The iPhone: 1999-2007 & The Final Answers


The iPhone: From rumor conception to the actual keynote announcement to the lead up process & to the actual release next week has been amazing on so many levels. Whether you like, love or hate it that it’s actually coming out next week, it has been an interesting and amazing ride so far. It has inspired to all forms of craziness from a thousand iPhone concept drawings to grown bloggers who cannot resist making a snarky comments while glowering at the iPhone web pages.

So, it’s fitting we take a nostalgic look back at a product that’s not actually out yet – because like everything else about the iPhone – everything about it breaks the rules.

First, believe it or not, Apple actually kicks off the whole trillion-word internet craziness by buying the domain, (which points to you a certain in 1999! FIERCE WIRELESS does a nice timeline.

At that point, Apple never said never but also never said there would be a phone, that never was not much reason for a thousand budding CAD & graphic artists to believe they had the Jonathan Ive like stuff but in 99.99% of the case, um, not so much. PRODUCT DOSE picks the worst 15 (good choices). Or the then ALL CAPS LEAK SPYSHOTS OF POSSIBLE IPHONES … only to actually see the photos/illustrations and realize – uh, no. GIZMODO does this roundup. Or at the AppleiPhoneBlogspot.

What other product could inspire so many to stop work on their fake celebs nudes portfolio?

After nearly 8 years, finally the big announcement – it’s real and Steve Jobs is holding it in his hands. In the 6 month run-up after, we have heard every rumor. Even when facts are stated in the keynote presentation with a photo, until last week, there were people convinced there was no SIM card slot and apparently a giant SIM card would slam into the Earth killing us all.


Here are the official specs in case you missed it (VIA APPLEINSIDER & updated from Monday):

• System requirements
– Mac or PC
– iTunes 7
– Internet access is required, and a broadband connection is recommended
– Mac: Mac with a USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later
– PC: Windows PC with a USB 2.0 port and Windows XP Home or Professional (Service Pack 2)
• External Controls
– Volume Up / Down
– Ringer / Silent
– Power / Lock
– Sleep / Wake
– Menu Button
• Dimensions
– 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm
• Weight 4.8 ounces / 135 grams
• Input Method – Multi-touch
• Operating System – OS X
• Screen size – 3.5 inches (Optical Glass)
• Screen resolution – 320 x 480 at 160 ppi
• Storage – 4GB or 8GB
• GSM – Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
• Wireless data
– Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
• Camera – 2.0 megapixels
• Battery
– Lithium
– 8 hours of talk time
– 6 hours of Internet use
– 7 hours of video playback or 24 hours of audio playback
– Up to 250 hours—more than 10 days—of standby time
(Battery life varies by use)
• Connectors and other input & output
– 30 pin iPod connector
– 3.5mm jack includes audio and mic support
– SIM tray
– Built-in speaker
– Built-in microphone

Official Photos including pics of dock and other included accessories. The new Apple video guided tour.

So, if you plan on panicking over something, make sure it’s not on this list so at least we can decide in our last week on Earth without an iPhone if we should head for the hills with you (aka: Is there an official AT&T store in your underground bunker?)


“The iPhone might be the Newton.”

Sure, if you’re a Polish man who’s been in coma since the country was communist, that might be a legitimate conclusion. For everyone else … the Newton was an attempt to change people from scribbling in notepads to scribbling on a monochrome glass-plated device that then converted your handwritten scribbles into computer typed text. Never mind whether it ultimately succeeded or not, the Newton wanted people to make a distinctive change from the status quo of using pen & paper (a 3,000 year old tradition) to electronic.

What does the iPhone ask you to do? The only real difference is it asks you to type on a touchscreen versus the current tiny keyboard of a Treo or Blackberry. Is tiny typing on a chiclet keyboard a 3,000 year old tradition or is it a 8 year function that is barely tolerated because the next other choice is typing on a even tinier phone keypad where you need to type a key 4 times to select a letter?

Here are the “radical” questions that the iPhone asks of you?

