Sunday, September 02, 2007

A prediction of mine from way back when ...

As I was going through the archives ... I noticed this post of mine giving my thoughts on some rumors from Friday Dec 17, 2004:

• Apple iPhone ( high probability - I have been made aware by my own sources in Moto[rola] that this HAS been "on the table" for some time - I also think THIS is the reason Apple is partnering with flash media [suppliers] )

I saw a prototype iPhone in August of last year (2006). On the back of the phone was the name "iPhone" - I think I am one of the only sources that maintained, even though Cisco was suing for the name, that the Apple cell phone would indeed be called "iPhone".

However, the prototype I saw looked like this, but was black:

* Photo courtesy of slashphone

I live in Greenville, South Carolina in the United States - this area has the highest cell phone penetration in the country per capita. It was logical for a "test phone" to be here. While this is completely unrelated (I think) - a high ranking iPhone executive is from my area.

Now that everything has been released, I feel a bit more comfortable releasing some details that I knew before the launch of the iPhone:

1) I knew 100% of it's existence in November of 2004 and that several designs had been submitted to various manufacturers - including Motorola. However, I also knew of a deteriorating Apple / Motorola relationship with one executive revealing to me that "Apple may go with IBM entirely for PowerPC production and end all Motorola partnerships". I was told that the RAZR & SLVR were actually designed to be the ROKR and that the ROKR was released ON PURPOSE so as not to steal iPod sales. I was also told that the whole naming campaign at Motorola for the RAZR, ROKR, SLVR, KRZR was actually designed as a "four letter competition for name coolness" like the iPod has. That strikes me as quite interesting that companies even try to compete with Apple for the naming of their products.

2) I knew of a small conspiracy that would involve Apple test marketing an iTunes phone under the "ROKR" branding from Motorola. It was to gauge interest in iTunes integrated with a cellphone, not sell phones. It was also to gauge interest in iTunes integration with NON-APPLE devices.

3) By August 2006, I had seen 2 prototypes ... one from a local cell phone provider executive (NOT AT&T) and one from a very large Internet Service Provider executive. (Neither of these phones were theirs, nor were they beta testing them, they had just obtained possesion of them for a few days) Neither of these prototypes looked like the final product. One even had a physical keypad/keyboard - both had a trackpad or "trackpad area" that integrated the multi touch interface - the screen itself of the prototypes did not have any multitouch capability. The 1st prototype had a keyboard appear on the screen and you "navi-scrolled" to the appropriate key and tapped. The 2nd prototype had the ability to "air guitar numbers" - meaning you could dial a number by forming the numbers on the trackpad area. (I'm not 100% sure that either of these prototypes actually had a working GSM/GPRS radio in them ... I will say that the person that had them wasn't even on the GSM/SIM CARD type of network.)

4) In November of 2006, I had contact with 2 of the large iPod accessories manufacturers where they tried to "pump me for information" regarding the iPhone. At this point I knew what I had seen was so top secret that not even two of Apple's biggest partners had seen what I had seen. I also knew that a product launch was imminent. My insistence that the phone would be called "iPhone" actually helped Apple ... because my maintaining that it would be called "iPhone" actually made people skeptical that I knew anything about the phone at all.

5) The third prototype I saw in November 2006 was completely black with no touchpad, it was slimmer than the current iPhone and had a separate "touch area" - but looked a lot like the final product. The prototype also had a plastic screen, but had a piece of "protector material" over the face of the phone.

6) I took a job with AT&T to get as much insider knowledge and as much pre- release information about the phone as I could after I saw it at MacWorld Expo 2007 in January. That didn't prove to be very fruitful for me in my quest for knowledge because apparently even AT&T was left FAR OUTSIDE the loop for this device in order to maintain security. If you will look back ... just about everything that came out between January 10 and June 29 2007 that was shared with AT&T/Cingular came out on the internet. This is very telling of the reasons Apple chose to keep AT&T out of the loop.

I do believe that Kevin Rose, founder of DIGG did see an iPhone - his predictions were almost spot on (with the prototypes I saw). As you can see (above) Slashphone had caught an early glimpse of advertising campaigns that were being considered for the iPhone.

Apple really should give me kudos for keeping all that I found out about this phone under wraps as well as I did. I could have published pictures of these prototypes and I could have definitely made a LOT OF MONEY selling and spreading my knowledge about the iPhone. Alas ... this site isn't about my fame or my fortune ... I just enjoy writing ... I would never publish anything here at the expense of another business nor would I post anything sensational just to get hits.

I have to admit ... since the beginning of 2005 I was OBSESSED with this phone ... I wanted to be one of the first to have it. My cell phone is my most important tool in my life. I've owned just about every high end phone ever made and none have come close to the integration and ease of using the iPhone - I knew it would be that way before I even owned one.

My interest in this phone also gave me insight into just how much rumor sites just make up what they post and rely on completely unreliable sources. With a few key contacts and a matter of "forced coincidence" I was able to find out for sure if Apple was indeed releasing a cellphone and if it would indeed be as revolutionary as the Apple ][ and the Macintosh.

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