote the new Shazam app in the App Store because it was “something that puts its goal as replacing our music player.”
It turns out, Apple acquired Shazam in 2018, which is now fully integrated with Siri, iOS, and Apple devices.
There are also other interesting details from these emails, which includes a mention from Jobs about a “super iPod nano” — which you can read here.
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