One of the most important applications on the original iPhone was the Maps application that Steve Jobs demoed with a prank call to Starbucks. But it has now come to light that about a month before the phone was announced, no such application even existed on the device.
According to a story by The New York Times, the maps application was not at all part of the original plans for the phone. Steve Jobs thought of having the application on the phone just weeks before the announcement because he thought it would help show off the multi-touch display better.
He then set two engineers who came up with the original maps application in just three weeks before the announcement. Apple then cut a hasty deal with Google to provide the mapping data for their application. This should have been easy back then because the two companies had good relations and Google’s then CEO Eric Schmidt was part of Apple’s board of directors and also came on stage during the iPhone announcement. The last minute inclusion of Maps also tells us why the original iPhone did not have GPS, which was then added in the iPhone 3G next year.
Of course, over time the relationship between the two companies became tense to the point where Apple had to come up with another source for the mapping data (the data for the current Maps application in iOS 6 is provided by TomTom, among others) and the rest is history. Still, it’s interesting to know that the original iPhone would not have had a Maps application at all had Steve Jobs not thought of it at the eleventh hour.