General Magic: the iPhone invented 20 years ago by Marc Porat

General Magic: the iPhone invented 20 years ago by Marc Porat

iPhoneIf the iPhone has revolutionized the world of smartphones and beyond, a certain Marc Porat had already imagined the end of the 80s. At that time, young diplomat, he landed at the company Apple's Steve Jobs with a red notebook filled with a vision of the future very precise, but far too avant-garde. He and a large number of figures today become mythical, have participated in the development of an iPhone before the time, the Magic Link. Everything is see in the documentary General Magic.

The trailer of the documentary General Magic:

A revolution too far ahead of its time

Indeed, the revolution of touch screens, apps and the Internet connect permanently was already written in the notes of Marc, while the PCs were reserved the lite and the mobile phones were still very rare.

The one who owes this vision is called Marc Porat, and besides the iPhone, he had planned a site to change his photos called Facebase. This is not invented!

In 1988, he joined Apple. With his doctorate obtained Stanford, he was recruited by John Sculley who had replaced Steve Jobs three years earlier, after he launched the Macintosh in 1984. Despite the success of the departure of the computer, the firm had landed his -crator to democratize the computer. There were names like Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson, Andy Rubin, Joanna Hoffman or even Susan Kare. All had worked on the Mac. Among them, founders came from eBay, Android, LinkedIn or Nest, and most other engineers today work at Google, Facebook, Samsung and of course Apple.

To return Marc Porat, he wants to create the next big thing by offering the John Sculley Pocket Crystal:

A tiny computer, a phone, a very personal object. It must be beautiful. () He must offer the tactile satisfaction of a shell, the rapture of a crystal. Once you use it, you will not be able to live without it.

To achieve this, he convinced John Sculley to associate Apple for the software, Sony for the hardware and Motorola for the network. In 1990, Apple then launched Mountain View the company General Magic, led by Marc Porat, the future man of the future, Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson, the two star Apple engineers, and Andy Rubin, also from Apple, nicknamed Android by his colleagues for his unconditional love of robots. But that's not all, Tony Fadell, still found today at Apple, joins the adventure.

Indeed, most of the older Macintosh project are there. They include marketing director Joanna Hoffman, one of the Cupertino's first recruits, MIT graduate Megan Smith, graphic designer Susan Kare, and programmer Kevin Lynch. virtuoso, who will later think of Apple Watch.

sony magic link

But the adventure was not easy, even for General Magic employees who called themselves the wizards themselves. The challenges were (too) numerous. It was necessary to create a miniature, portable computer, which consumed little and could be connected with others, all with the means and technologies of the time. They had even thought of an App Store for the application part or the USB port for data transfers and charging.

But in the end, the first product of General Magic will be far from the expectations of its creators, and without the Internet. Instead, the GM glove AT & T glove will build a private network that will be too limited. And Sony, which the Magic Link will be delivered, was quickly left alone. Apple has left the ship before the end, the fault of too many bugs, processors too slow and a poorly calibrated touch. The iPhone was out of the gate in 1993. However, the Japanese lana Magic Link in 1994 with even a Cloud before time. For its part, Apple was launching his PDA Newton. Two chess!

If you are passionate about it as much as we watch the documentary General Magic.

Gift, a sketch of the iPhone 1988:

general magic ancestor iphone