Tony Fadell, also known as the father of the iPod, released his new book this week called Build, which tells the story behind his 30 years working in Silicon Valley companies. Now in an interview with CNBC’s Jon Fortt, Fadell shared more details about the early stages of development of the iPod and iPhone, and also about controversial decisions by Steve Jobs.
No iPod for Windows users
Fadell was hired by Apple in 2001 to help the company develop its music strategy, which of course involved the iPod. As he mentioned in the interview, there had been multiple MP3 players before the iPod, and they had become quite popular. However, none of them were intuitive for people who “just wanted to play MP3s.”
The idea inside Apple was to bring that experience of MP3 players to the masses. After all, in the engineer’s words, “everyone loves music, the audience is everywhere.” However, unlike its competitors, the iPod had to be easy to use, with good battery life, fast data syncing, and support 1,000 songs.
According to Fadell, this was one of the reasons that led Apple to use FireWire instead of USB. While the original USB standard was super slow with speeds of up to 12 Mbps, FireWire was already able to transfer over 100 Mbps at the time. However, there was something else behind this decision.
As some of you may already know, the first two generations of the iPod weren’t compatible with Windows PCs. In order to transfer songs to an iPod, the user required a Mac – and that was Steve Jobs’ decision.
From day one, I said “We gotta make sure it’s going to work with Windows.” And he [Steve] said “Over my dead body, never.”
A little help from outside
Jobs believed that the iPod would convince Windo …