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How Apple Kept the iPhone Secret

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-don't-tell-me dept.

Media (Apple) 539

An anonymous reader writes "Bogus prototypes, bullying the press, stifling pillow talk — all to keep iPhone under wraps. Fortune's Peter Lewis goes inside one of the year's biggest tech launches. One of the most astonishing things about the new Apple iPhone, introduced yesterday by Steve Jobs at the annual Macworld trade show, is how Apple managed to keep it a secret for nearly two-and-a-half years of development while working with partners like Cingular, Yahoo and Google."

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539 comments

Secret? What secret? (5, Funny)

thegameiam (671961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17540966)

Given the absurd numbers of rumours which abounded over the past few months, what is this "secret" of which you speak?

Agreed (5, Insightful)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541320)

To me the untold story is how Apple managed to build such a strong buzz for their product, while avoiding any of the negative backlash that can accompany such a campaign (compare to Sony's PSP debacle right before the holidays, for instance).

They waged a viral campaign so effective that analysts and customers were basically demanding to be given the opportunity to purchase the new product--and they did it so silently that I'll probably get responses arguing that Apple didn't even do a campaign. THAT, to me, is the real story of secret-keeping.

Re:Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541472)

Sony experienced a backlash because the PSP sucks. The iPhone doesn't suck. Any questions?

Re:Agreed (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541842)

It's a phone. We've already got phones.

It plays music. We've already got things that play music. Including phones.

Who gives a flying fuck about this product? This is about as newsworthy as a new marshmallow shape in my lucky charms.

Re:Secret? What secret? (5, Insightful)

Merkwurdigeliebe (1046824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541436)

While Mr. Wu and many other analysts who scour the supply chains for hints of what might come had an idea that an Apple phone device was almost certainly imminent; no one outside the loop knew what the specifications, configurations, capabilities, software, interface (soft and hard) were going to be to a reasonable degree. Surely, many people guessed at the features. Some people actually got some right; many got them wrong but no-one got it all right. Most guessed incorrectly and were working from obscurity and not from secret, in-the-know information. It was predominantly wild-guessing. Therefore it can be asseted as a secret. If one guesses enough one is apt to guess right.
Isn't that what brute-force password attacks are about? One cannot claim that hackers knew one's secret password only because they were able to discover that a password existed and then were able to gain it by brute-force attack.
I think it can be classified as having been an unqualified bona-fide industrial secret to the extent they were able to keep the details about the device at large from the press and the public and even their competitors.

Re:Secret? What secret? (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541826)

Nit-picking, I know, but still:

Therefore it can be asseted as a secret. If one guesses enough one is apt to guess right. Isn't that what brute-force password attacks are about?

A password hacked through brute force is still a password hacked, isn't it? It's not like you can say "sure, they did access all our data and steal our designs, but they did it with a brute force hack so really it's all still secret." The difference isn't that everyone was just guessing (e.g. a brute force attack) it's that there was no way to verify the guess before the announcement. That makes it not like a brute-force attack.

I'm sorry. It's a compulsion.

-stormin

And one of the year's biggest tech launches? (3, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541574)

Fortune's Peter Lewis goes inside one of the year's biggest tech launches

It's January 10th. Obviously this is going to be the year's biggest tech launch to date. Talk about hyperbole. Talk to me in November and then we can talk year's biggest tech launches.

Re:Secret? What secret? (2, Insightful)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541862)

Given the absurd numbers of rumours which abounded over the past few months, what is this "secret" of which you speak?
No one posted a picture of the phone online. The rumors were all over the place as to what the phone would be. The rumors were even iffy about whether it would be announced at MacWorld.

I'd say they did pretty good.

How to keep somthing seceret. (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#17540986)

Step 1) dont tell anyone about it.
Step 2) dont deny it exists.

Thats about it realy.

Re:How to keep somthing seceret. (1)

StewedSquirrel (574170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541126)

Number 1 is quite difficult when you have almost 1000 people working on it on a daily basis.

Leaks happen.

Stew

Re:How to keep something seceret. (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541166)

Ha! Apple is nothing!

You don't even know IF my company exists, not to speak of WHAT we're going to produce.