Do you want a phone & an iPod?
Do you want a 3.5″ screen in two views?
Do you want to use your fingers for all your navigation?

It’s LESS of a task than asking people to use a stylus to point at things – the iPhone is not trying to change some 3,000 year-old ingrained tradition – equating it as a comparison to the Newton not only shows you are way past your use-by-1995 date but also that you need to actually understand what you are saying.

“The iPhone requires a 2-year commitment!”

How many phones that do not come out of a cereal box require a commitment of 1 or 2 years? Now, I’m not saying I’m for this nor do I think this is a good thing, I’m just pointing out that 98% of phones over $20 require a commitment so why is the iPhone 2-year commitment scary but not a Samsung phone also from AT&T? Are you so unsure you might need a cell phone or service in 5 months? Then you probably want to buy a $39 phone from Target & $25 worth of calls to see what you think first.

“People will hate typing on the touchscreen”

Of course, NO one who has complained about the touchscreen has actually used the iPhone one yet so let’s not be hasty about making declarative statements. However, since 97% of people have non PDA like cell phones today – are you saying that the worse case scenario, the iPhone touch-type screen is going to be worse than a typical tiny keypad requiring you to hit the same key 4 times to type a letter or 2 other keys plus those 4 keys to type a # sign? So, we know the iPhone touchscreen typing will beat about 97% phones out there – the benchmark is not that high … selling a couple billion cellphones with crappy to non-existent keypads proves that people really don’t care that much about the keyboard right now – at least not enough to spring for a PDA like phone (well 97% don’t) so the bar is set pretty low even if every PDA phone out there with its chiclet keyboard beats the iPhone touchscreen, the iPhone will be satisfactory/better to 96% of users.

(and yeah, never mind the video iPod, visual voicemail and the syncing thing also included as part of the deal).

“It’s really expensive!”

You would’ve thought that when that line of reasoning fell apart when the sales of the iPod zoomed, but here it is again. You could actually break it down different ways:

“It’s twice or three” times the cost of regular cell phones!”

Disneyland costs $65 just to get in. You can go to the county fair for $10 dollars. Both have costs posted on a sign before you pay. You decide if it’s worth it compared to “the regular” choice. Whether it’s Coke versus Koola-Cola or BMW versus Kia, it’s not the SAME THING for different prices. It’s DIFFERENT things for different costs. You decide if it’s worth it. It’s pricing is in US dollars, there’s no tricky conversion, it’s not 18,000 Apple credits which you have to convert or they are trying to trick you. It’s very straightforward – apparently not even a rebate form to tinker with. It’s $499 or $599 USD plus tax. Apple is not selling water or some ozone-free environment where it’s a real necessity of life – they can price it as they want. You ultimately decide if you want it. No hard sell, no free trip to listen to sales spiel … Apple did not buy up a “cheap” supplier and eliminated a consumer choice, it’s just another choice.

It should be pointed also that everyone sells a phone costing MORE than the iPhone but yet, only the iPhone is pegged as wildly super expensive while the more costly $650 Prada or the $950 Nokia are “top of the line” choices.

“It’s just a $249 iPod Mini Plus a $250 cell phone”

Actually you CANNOT buy a VIDEO 8GB iPod for $249, you can buy an 8GB Nano for $249 but it does not offer you video playback. You also do NOT get a 3.5″ screen – so if was an iPod ONLY with a 3.5″ screen that played video, it would presumably cost at least $75/$100 more … so you’re really paying an extra $200? $150 for the Apple cellphone portion – even if don’t bother getting the phone service portion, you have a widescreen iPod that plays video like no other – sure, no one is logically going to do that but two years down the line, you still have a widescreen video iPod, after two years with your RAZR, what do you have left when the contract expires or you move onto another phone?

“The phone service contract, it will cost you thousands!”

