This Bang & Olufsen phone that Apple copied for the genius wheel of the first iPod

One of the most distinctive features of iPods, at least most of them, was their navigation wheel.. This intuitive and clever device was an opportunity for Tony Fadell and Phill Schiller to exchange memories on Twitter about the origin of this idea.

It has often been said that Phil Schiller made this proposal of a wheel that would be turned endlessly to navigate the lists of titles. He actually made the presentation during a development meeting for the future iPod. It was at this time that Tony Fadell, a new recruit at Apple, first met the head of product marketing.

The BeoCom 6000

Schiller had not however imagined this wheel concept, he had found it relevant by observing it on a cordless telephone from Bang & Olufsen sold at that time: the BeoCom 6000 (1999). Called simply “The wheel” in the telephone’s user manual, this interface worked on the principle that was to be reused for the first iPods. Also with a central “OK” button to select an item from a list.

Later, when it was the turn of the interface of the iPhone to be the center of attention, Steve Jobs wanted to keep this wheel at all costs. After all, BeoCom used it to select letters when you wanted to add a name to the phonebook. This idea was turned around and finally abandoned by Jobs, to the great relief of his engineers.

This prototype of

This prototype iPhone that wanted at all costs to look like an iPod

The iPod wheel simulates the sound of a succession of clicks when turned (with headphones in your ears). This detail was also in the Bang & Olufsen phone brought by Schiller, as its designer Henrik Sørig Thomsen explained to Fast Company in 2013 ” We wanted it to have sound…because we wanted to give it a tactile feel “. Initially, the Danish manufacturer tried to produce sounds during movement by playing on the contact between materials ” But some technicians had the idea to make the sound come out of the speaker “.

The solution provided by Schiller through this telephone won everyone over. I rushed to buy a few and take them apart Fadell replied to Schiller and the two former colleagues praising the teamwork that made this walkman possible.

With the end of the marketing of the

With the end of the commercialization of the iPod touch, Apple puts an end to the great adventure of the iPod


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