Apple executive calls BS that he wanted physical keyboard on original iPhone

Apple executive Phil Schiller was not a happy dude when a new book on the origins of the iPhone claimed Schiller pushed for a Blackberry-like physical keyboard on the original device.

So Schiller aired out his grievances where many often do: Twitter.

The book, The One Device: The secret history of the iPhone, chronicles the history of the iPhone, and author Brian Merchant travels around the world to see exactly how an iPhone is put together. An excerpt was published on The Verge, which included this anecdote about Schiller, who has been serving in Apple’s executive team since Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997:

The iPod phone was losing support. The executives debated which project to pursue, but Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing, had an answer: Neither. He wanted a keyboard with hard buttons. The BlackBerry was arguably the first hit smartphone. It had an email client and a tiny hard keyboard. After everyone else, including Fadell, started to agree that multitouch was the way forward, Schiller became the lone holdout.

He “just sat there with his sword out every time, going, ‘No, we’ve got to have a hard keyboard. No. Hard keyboard.’ And he wouldn’t listen to reason as all of us were like, ‘No, this works now, Phil.’ And he’d say, ‘You gotta have a hard keyboard!’ ” Fadell says.

The story was reportedly recounted by Tony Fadell, who served as the senior vice president of the iPod division at the time.

Schiller took to Twitter to refute this ever happened.

To make matters confusing, Fadell also took to Twitter to say the story he reportedly told Merchant was not true.

With his credibility on the line, Merchant also went on Twitter to defend his work. Merchant also says he has a recorded conversation with Fadell.

Silicon Valley journalists were split on what side to take. The pro-Schiller side (or rather more anti-Merchant) pushed back on the Schiller story because Fadell and Schiller have a long-standing beef with one another and Merchant should have taken Fadell’s claims with a big grain of salt before publishing.

Just another drama-filled day in Silicon Valley.

Photo: Apple Sr. Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller introduces the new iPad Pro during a media event at Apple headquarters on March 21, 2016. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)


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