It’s no different than any other data/smartphone – again, I’m not saying it’s a good thing we pay for each text message when I can text for free on the internet but that’s the price we have allowed the FCC to allow just a few companies to set the price of admission. Sure, who wouldn’t like it cheaper? We know the cheapest price is maybe $600 a year for cell phone service in the US – if you have family members, texting and internet access, you’re probably paying closer to $1,400 a year or more – maybe the iPhone AT&T plan is more, maybe it’s the same but unless you’re the Polish coma guy, you are not paying $0 for cell phone service now so the cost is not from zero but from where-ever you are at now – even if the iPhone costs more.

“Apple has never sold a phone before (it might not work)”

It’s a cell phone – not a hovercraft. Having sold over a billion phones now, it’s safe to presume Apple could find a handful of cell phone designers & engineers who would be able to help them build a phone … after all, while the components are nice or many even top of the line choices, they are just components – the key is Apple supplying the software & interface. The rest is just assembling parts and we know that Apple knows how to manage that process. They are also partnered with AT&T – even if you loathe the company, they certainly know the cell phone business from the dull, boring logistical operation viewpoint. And as INVESTOR VILLAGE noted, they are testing out the phone as we speak, it’s not like the first ones off the assembly line are being sent straight to your hands. You have one company who knows how to build state of art consumer electronics and you have one company with 15 years of cell phone experience. Now, the iPhone may not be everything you want it to be but it will work as well/as poorly as every cell phone on the planet.

“I.T. Says they won’t support the iPhone”

I.T. is often confused. They seem to forget that they are supposed to support the employee, making their lives easier to further grow the company – somewhere along the line, most IT departments have become the DMV of the company – more of a bureaucratic hinderance and ‘can’t do that’ mentality (aka: because that would involve more work for me). So, that might be a battle you might lose or might win – depending on how long your title is though this one senior, senior exec I know at a billion dollar company cannot load chat software – sure, he has an expense account in the tens of thousands and can close multi-million dollar deals with a handshake but he can’t load chat software? WTH?

“Stand In Line (Or Stand On Line for your East Coasters) or internet in?”

REPLY HAZY. On one hand, we’re too old stand in/on line for anything but on the other hand, it does make rioting much more convenient while you are there when they run out of iPhones (just kidding 🙂 ) or will you be like an 8-year old kid dashing from store to store all out of breath, sweating like a cape buffalo and eking out the words, “iPhone” before collapsing and other walk over you to get their iPhone and you wake up in a hospital with a receipt for a $650 Prada phone in your pocket?

Or will you be at home the same time you notice a back-hoe in the street digging a giant hole to install the new fiber? Noooooo, not today!!!! Or your wireless keyboard stops working and the letter A, P or T do not work at all?

Whatever happens, Friday at 6 PM where-ever you are will a test of your luck, skill and mental acuity (if you have a credit line of $40,000, should you buy 80 phones?) At this rate, in years from now, people will remember where they were at 6 PM Friday the 29th – either when the rest of the world went mad or you were the one leading the charge through the streets … and remember the Apple store glass doors are HEAVY. If you run into then at just the wrong angle, you will be KNOCKED OUT and you will not receive any medical help until 10 PM so you’re warned. Have fun. I think I might have a blog post topic for next Friday 🙂


Filed under Advertising, Apple Mac, Computing, Gadgets, Internet, iPhone, Marketing, mobile, Retail

5 responses to “The iPhone: 1999-2007 & The Final Answers

  1. Scott

    I think the point people are arguing over on the 2-year contract is not that you must have one for the iPhone. You can buy any of it’s competitors, unlocked and for full retail without a 2-year contract; which isn’t possible with the iPhone, it’s full retail, period. With all the other phones, you will get a very steep discount on the price of the phone (over $300 off on some of the high end Blackberrys) if you commit to a 2-year contract. That same 2-year commitment nets you exactly a $0 discount with the iPhone. THAT’s what they’re complaining about!

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  3. Pingback: Hatin’ the iPhone: When Did the I.T. Department Become the DMV of Corporations? « TWO A DAY

  4. Dean Myers

    Could you actually run a small business (sole proprietor) using just the iPhone? I assume with a wireless printer you could print documents and proposals, letterhead, etc.

  5. I just got an iPhone and love it.

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