I'm just gonna scrummage around in my closet for my old turtleneck and then watch out!

Re:How to keep somthing seceret. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541888)

Step 1 seems to be virtually impossible for most marketing departments. They're so used to telling people things exist when they don't that when something actually DOES exist there's no way they can keep quiet about it.

Secret? (3, Informative)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17540990)

I think most of us who tool around the macrumor sites had a pretty good idea of what they were going to release. The only 'secret' was when. I wasn't surprised by any feature the phone had.

Re:Secret? (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541122)

Exactly!

I remember seeing ALOT of those features on MacRumours, and I don't even look at the site (just lots of links to them and people talkign about it).

The one that realyl stuck in my head was the widescreen video iPod with a touch based controll (dubed the "iPod Video" instead of "iPod With Video")

yah, it was "secret" but every one knew everything about it.

Admitdely I have to wonder if this is Art Inspiring reality. Do the Mac Devs check through MacRumors regularly to see what people want?

Reverse Peter & the wolf technique (1)

DarkGreenNight (647707) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541402)

"Hey! The Iphone is comming!"
drooling, rage, deception

"Hey! The Iphone is trully comming!"
drooling, rage, deception

"This year it is! The Iphone is comming!"
welcome to /ignore
surprise?

The same would happen with Duke Nukem, if it was ever released. Nobody would believe that it had finally hit the streets.

Re:Secret? (1)

Merkwurdigeliebe (1046824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541598)

Yes, but the point is no one knew what the feature set was going to be with any certainty of being right. You might compare rumors about Apple products to words in a brute-force dictionary password attack. Eventually one for the guesses might be right. It does not imply that anyone (other than principals) knew what the password was (or in this case what the product specs, etc. were going to be.

Re:Secret? (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541886)

True, however the interestign part is that the most popular ones, going by what I (a non mac user) have heard about, are those that are there.

Am I the only one? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17540992)

Am I the only one that is really fucking sick of this apple bullshit? It's iPod this, PowerBook that...I mean christ, give it a fucking rest already. Apple is becoming the Starbucks of the computing industry; overpriced, bad taste, and flocked to by the ignorant masses.

Secret? (1, Insightful)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541020)

Everyone and their mother has been waiting for months, maybe even a year, for the official announcement of an iPhone. How exactly is this a secret?

Re:Secret? (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541248)

What were you ready to bet that it would be giant touchscreen operated (buttonless)? We expected that from new iPod, right? Did you expect it to run OSX? Did you expect it to be as slim as it is? etc.

Re:Secret? (1)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541358)

Well if we expected the new iPod to be touchscreen and we expected the new iPhone to be an iPod as well. Shouldn't the iPhone have been expected to be touchscreen? How many people have said time and again that this could possibly be a new Newton, which would naturally run a slimmed down OSX. The only real secret was when this would happen and even that wasn't so much of a secret as we all know Macworld is where new products get announced for the most part.

Newton 2 or 3? (0, Troll)

Joe U (443617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541028)

Is this the Newton v2 or v3?

Honestly, I can't remember, how many lives has the Newton had so far?

Not all that's secret (4, Insightful)

hirschma (187820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541072)

Seems that Apple is keeping the secrecy going... questions that I have:

- What processor?
- How much "system" RAM in the thing?
- Can users install their own software? Rumor is that you cannot - you have to buy it from Apple or Cingular.
- What bluetooth profiles are available?
- Can I get shell?

I have a feeling that this is not going to be a geek's toy.

jh

Re:Not all that's secret (2, Interesting)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541338)

- Can users install their own software? Rumor is that you cannot - you have to buy it from Apple or Cingular.

Wanna bet? Its a matter of time, before it gets hacked. This is too good a device to just leave it alone. Heck I'd even learn objective-C if I had to.

Re:Not all that's secret - s (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541616)

The initial users of this will be the Apple Inc. otaku and the bloody edge types who will buy one only to hack it hard&softwise. (Bless'them, their prybars & their knowledge of the obscure.)

Once set free this knowledge will lead to a firestore of devlopment.

Apple Inc is selling hardware here and software here.
It's OSX. It'll open, maybe like one of those funky aspirin bottles, but it'll open.

