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Apple Engineer Provides Rare Glimpse Into iPhone Invention Secrets


An Apple engineer who piloted software development for the very first iPhone is peeling back the curtain on Steve Jobs’ demanding creative process -- as well as his swelling exuberance behind the scenes as the game-changing device gradually came into being.

Though Greg Christie, who still heads Apple’s user-interface team, has never spoken out before, the company has listed him as an inventor in its latest patent suit again Samsung, which charges five additional copyright violations.

That trial is slated to begin on Monday.

Christie is now speaking to the press in order to convey the pioneering nature -- and frequently-copied features, Apple charges -- of the product he helped to conceive.

Related: In Patent War, Apple and Samsung to Try Mediation Before March Court Date

Among Christie’s array of accomplishments throughout "Project Purple," as development of the iPhone was codenamed, were: swiping to unlock, making calls from the address book, touch-based music navigation, the speed and bounce-back of list-scrolling, itemizing text messages chronologically, voicemail and calendar display, and album artwork “cover-flow.”

Furthermore, Christie told The Wall Street Journal that Jobs delivered ultimatums to his “shockingly small” team for “bigger ideas” -- or else. The majority of work took place, he described, in a windowless room bedecked in fluorescent lights, water-damaged walls and a poster of a running, headless chicken. Even cleaning crews weren’t allowed inside.

Since Apple began litigation against Samsung in 2011, it has been awarded $930 million -- a ruling that Samsung is currently appealing. However, the latest suit could be even more lucrative, reports The Journal, given that it pertains to more recent developments for phones that have sold in far greater multitudes.

Related: The Two Words Steve Jobs Hated Most

Geoff Weiss

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Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at