The One Device - Brian Merchant

The One Device

By Brian Merchant

  • Release Date: 2017-06-20
  • Genre: Industries & Professions
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 39 Ratings)
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Description

The secret history of the invention that changed everything-and became the most profitable product in the world.
NATIONAL BESTSELLERShortlisted for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award
"The One Device is a tour de force, with a fast-paced edge and heaps of analytical insight." -Ashlee Vance, New York Times bestselling author of Elon Musk

"A stunning book. You will never look at your iPhone the same way again." -Dan Lyons, New York Times bestselling author of Disrupted
Odds are that as you read this, an iPhone is within reach. But before Steve Jobs introduced us to "the one device," as he called it, a cell phone was merely what you used to make calls on the go.
How did the iPhone transform our world and turn Apple into the most valuable company ever? Veteran technology journalist Brian Merchant reveals the inside story you won't hear from Cupertino-based on his exclusive interviews with the engineers, inventors, and developers who guided every stage of the iPhone's creation.
This deep dive takes you from inside One Infinite Loop to 19th century France to WWII America, from the driest place on earth to a Kenyan pit of toxic e-waste, and even deep inside Shenzhen's notorious "suicide factories." It's a firsthand look at how the cutting-edge tech that makes the world work-touch screens, motion trackers, and even AI-made their way into our pockets.
The One Device is a roadmap for design and engineering genius, an anthropology of the modern age, and an unprecedented view into one of the most secretive companies in history. This is the untold account, ten years in the making, of the device that changed everything.

Reviews

  • In-depth Insight

    5
    By AniMill
    By telling the story of iPhone's creation with a holistic God's Eye view, we are provided far more detail on how The One Device came to fruition. At times the history felt like lessons on how our obsessions with tech are ravaging the world's resources and poorer peoples. Also being the nerd I am, I was disappointed that there wasn't more insight to the actual final assembly - how the form-factors were arranged, or the final design achieved...I wanted to be there at the moment the ID team tightened the last screw and pressed the power button. That must have felt like seeing the first plane flying, car driving, photo developing, or watching the Trinity test. Thank you for your incredibly diligent research and devotion to the whole picture. Your gift to see the interconnected elements made this a fascinating read.
  • Fantastic read

    5
    By mfgdog
    This guy literally went to the ends of the earth to bring the true iPhone story to the reader. Well done!
  • Incredibly detailed, a great read

    5
    By Stymyx
    I was expecting to read about the creation of the iPhone, and of the people that made it happen. And it describes that very well (at least, as well as one could expect from a book about a product created by a company as secretive as Apple). In particular, the information about the people involved in creating the iPhone was very interesting to me. What I wasn’t expecting was Merchant’s explanations of the history behind all the technologies that went INTO creating it.  No, Apple didn’t invent the Smartphone, or multi-touch, or Wi-Fi, or cell phone radio technology, or accelerometers, or CCD camera imagers, or lithium-ion batteries, or Gorilla Glass, or GPS.  But Merchant provides the history of, or at the very least, great insight into, ALL of these technologies and so many more, and then explains in an entertaining way how Apple brought all these things together to create the iPhone. Merchant also delves into the somewhat questionable efforts that go into manufacturing the iPhone (and other Smartphones).  He even explores many of the social and environmental issues surrounding the iPhone, and Smartphones in general, which surprised me as well.  This book really covers all the bases!  There is a LOT of information here and I found it all a fascinating read.  Perhaps someone who isn’t a big fan of technology might find it overkill, but honestly, that kind of person probably wouldn’t be interested in a book like this anyway.  Speaking for myself, as a lifelong electronics and technology fan, I loved every page of it.
  • #1 iPhone read

    5
    By JSWCAT
    I thought I knew everything about the iPhone from first purchasing the initial phone to actually working in an Apple store. After reading this book I was amazed at how much I didn’t know!
  • Smell the agenda, write contrived text

    1
    By Davidshead
    I appreciate non-fiction writing, but this book by Brian Merchant reeks of an agenda. You can tell by the language used that he’s framing history to fit his view point and I fear the book suffers from it. When he talks about the historical visit of the Mac development team to Xerox PARC, he suggests they “borrowed” the interface technology. The word choice suggests or implies a theft of some sort. The visit to PARC was part of a stock deal where Xerox would be offered a deal on shares of Apple. And then you could look at Douglas Engelbart’s 1968 presentation (The Mother of All Demos) as historical precedent that Xerox did not imagine everything themselves. But you know, glib overstatement to make it seem less boring, more contrived, sure, whatever.
  • Tedious

    2
    By Esopp
    The author, obviously no fan of Steve Jobs, bores us silly with more minutiae than one should bear. From his perspective Jobs deserves no credit and was only a huckster. The author must have never owned a Nokia E61 or a Blackberry or Palm. Most shocking of all the author gave no credit to that unknown soul who first tamed fire or the person who invented the first wheel. None of us would even exist without them. Shame for overlooking their contribution! This is mostly an Apple slam job that should be read only be those so obsessed by all of those bad at Apple that they must read more. Unfortunately I bought it on iTunes so cannot get my money back, good news for the author, bad for me…...
  • Bizarrely structured

    3
    By vcsjones
    The content and individual topics of this book are good, but there is a certain lack of cohesion to this story. Each chapter is its own mini story, and then on to the next. The content that was published on The Verge as a sample was the best part of the book.
  • Loads of Meaningless Fill Ins

    2
    By W. Jackson
    There are several chapters of this book that are remarkable and shed new light on the production and emergence of the iPhone. There are LOTS more chapters that discuss nothing interesting or useful. Would not recommend
  • Eye opening

    5
    By James Ann Fung
    A must read book. Thank you Brian
  • Interesting subject, great style

    5
    By Entirely Satisfied
    A real page turner, especially if you're into technical stuff. A fascinating glimpse into how the iPhone comprises innovation spanning many individuals and decades. In addition, the style of writing is excellent- engaging and dramatic. (I don't approve of the sailor-mouthed Silicon Valley crowd, but that's not the authour's fault.) In a word, highly recommended.

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