The Secret History of the iPhone


The secret history of the invention that changed everything-and became the most profitable product in the world.

Odds are that as you read this, an iPhone is within reach. But before Steve Jobs introduced us to “the one device,” as he called it, a cell phone was merely what you used to make calls on the go.

How did the iPhone transform our world and turn Apple into the most valuable company ever? Veteran technology journalist Brian Merchant reveals the inside story you won’t hear from Cupertino-based on his exclusive interviews with the engineers, inventors, and developers who guided every stage of the iPhone’s creation.

This deep dive takes you from inside One Infinite Loop to 19th century France to WWII America, from the driest place on earth to a Kenyan pit of toxic e-waste, and even deep inside Shenzhen’s notorious “suicide factories.” It’s a firsthand look at how the cutting-edge tech that makes the world work-touch screens, motion trackers, and even AI-made their way into our pockets.

The book is released on 22nd June.

If you want to understand more about the recent history of the iPhone, you can of course read How did we get to the iPhone? now.


In 1991 very few of us were aware of the digital age that was about to change so much in our lives. The personal computer, as we know it today, was not a product that every home put a roof over. People used Atari’s, Commodore 64’s and Amstrads with some IBM clones found in a few large businesses and in the bedrooms of the serious computer geeks. Windows 3.0 was a year old and most computers that could run it were way out of reach, in financial terms, of the average person. And even if they were a quarter of the price, most would not understand why they needed one. Life worked as it was- we contacted each other using landlines or post and the thought that everything took time to complete never entered our minds as a problem. It was normal and it was, looking back now, serene. Then again, everything looks easier when you think back and I am sure that many people were just as stressed as the 14 hours a day business people of today.


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