Steve Jobs always had an eye for innovative technology, but his near inability to keep the iPhone under wraps almost cost him what Apple would eventually become.
Steve Jobs was known for always pushing the envelope. He was always about pushing that technological envelope as far as he could without breaking it entirely. That being said, his innovation has without a doubt completely changed the world of mobile computing and smartphones. However, imagine a world where Jobs leaked the first iPhone before its release. As it turns out, he almost did just that. David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s Chief campaign advisor, notes in an upcoming book that Obama saw the original iPhone in a meeting with Jobs before the iPhone even launched.
Apparently, Jobs was so excited about the launch of his soon-to-be-famous iPhone, that he couldn’t resist the opportunity to show a few people close to him the eventual final product. At the time, President Obama was not the President, but at that moment Axelrod says the eventual President said, “If it were legal, I would buy a boatload of Apple stock. This thing is going to be big.” Interestingly, at the time Apple’s stock was selling at a split-adjusted rate of $12-14 per share. An amount that seems microscopic compared to what the company’s stock trades at today.
As it turns out though, not everyone was a fan of the original iPhone. There was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – who famously ranted about how terrible the phone was – and even some other folks who were skeptical about what a smartphone was, and what it would eventually become. However, all of that seemed mild in comparison to the biggest praise that Jobs could have received when presenting the first iPhone. Andy Rubin of Google notoriously forced his driver to pull over so he could see the entire presentation, before saying at the conclusion of the presentation, “holy crap, I guess we’re not going to launch that phone.”
Interestingly though, had President Obama followed his advice – that he obviously could not – he could have made somewhere around a $400,000 investment – that would be worth roughly $3.6 million today, and still climbing. That being said, betting on Apple stock – even with as uncertain as it might have seemed then – is obviously anything but a gamble. In fact, it’s probably the surest shot in the entire stock market collectively since it just racked up the single-greatest-quarter of earnings in the history of business. Without any doubt, Steve Jobs’ innovation and willingness to push those boundaries was key in Apple’s overall success.