What's the name of that handwriting recoginition program that runs under OSX again?

Something to giggle about.

Re:Not all that's secret (5, Insightful)

amokk (465630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541418)

I'm pretty sure that the stunning overwhelming majority of cellphone users will not pass over the iPhone because they cannot get a shell. It'll be a geek's toy in the sense that it'll probably do more than any other cellphone out there today while simultaneously doing it in a more elegant way than has so far been conceived. It'll be a geek's toy in that it has a good web-browser installed from the get-go instead of some barely useable, slapped-together piece of crap that most cellphone users nowadays have come to accept as a "mobile browser." It'll be a geek's toy in the sense that it has some real horsepower behind it to do what many people would like to be able to do with their current phones.

I think what Apple has here is a "digital life manager" first that is incidentally also a cellphone. They will absolutely not miss the market of people who want to open a goddamn shell on their phone.

Re:Not all that's secret (1)

hirschma (187820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541522)

They will absolutely not miss the market of people who want to open a goddamn shell on their phone.

Hey, fanboy - I never said that it wouldn't sell, nor did I claim that my questions were important to the vast majority of potential buyers. They're not. I just pointed out that details that most Slashdot readers would be interested in are not available, that's all. Your response it totally irrelevant.

Oh, and if I can't put apps on it, I don't want it, no matter how elegant and well-designed it is.

Re:Not all that's secret (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541602)

I think what Apple has here is a "digital life manager"
Does it come with a buzzword dictionary & reality distortion field generator?

Re:Not all that's secret (1)

Echnin (607099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541894)

I wonder what makes the web browser so much more usable than other mobile browsers such as Opera. The main problem with mobile browsers is that the displays don't hold enough pixels to show much of the page as once. The screen resolution on the iPhone is good, but it's not great. It could have been a lot better. Here's a phone with a VGA display: that is twice as many pixels as the iPhone: http://www.vodafone.com/assets/files/en/VKK_NewsRe lease_904SH_sale_e.pdf [vodafone.com]

Here's an even better one, a "VGA+" display at 690x480. http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/product/foma/903i/n903i /topics_01.html [nttdocomo.co.jp] .

Yes, these are of course Japanese phones, and Japanese phones are for some reason much more advanced than western phones. When I was there for a year I had a phone with a QVGA display, that is half of the amount of pixels the iPhone has, and it was free with the plan, which was 2400 yen a month (about $20 I guess) with a one-year contract. That's with included minutes and traffic, which I for the most part didn't exceed. Oh, I should mention that this was three years ago. Now, I like Apple (I have a MacBook and an iPod as proof), but the iPhone didn't impress me much. :(

Re:Not all that's secret (-1, Troll)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541490)

And also, why do they think I'll pay $2000 for a fucking phone!

Re:Not all that's secret (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541624)

Or... $499 for the 4Gb model? Or $599 for the 8Gb version? Honestly, wtf did you get $2000 from, exactly?

Re:Not all that's secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541804)

He's factoring in the 2 year service agreement... As if you'd want a phone without phone service, or there's a lot of use for cell phones with no service. (OK, service-less phones, in the US, cans till dial 911, but that's an exception, and I doubt many prospective iPhone buyers are saying "Well, I just want to be able dial 911 in emergencies and make no other calls".)

Re:Not all that's secret (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541860)

It's actually only $1000 if you don't want the service. $600/8GB plus $350-400 typical PDA discount for 2 year commitment. And, of course, GP is a troll.

Re:Not all that's secret (3, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541544)

I have a feeling that this is not going to be a geek's toy.

Probably not. Which is so self-destructively stupid of Apple. I signed up on their developer network within minutes of seeing this thing, and was ready to plop down a few grand for a top-of-the-line Macbook to learn development on OS X until I read that reps at the show were saying that it wasn't going to support third-party software. As much as this device is going to sell, it will have zero presence in enterprise markets, and serious people will never buy one because no one is going to carry two phones. They could have owned the mobile market.

I don't know why I was surprised. They only implement software as a means to end - to sell hardware. And as illustrated by their name change, the trend for their hardware is going to be overpriced toys.

