How the original iPhone inspired Marvel’s Iron Man heads-up-display design

Iron Man hit the silver screen ten years ago. Just a year earlier, Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld 2007 to give the world its first glimpse of Apple’s revolutionary phone.

I’m a huge fan of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and Iron Man as its most recognizable character.

What immediately stuck with me after watching the original “Iron Man” movie were cool designs for the heads-up display inside the armored suit that Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man interacts with using voice commands and eye gestures.

Here are all Iron Man HUD scenes, up to “Avengers: Civil War”.

Designs from the 2008 Jon Favreau film influenced many HUDs in other different movies.

Thanks to visualization/HUD effects supervisors Kent Seki and Dav Rauch, we now know that the original iPhone’s user interface inspired them to build a futuristic HUD for Iron Man.

Kent explained (via AppleInsider) that the team had to adhere to the many rules and driving philosophies the HUD creators established along the way that led them to the final product.

“I remember in an early discussion in post-production with Jon Favreau,” Kent said. “He pulled out his iPhone, which was a new thing at the time. He said, ‘I don’t want to tell you a specific graphic to make for the HUD, but I want it to feel intuitive like my iPhone.’”

Dav added:

The iPhone had just come out like literally a week or two before the meeting with Jon – and I got an iPhone and Favreau had gotten an iPhone. When I was down there we kind of geeked out on our iPhones, and we were talking about what we liked about the iPhone because he was really inspired by it.

He was like, ‘What I love about this thing is it just kind of does what it should do, and it kind of does what I want it to do and it’s very intuitive and it’s very simple.’ We opened it up and I was looking at the transitions in an iPhone.

I’m like, ‘These transitions are so simple and they’re just like zooming transitions, or wipe transitions. There’s nothing fancy about this phone, but what’s fancy about this phone is that it works and it works really well.’

As mentioned, the original “Iron Man” movie celebrated its the tenth anniversary yesterday.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe culminated with the recent release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” which topped $300 million domestically and a whopping $800 million globally. In fact, nine out of the top 10 opening weekends for films last weekend were from Disney.