Pundits who got it wrong about iPhone explain why – or deny that they did

“When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in January 2007, not everyone came away thinking that he held in his hand the future of the mobile phone,” Paul McNamara reports for Network World. “In fact, before the iPhone hit retail stores on June 29 — five years ago Friday — pundits had written scathing assessments that predicted the iPhone would be a failure, a flop, a messy egg on the forehead of Apple and Jobs.”

McNamara reports, “Over the past few days, I’ve reached out to some of these prognosticators via email and asked: “What do you have to say for yourself?” The good sports replied — including a colorful mea-culpa-tinged, Apple-bashing rant from John (‘Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone’) Dvorak.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Dvorak’s excuse primarily blames Apple for forcing him to opine about a device he had not held rings hollow.

Plenty of people in the same situation got it right, including our own SteveJack who wrote the following – without ever having touched an iPhone – on January 9, 2007, the every same day that Jobs unveiled the brand new device:

Apple really only botched one thing with the iPhone – its name… Apple’s “iPhone” isn’t really a phone at all. It’s really a small touchscreen Mac OS X computer, a Mac nano tablet, if you will. Here’s how misnamed the iPhone is: Some people are complaining that Jobs didn’t spend enough time on the Mac in his keynote! Folks, iPhone is not only a Mac, it’s the most radical new Mac in years! What’s to stop Apple from making a 12-inch model (and larger, and smaller) one of these days (use the headset for the phone, please) and calling it a Mac tablet?

Read more: The only thing really wrong with Apple’s iPhone is its name – January 9, 2007

How we reacted to Dvorak’s original piece is here: Dvorak trolls: ‘Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone’” target=”_blank”>Dvorak trolls: ‘Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone’

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. i have 2 iphones, ipad 2 and MBP in the house

    every new apple product sucks the first version
    iphone sucked the first year. $600 and it could only read personal email and surf the internet. MS Active Sync and app store is what made it cool.

    MBA was overpriced but looked cool

    ipad with iOS 3 was a piece of junk with no multitasking

    original ipod with only Mac support, yawn. bought mine as soon as there was a windows version that worked on USB. i did use mine with firewire for a while but only because i had the extra card

    1. ‘Sucks’ is strong language for revolutionary products, especially based on somewhat flimsy reasoning. Your rationale for the original iPod “sucking”? It was Mac only and FireWire. Yeah, your bias is showing.

      None of these original products were as full-featured as their later versions. But that is not a big surprise to anyone. If you want to disparage someone, go after the myriad of Apple copiers who can’t even get it right after dissecting Apple’s examples of design and integration success.

      Your opinion is not worth much to me.

    2. Its all part of the Apple plan. Bring out a revolutionary device – or new take on an older concept – and by the time (1-2years) the competition has caught up, Apple has added the second wave of features which makes version 1 of the competition look under-powered and lacking . The result is Apple secure the lions share of the revenue

    3. It was worth the price of admission for visual voicemail alone. I can’t believe how that one feature (that we now take for granted) completely changed the usability of mobile phones.

  2. What John Dvorak wrote about the new world created by Apple was unmemorable crap; not worth revisiting.

    Another Dvorak, in 1893, also saw a New World, but what he wrote about it—Symphony No. 9 in E Minor—is still performed today, to thunderous applause.

    1. When Dvorak says it is bad, it is usually good and vice versa.

      I remembered he said cable modems were destined for failure and ISDN was the way to go. How did that guy ever get a column?

  3. I watched, and waited, while friends bought the original iPhone. I saw it up close in the Apple store and in the hands of my friends but never felt compelled to buy it. I thought it was too limiting for what it cost to buy. It looked revolutionary but had nothing that particularly attracted me. I was using a Palm Treo then and thought that Palm outperformed the iPhone, the first generation at least.

    It wasn’t until the third generation, the iPhone 3GS, that caught my eye. I had friends demoing it to me and the app ecosystem finally turned it into a usable handheld computer. But I thought the 3GS screen looked too blurry. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 on stage with the retina display and sleek glass encased exterior, I knew I had to buy it.

    I’ve since upgraded to the 4S and love its speed and fluidity. The battery issue has been completely eliminated with iOS 5.1.1, and I get a full day and a half’s use out of it. But to be honest, if the iPhone hadn’t evolved with the app store ecosystem I don’t think I would have made the switch.

    And so I think the next evolution, the iPhone 5, should take us to the next level 4.5″ screen as I feel that it’s a limiting factor staring into a tiny 3.5″ screen for movies and videos.

    1. … though two of my kids have them. Of course, I don’t have an Android, either. Still have the dumbest phone on offer.
      Sure, the iPhone is the best smart phone for most of the people who need – or just want – a smart phone, that isn’t me. But, thanks for a great product!

    2. You mentioned “But I thought the 3GS screen looked too blurry.”

      I just curious. Too blurry compared to what? I always thought the iPhone screens looked great. At least until Apple released the “retina” displays.

    3. I’m just curious. You wrote “But I thought the 3GS screen looked too blurry.”

      Too blurry compared to what? I always thought the iPhone screens looked great. At least until Apple released the “retina” displays.

  4. There was actually an article titled “The iPhone: Apple’s First Flop”???

    Um, I’m pretty sure Apple’s first flop was the Apple III, and there were many more after that.


  5. “And so I think the next evolution, the iPhone 5, should take us to the next level 4″ screen, as I feel that it’s much better looking into a 9″ screen on an iPad for movies and videos.”
    There, fixed that for ya!

  6. I’m sorry but, no excuses. ANYONE who watched the original presentation with Steve Jobs and didn’t instantly know what a huge hit the iPhone would be shouldn’t be writing books and articles on computers most certainly shouldn’t be giving anyone advice on future technology.

    It was plane as the nose on my face for anyone who was there in person or watched the video. I think that was the problem with Dvorak, he never watched it. He only read/heard about it. – But that didn’t stop him from giving his ignorant opinion to anyone he could find.

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