Fred Vogelstein, writing for The New York Times, with a thorough historical look at the lead-up to the iPhone’s unveiling in 2007:
Jobs rarely backed himself into corners like this. He was well known as a taskmaster, seeming to know just how hard he could push his staff so that it delivered the impossible. But he always had a backup, a Plan B, that he could go to if his timetable was off.
But the iPhone was the only cool new thing Apple was working on. The iPhone had been such an all-encompassing project at Apple that this time there was no backup plan. “It was Apple TV or the iPhone,” Grignon says. “And if he had gone to Macworld with just Apple TV” — a new product that connected iTunes to a television set — “the world would have said, ‘What the heck was that?’ ”