Sir Jonathan Ive, the design chief of Apple's groundbreaking iPhone, recounted during his address at the British Business Conference alongside the Olympic Games that several times the device had been almost scrapped as the Cupertino technology giant had been unable to get around a few design flaws.
"We nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can't solve. With the early prototypes, I held the phone to my ear and my ear (would) dial the number. You have to detect all sorts of ear-shapes and chin shapes, skin color and hairdo...that was one of just many examples where we really thought perhaps this isn't going to work," Sir Ive remarked.
However, the iPhone overcame the alleged design flaws and has sold nearly 250m units since its launch in 2007.
In the Telegraph report, Sir Ive noted how it was common to Apple's designers to feel they were "pursuing something that we think 'that's really incredibly compelling,' but we're really struggling to solve the problem that it represents."
The master designer added that the firm did not take credit for the decisions to stop working on devices that were "competent" as opposed to "great."
"We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realized we are talking a little too loud about the virtues of something. That to me is always the danger, if I'm trying to talk a little too loud about something and realizing I'm trying to convince myself that something's good," Sir Ive said.
The Telegraph report also cited how Sir Ive emphasized that the goal of Apple was to make great products: "Our goal isn't to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it's the truth. Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal."
Sir Ive's comments about design assume significance given Apple's court battle with Samsung that follows spats in Britain, Germany and Australia and is being considered as "patent battle of the century."