Re:Not all that's secret (4, Interesting)

xjerky (128399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541834)

"Not support" is not the same as "not run". I can see why Apple doesn't want to feild requests of random people trying to get particular apps running on it.

What CPU? (0)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541666)

I suspect that the CPU will be the new Intel Santa Rosa [wikipedia.org] CPU. The Santa Rosa is based on the Core architecture. The Apple iPhone will probably be the first phone with a dual core processor.

Like everyone else, I have no inside information at all, and this is merely speculation, but the performance of the device apeared to be pretty amazing.

Re:Not all that's secret (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541798)

Can users install their own software? Rumor is that you cannot - you have to buy it from Apple or Cingular.

There hasn't been any real information on this, but I've heard people complaining that it will be sold "as is", and that you won't be able to get new software on it at all. While nothing has really been said about it, it seems ridiculous to me. Jobs made a big deal of the idea that it's running OSX with support for Cocoa and Core Animation and such. He made a point of saying that the screen would allow people to think of new, clever interfaces and be able to add things that are unforeseen at the time the device is sold. These statements don't make a lot of sense unless they intend to encourage third-party development.

My guess is that the version of Xcode distributed with Leopard will have support for making iPhone applications and widgets. I suppose it's possible that Apple and Cingular would try to control installation, but it doesn't seem realistic. First, it would discourage 3rd party development. Second, these things tend to get hacked, and Apple knows it. The only reason to do it would be if Cingular insisted, but Cingular might just be happy to be gaining so many data-plan subscribers.

Re:Not all that's secret (1, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541852)

Just as important - what's the battery life like. If they expect you to plug this thing every day into a dock, then it stinks as a phone. Besides, I don't even see anything about it to justify the enormous price except for storage. Most of what it offers has been available for years in various forms (e.g. O2's XDA phone range).

Not Really.... (1, Redundant)

shirizaki (994008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541088)

It wasn't kept under wraps. We knew about it more than a year ago, we just didn;t know whay it looked like or who was involved. We didn't know any more about this product before it was revealed than we knew about the iPod, Zune, Macbooks, a new cell phone, or any other tech product before their releases.

How sad... (5, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541108)

As Macworld approached, dinners were missed, kids were not tucked in properly, and family plans were disrupted, especially over the holidays. And for what? "Sorry, that's classified" is not considered a satisfactory answer in many households when Mom or Dad misses the school play or the big wedding anniversary dinner.


I'm not sure any job is worth this, let alone producing a gadget.

Re:How sad... (3, Insightful)

iPodUser (879598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541600)

I agree, but its not like the employees weren't warned. All you need to do is watch "Pirates of silicon Valley" to know that working with Apple is a little bit more of a commitment. If you want a 9-5 with no innovation then go work for microsoft. Sure the iPhone team worked their asses off, but if this thing is as good as it looks in the demo shots, then this team can hold their collective head high for years to come.

Secret or not... (2)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541110)

It's the first Apple product I really wanted.

A full fledged PC OS on a PDA, the phone part is nice too...

If they make those things for Sprint, I'd get one.

Re:Secret or not... (1)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541704)

"the phone part is nice too..." Don't forget that this is IS an iPHONE. It is not the phone part....it it is the phone; as in the main thing it is supposed to do. Overall, cool design; however it is just one of those flashy looking PDA-s that it too cool for the business environment, and too complex for your average joe. and battery life is just borderline. no 3g, no HSDPA.... N91 is the same as this....and is 2 years old. I mean this is the flagship, and is 2 years behind. now please mod me as troll....

Forgot about Cisco? (3, Interesting)

Non-CleverNickName (1027234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541144)

With all of this recent iPhone talk, why haven't I seen a single mention about Cisco already trademarking the "iPhone" and creating their own iPhone a month or so ago?
Have Cisco and Apple settled their talks over the trademark usage?

Re:Forgot about Cisco? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541254)

No, it's in (one the the three) New York Times articles on the stupid thing. Stevie Wonderboy is talking to Cisco about buying out the trademark rights. I'm too lazy to go find the articles, but they are there for your edification and enjoyment.

