The iPhone started out the way a lot of cool things do: as something completely different. A few years ago, Steve Jobs noticed how many development dollars were being spent--particularly in the greater Seattle metropolitan area--on what are called tablet PCs: flat portable computers that work with a touch screen instead of a mouse and keyboard. Jobs, being Jobs, was curious. He had some Apple engineers noodle around with a touch screen. When they showed him what they came up with, he got excited.
So excited he forgot all about tablet computers. He had bigger game to hunt.