What prelaunch coverage of original iPhone can tell us about today’s coverage of Apple’s tablet

“Remember the very first iPhone–the one that sold for $249, had an iconic click wheel, a cool slide-out keypad, and a unique two-battery design–and which ran on Apple’s very own nationwide wireless network? No, not the iPhone that Steve Jobs unveiled at Macworld Expo San Francisco on January 9th, 2007. It didn’t have any of those features. I’m talking about the one that was an ever-changing figment of the collective imagination of bloggers reporters, analysts, and others who wrote endlessly about the iPhone in the months before anyone outside of Apple knew much of anything–including whether or not the phone existed at all,” Harry McCracken writes for Technologizer.

“I’ve been thinking about that era of blissful ignorance lately,” McCracken writes. “Coverage of Apple’s supposedly-upcoming tablet device (allegedly to be known–maybe–as iSlate) is building to a similar crescendo.”

McCracken writes, “I revisited much of the early iPhone scuttlebutt for this article. Herewith, choice bits from a bunch of old stories, with summaries of what they got right and wrong…and then some overall thoughts. The art sprinkled through this story consists of concept iPhones rendered by fans and other interested bystanders prior to the real iPhone’s debut. I’m entertained by them all–but please note that none look even a little bit like the phone that Steve Jobs brandished at Macworld Expo.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. I like this article more when I saw that McCracken included an honest critique of his own prediction. (Or at least, he fessed up that he was smart enough to avoid getting too specific.)

    Too many writers, of all sorts of political leaning, keep spewing out the same garbage without ever looking back at if they’ve ever been right or not.

  2. Myself and a few others on here were closer than the entire Internet collective. We had the “surfing the net, while emailing and texting, all while on a voice call.” No one got the hardware even remotely close other than a “touch” interface. This time though, there are just to many unknowns, you have the PA Semi buy, all the new map stuff, of course the rumors. Now factor in all the different people in so many industries claiming to know. I won’t even guess. What I will do is try and have my new site up around the first to follow all the action on all of the sites. No promises, but I will try.

  3. Great article, awesome pre-iPhone iPhone mock-ups, with so many click-wheels and sliding keypads…

    I wonder to what extent Apple leaks false information, not only to “journalists” and “analysts”, but also internally to identify and punish leakers. And I bet there’s a team of comedy writers concocting the latest “exclusive” for Cringely et al even as we speak.

  4. I remember that ‘iPhone’ as a _name_ was not hailed as much of something to look forward to, back in the day. Let’s face it, it ain’t that inspired. But it is obvious, and it did turn out to be the name after all. iSlate is also obvious, also not too popular….

  5. Great article. Makes you realize that all the rumors and “insights” about Apple’s next product are bullshit.

    We simply will not know what Apple is releasing until Steve Jobs steps on stage and shows us.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.