Re:Forgot about Cisco? (1)

Non-CleverNickName (1027234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541372)

Oh yeah, I happened to stumble across an article or 2 yesterday, but out of the 1400 some-odd comments that were made in the original iPhone/Macworld thread yesterday, I don't recall seeing a single mention of Cisco (at least in none of the posts modded 3+).

Steve Jobs and Unforgiven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541150)

Steve Jobs directed his gaze towards representatives from the different phone companies and threatened to kill their families and their neighbors and their neighbors grandchildren if they ever talked...

Re:Steve Jobs and Unforgiven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541400)

Maybe he threatened to kill their kids, their wives, their parents and their parents' friends and to burn down the houses they live in, the stores they work in and kill people that owe them money. Is Steve Jobs is Keyser Soze?

Am i the only person surprised (2, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541170)

as the size of the thing? Thats a fairly hefty unit to try and pass off as a phone.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541262)

Ummm. Have you seen a Blackberry or Treo? The iPhone is not meant to compete with regular cell phones like RAZR and SLVR. It was meant to compete with the smart phones. It is clearly a better form factor than them.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541542)

Ummm what do you think Steve meant by "revolutionary mobile phone" or when he said "the killer app is making calls". That puts it squarely up against regualar mobile phones doesnt it. This device is clearly aimed at non business consumers who would not be typical blackberry or treo users.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (2, Insightful)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541748)

I think you need to reconsider that statement in light of the iPhone's price and feature set. It may be good at making phone calls, but it is in the same class of device as smart phones, not regular mobiles.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541684)

I don't see how it is better. In fact it is missing part of the puzzle.
IO!
Okay it has a touch screen. How do I put in peoples contacts, how do I SMS? If it is a smart phone where is the keyboard?
Is it going to do voice input?
Or handwriting?
The Treo and Blackberry have keyboards this doesn't I think there is more to this yet to come.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541790)

Text input is via a software keyboard. You can see it on Apple's iPhone page in some of the demos.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

carbon116 (792624) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541882)

Have you actually watched the keynote or read anything at all about the iPhone? The touch screen *is* the keyboard. It appears when you want to SMS someone. It syncs contacts with your Mac or PC. And I suspect you can enter contacts via the keyboard/touch screen.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (2, Interesting)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541878)

How does it compete with the Blackberry?

The iPhone seamlessly integrates with corporate exchange systems? Nope. Does it last for a week on one charge of the battery? Nope. A decent keyboard to type on with tactile feedback? Nope.

I was supporting a corporate Blackberry roll-out, and the management absolutely loved the devices (7230, 7290 models), they did exactly what they wanted - make calls (for the few that had that enabled), and keep on their e-mail without having to connect to a wifi hotspot. And the fact that most of them could go away from the office for a week and not have to take a charger was a massive bonus.

No, the iPhone doesn't directly compete with the Blackberry/Treo. Its more a competitor to the SE W950, which is a similar phone overall, but I think that I'd stick with the SE. Its cheaper, available NOW, based on a considerably more mature phone/mobile OS (Symbian).

Re:Am i the only person surprised (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541622)

Thats a fairly hefty unit to try and pass off as a phone.

Your mom keeps telling me the same thing; and I keep telling her that as difficult it may be due to its sheer size, she needs to put her lips on it so people can hear her clearly.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541750)

But is it smaller than a Nano + Phone? That's really who they are after, IMHO. If you can carry one device instead of two, that might make up for some bulk.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (1)

KingNaught (718536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541800)

Wow don't realy think you should have been modded -2 flamebait. They call it an Iphone so I think its reasonable to compare its size to other phones. It's not like the poster called it a HUGE piece of crap or anything. Me thinks theirs a few Apple zealots with some mod points to spare.

Re:Am i the only person surprised (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541854)

Do you really know how big it is? It's not that big. From the data people have been posting, it seems that the iPhone is smaller than a Motorola Q, and just a little bigger than a SLVR. For something with the iPhone's capabilities, I'd say that it's satisfactorily small.

iPhone (yes i hate iShit when typing) will fail (-1, Flamebait)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541176)

because it's fugly. Just like Nokia N-gage.

