Apple came close to axing the iPhone “multiple times” because of design flaws, Sir Jonathan Ive admitted in a recent speech.
According to the 45-year-old design guru, Apple and the late Steve Jobs were so transfixed on excellence that they were willing to shelve potential ideas on the basis of them being “good rather than great.”
Speaking at a British Business Embassy event, he said: "There were multiple times where we nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can't solve."
Ive, who was knighted this year, went on to explain that the planning stage is always an emotional one: "We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realised 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 realising I'm trying to convince myself that something's good.
"You have that horrible, horrible feeling deep down in your tummy and you know that it's OK but it's not great.
“And I think some of the bravest things we've ever done are really at that point when you say, 'that's good and it's competent, but it not's great'."
The iPhone is one of Apple’s most successful inventions, with almost 250m units sold since 2007 - when the original version landed.
Ive, who is credited as one of the men who helped turn Apple’s fortunes around, was born in Chingford, Essex, in 1967. He joined Apple as a designer in 1992, where he now heads up the firm’s design team. He lives near San Francisco with his wife and two sons.
Pick up the September 2012 issue of T3, featuring an interview with Sir Jony Ive