Leading article: Invented the wheel? It'll never catch on

 

Such is Sir Jonathan Ive's desire for perfection – shared with his employer, Apple – that the iPhone almost never happened. Glitches that left the prototype "good", rather than "great", nearly saw the project consigned to the scrapheap.

It is, of course, brave to stick to one's standards. But there is surely a lesson – about letting the best be the enemy of the good, perhaps? – in the fact that the iPhone went on to sell 250 million plus. And just imagine what else might have been lost to such fastidiousness. The first wheel, after all, was no doubt a clunker; and fire-making with sticks must have been a frustrating user experience. The modern era, too, is fraught with near-misses. What about cars, which needed a full-time mechanic and went barely faster than a horse? Or even the telephone itself – of little use with nobody to ring. Notwithstanding all our admiration for Sir Jonathan, then, let's hear it for leaving some room for improvement.

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