Re:iPhone (yes i hate iShit when typing) will fail (0, Flamebait)

eboot (697478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541272)

Lol mate, like your face! Seriously looks are subjective but the general consensus was that the n-gage was ugly. Whereas in this case the only consensus is... you. And in my opinion it looks great so now we have 50% of people in a sample size of two think the iPhone is drop dead gorgeous.

Re:iPhone (yes i hate iShit when typing) will fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541290)

Wow, I knew it was only a matter of time before one of the designers of the Zune posted!

Everyone knew, but nobody knew... (4, Interesting)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541184)

that the thing was going to rock.

After checking the feature set on Apple's web site, mark me down for at least two of those things.

My Treo looks positively anemic in comparison. It is enough to overcome my disgust for Cingular too.

I dont think anyone outside of Apple anticipated just how well recieved that phone would be.

Re:Everyone knew, but nobody knew... (1)

CodeArtisan (795142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541524)

My Treo looks positively anemic in comparison. It is enough to overcome my disgust for Cingular too.
You need to update your Treo then. I don't see much this can do that I haven't already been doing on my Treo for the last couple of years. Except my Treo screen wont' be covered in greasy finger prints after all the emails I write. I love how "controlling everything with your fingers" is a selling point ! I'll stick with my one-handed, 5-way nav button thanks.

And my unlimited internet access is $10 a month. I'll bet Cingular is at least 3 - 5 times more expensive.

Re:Everyone knew, but nobody knew... (1)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541584)

After checking the feature set on Apple's web site, mark me down for at least two of those things.

You sure are eager. Apple does have a history of being better than average at UI design, but I'm not going to believe the iPhone UI works until I try it: Apple isn't the first company to think about a stylus-less touch screen, it's just that others have decided it doesn't work... We'll see if Apple proves them wrong.

I'm a big fan of mobile internet, so I was eager to find out the specs of the phone. Sadly the first version is a disappointment: a screen that's too small for todays web and no 3G. I hope at least the latter gets fixed in future versions.
 

you have no idea if it'll rock or suck (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541818)

After checking the feature set on Apple's web site, mark me down for at least two of those things.

You want it because all you saw was what Apple wanted you to see. You have no idea how it'll actually perform as a phone in ways that matter. I don't care how sexy it animates the UI if it's a shitty phone.

All the fervor is akin to GM showing off a new sexy looking car, and people wanting it, having no idea if it'll actually be a good car or not.

  • How is reception/signal strength- cellular, Wifi, and Bluetooth?
  • Does it drop calls mysteriously? (lot of early smartphones did)
  • Does it explode in shards of expensive bits when dropped on the ground? (treos are famously fragile. Newtons were very tough. Will this be a Treo, or a Newton?)
  • How clueful will Cingular be in sales and tech support?
  • Will voicemails in the new "random access voicemail" system get deleted/disappear?
  • How does the touchscreen feel? Is it a real problem having no actual buttons for tactile use of the phone (say, when driving?)
  • Is the speakerphone loud enough/clear?
  • Is the touchscreen durable?
  • How well does it load pages over EDGE, which by all accounts is high-latency, slow, and already outdated? (I guarantee anything Steve did was over Wifi.)
  • Will it support 802.11N so that it doesn't knock an N network down to G wherever it goes? It'd be pretty stupid to have an N network if your iPhone on your desk knocks you down to G.

You won't know any of this until Apple gives units to users (or maybe SOME journalists who aren't too distracted by "OOOO, NEW SHINY APPLE TOY". You're an absolute fool if you "pre-order" this thing.

Biggest tech launches EVER (this year) (1)

EveLibertine (847955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541202)

"...goes inside one of the year's biggest tech launches." One of the years biggest tech launches? It's only been 10 days! And really, if the most interesting thing about your product is how you kept it secret, and it wasn't even that much of a secret, then you probably aren't doing so hot.

How they kept the secret (0, Redundant)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541218)

Microsoft should take a leaf out of Apple's book:

Microsoft: Microsoft does not comment on rumours or speculation

Us: It's real!!!

Apple: Nope, we're not making such a product

Us: Oh, OK then.

