Apple released the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad was released in April of 2010, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Walt Mossberg at the D8 Conference that the project really began with the tablet idea. The key moment, according to Mr. Jobs, was when one of his engineers got finger scrolling to work.
“I’ll tell you a secret,” Mr. Jobs told Mr. Mossberg, according to AllThingsD’s coverage of the event. “It began with the tablet. I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on with your fingers. I asked our people about it. And six months later, they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He got scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘my God, we can build a phone with this!’ So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone.”
Miguel Heft from The New York Times added that Mr. Jobs told the audience that Apple didn’t revisit the original tablet concept until after it had established itself as a major player in the smartphone business.
“Once we got our wind back,” Mr. Jobs said, “we pulled the tablet off the shelf.”