Re:How they kept the secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541468)

The difference is that MS promises 10 features in order for everyone to go 'wow' and freeze the market in hopes of what MS will come out with, and then the release 4 of the features but it's too late because everyine that had those 10 features available went out of business as everyone waited...and waited...and waited...for the MS vapour to become...smoke in an anticlamactic release

Apple promises 3 features and is very secreative about those, and then delivers 10 features, and everyone says "Wow!!" and means it

Not Kept For Very Long (0)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541260)

The sad part is that Apple used to be a lot better at keeping secrets. The big day would come, they'd trot out the new iPod or laptop or whatever, it would often be a near-complete surprise, and then they'd tell you that it's available for purchase that very day. The iPhone doesn't actually becaome available for six months.

Keeping something a secret until six months before release is much, much easier than keeping it a secret until release day.

Re:Not Kept For Very Long (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541398)

As soon as they filed for FCC approval for the iPhone, the cat would have been out of the bag, spoiling the surprise. I think that's why there is such a big lag time between the unveiling and the ship date.

Re:Not Kept For Very Long (3, Informative)

jaiyen (821972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541404)

Keeping something a secret until six months before release is much, much easier than keeping it a secret until release day.

Looks like that wasn't an option this time. If you read the TFA it says:

In the end, Apple decided to reveal the iPhone several months ahead of its official June launch because it could not keep the secret any more. Apple has to file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the permits needed to operate the iPhone, and once those public filings are made, Apple has no control over the release of that information. So, Jobs said, he made the decision to have Apple tell the world about its new phone, rather than the FCC.

Re:Not Kept For Very Long (3, Insightful)

iggy_mon (737886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541446)

i wouldn't mod you "Insightful", i'd mod you "Troll"

from the F*ing article...
In the end, Apple decided to reveal the iPhone several months ahead of its official June launch because it could not keep the secret any more. Apple has to file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the permits needed to operate the iPhone, and once those public filings are made, Apple has no control over the release of that information. So, Jobs said, he made the decision to have Apple tell the world about its new phone, rather than the FCC.

we need a new mod catagory, how about "-1, Didn't RTF"

Re:Not Kept For Very Long (1)

prattle (898688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541462)

The sad part is that Apple used to be a lot better at keeping secrets.

What do you mean "used to be"? In this one instance (the iphone), they had to release it 6 months prior to launch due to the fact that they have to file with the FCC and then the details would squirt out all over the place.

From TFA:

In the end, Apple decided to reveal the iPhone several months ahead of its official June launch because it could not keep the secret any more. Apple has to file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the permits needed to operate the iPhone, and once those public filings are made, Apple has no control over the release of that information. So, Jobs said, he made the decision to have Apple tell the world about its new phone, rather than the FCC.

Re:Not Kept For Very Long (2, Interesting)

Teese (89081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541650)

Apple said in one of the interviews (the Time one?), that they announced now because they had to get FCC certification, and one that happens it can't be kept secret anymore. And they'd rather announce it then let it get leaked by the FCC. They also mentioned that the certification process is months long.

Re:Not Kept For Very Long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541910)

The big day would come, they'd trot out the new iPod or laptop or whatever, it would often be a near-complete surprise, and then they'd tell you that it's available for purchase that very day.


really? This is how Sega handled the North American launch of the Saturn, which was one cause of the demise of the Saturn and Sega as a console manufacturer. Launch titles not ready, pissing off retailers not in on the launch, etc...

Hence no FCC approval (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541264)

It's interesting to see that Apple "gets it". They must have been planning on doing the iPhone for a long time - for there are legions of people who scour the FCC website regularly for new registrations to catch the latest and greatest cellphone to hit the market. And add to that the legions of Apple fans who probably scour the FCC website just incase there's something wireless going to hit the market.

That's why iPhone doesn't have approval (though I bet it already passes certification - they just haven't filed yet) - the instant it's filed, it's public information, and Apple hates that. (Especially since a lot of collateral gets filed - internal photos, external photos, user manuals, lab reports, etc).

Honestly, until now, I really didn't find anything that made me want a new cellphone (the one I have is great, but it's coming up in the years), so I wouldn't know what to get when it died. Guess I do now. It's pricey, but I paid more for my current smartphone...

And given how difficult it is to do a cellphone (very - carriers are very picky - if the color of the button is wrong... or if it has certain features like call timers or byte counters...), I wouldn't see Apple as being able to get one in since it has no experience. (I expected it to be some super-hyped rumor that someone started and everyone ran with it after being upset at how crappy their current phone was, or some half-assed thing as is typical reaction.). But I suppose GSM carriers are less strict than CDMA ones since you don't strictly need carrier approval to sell a GSM handset (just replace the SIM card).

Year's biggest tech launches? (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541276)

Do you think the year has already come to the end?
A year is quite long for technology advances and we are just at the very beginnings!
Well, iPhone is actually another cell phone.
It's by Apple, it has touch screen, plays MP3s and videos etc. etc.
Nonetheless is yet another cell phone [wikipedia.org] , a 20+ years old technology and dozens of cell phones can do the same things as the iPhone does!
I'd rather say that Vanu [vanu.com] 's (claims for) new radio technology could be more interesting.
Let's wait some more weeks before talijg about "year's biggest tech launches".

Actually, It's quite simple... (3, Funny)

Voltar (973532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541408)

Jobs keeps the Apple engineers locked up in the dungeon under Building 7 with little food or water (If someone ask for more, he's sold to Oracle...MS treats their employees too well) until George Lucas shows up and puts his "Window Dressing-No Substance" stamp of approval on the product and recommends Hayden Christenson to be the spokesman for the product *shudder*. Only then does the Marketing Department get wind of the product and start fine-tuning the Reality Distortion Field...er...Job's presentation.

Seriously. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17541452)

You tools need to wake the fuck up. Every single apple "i" product I have used is completely shit. The interfaces suck, they scratch easy, and are highly overpriced.

I can assure you that if microsoft or creative or sony had released something that functioned the same way with the same seet of features and even contained ZERO DRM AND played your iTunes-DRM'd mp3's, people would shit all over it because it isn't ***gasp*** apple.

You know what apple is useful for? eating before working out. That's fucking it. Braindead consumers make me want to stab things.

Re:Seriously. (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541534)

Actually, why am I hiding behind AC? No reason for it.

This is me. I made the parent post. Become my enemy, mod me down, I don't care.

You are still an ignorant consumer and still make me want to stab things.

Re:Seriously. (4, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541662)

You're right on two out of the three. They do scratch easily and they are overpriced. You may not be a fan of the interface (I myself am not an apple zealot when it comes to UI), but you'd have a hard time convincing anyone that the user interface is bad. Look at 95% of the other products on the market. Apple consistently has easier to use, more intuitive UI's than practically all of it's competitors. This is Apple's strength and they play off of this constantly with all of their products. That's like saying Nintendo makes crappy videogames. You may not like the hardware, you may not like the games, but you'll have a hard time convincing people that they make bad games. That's their bread and butter. They use it to push their hardware.

Re:Seriously. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541700)

Rio Carbon and the Rio Karma. Two mp3 players that are WAY older than the iPod, and MUCH MUCH easier to use.

Re:Seriously. (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541832)

I never said there were no mp3 players with better interfaces than the iPod (I think my Sony Vaio mp3 player has the best interface), the main arguement was that Apple's UI isn't a bad UI and that it's better than most of it's competition.

Also, as a former Rio owner I felt the interface was clunky. Not hard to use, just clunky and bland.

Re:Seriously. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541876)

Using a Rio, I can select my music by not even LOOKING at the damn thing. It's that easy to memorize where you are in the system and where things are located.

How does that constitute as being clunky?

Oh well, to each his own...I guess I just have a problem navigating using a mutilated nipple.

Yet Another Phone (or PDA), huh? (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541592)

Yet Another Phone, huh? The secret isn't so much how they kept this thing "under wraps" (as if) but how Apple is getting various media outlets to flog what appears to be Yet Another Phone (or PDA) as the "next generation", "innovative", etc.

At $500 a pop it may be Sony-ing it's way out of its target market too.

Does it have a **GPS** ? (0, Troll)

stoicio (710327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17541676)

I'm sure this is a nice device but, unless
it has a GPS in it that can be programmed
around, this phone is as useless as any
other geographically crippled handheld.

The ability to look up maps on google earth
is nice but, unless you actually *know*
where you are, you may as well be reading
comic book for directions.

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