iPhone Prediction Confirmed

UPDATE: Uhhh, thanks for the semi-false alarm Engadget and Forbes! Now that we’ve had a few days to absorb things, updated thoughts are available here — iPhone Update

Way back on July 25th, I told you Apple was coming out with a cell phone. This was before any preliminary Motorola announcements, before any recent rumor mill gossip, and a full four months before Russell Beattie’s and Ross Mayfield’s great articles on the subject. I even told you the exact month: January of 2005.

Lo and behold, via today’s announcement in Forbes magazine (which was via this article at Engadget), Apple has confirmed that not only will they be releasing a full-fledged Apple-inspired phone with Motorola circuitry, but it will likely be shown off in January to an eagerly-awaiting public at MacWorld Expo.

I, personally, can’t wait.

While I am very excited about the official announcement, the revelation that it will be a “mid-range” device probably means that I won’t dump my Treo for it. Once you’ve tasted the sweetness that is the high-range, full-featured phone, it’s tough to imagine going back. However, we all know that Apple is not in the business of producing anything “mid-range”, so I’d bet a large sum of money that this initial iPhone release is just the tip of the iceberg. Might we see a “PowerPhone” shortly thereafter? We most certainly will. The only question is when. Want another prediction? Same time next year.

So what is the moral of today’s iPhone announcement?

  • I am all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-sure… at least when it comes to technology predictions. :)
  • Where there’s a cool product to be made, rest assured Apple will make it.

Now if only Steve Jobs could get over his hatred for television, maybe we’d see a damned Media Center Mac already. I know I’d pay a healthy sum of money for one.

Note: The photo illustration above is obviously not representative of what the Apple phone will look like. It’s the product of two-minutes worth of Photoshop work.

47 comments on “iPhone Prediction Confirmed”. Leave your own?
  1. Turnip says:

    Note: The photo illustration above is obviously not representative of what the Apple phone will look like. It’s the product of two-minutes worth of Photoshop work.

    Thank god!

    Joke, although I do hope they put in a little more than 2 minutes to the design ;-).

  2. Jeff Croft says:

    Would you like someone else to kiss your ass too, or have you pumped your ego hard enough by yourself? :)

    (Because if you’re looking for someone else to kiss your ass, there’s always Scrivs.)

  3. * silently dreams of a clickwheel powered mobile phone…

  4. Greg Hinch says:

    Wait a clickwheel powered phone…isn’t that just a rotary-dial phone? :P

  5. You’re 100% on your predictions. I say, quit while you’re ahead.

  6. Chris Decker says:

    I can’t believe I’m even reading this post; maybe it’s time to unsubscribe.

    You show me ONE article that says Apple is creating a phone from scratch and having Motorola manufacture it…just ONE. I guarantee once you do your research you’ll realize you were both cocky and wrong about the “iPhone”. Would I love to see such a thing from Apple? HELL YEAH.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but from what’s been reported so far, Apple and Motorola are collaborating to allow Motorola phones to play music from the iTMS.

  7. Mike D. says:


    Since when are all available details about future Apple products available in articles? You’re severely missing the point of all this. Of COURSE Motorola is doing the circuitry here. You think Apple has the skillset to do just whip up the innards of a cellphone? You don’t learn that overnight, and besides, Apple is not (and never was) in the chipset business.

    Here are the points one should take from this announcement:

    a) Apple has finally officially recognized mobile phones as a place they want to be.

    b) Apple has a solid partner in Motorola who can produce the cogs of an Apple phone which Apple can’t (namely chipsets and core OS).

    c) The phone which the announcement speaks of will be Apple branded (or at the very least, Apple co-branded).

    d) By entering this market, Apple begins to exert their influence on not only the industrial design of the devices but the user experience and operating system as well. And that is what we all want. I couldn’t care less who makes the chipset. IBM makes the chipsets in Macintoshes but they are still Macintoshes.

    Re-read the Forbes article again if you want some more evidence of exactly how much Apple is involved in the design, sales, and marketing of this device.

    What isn’t clear, as you point out, is how “Apple-like” this first device will be. But this is the first device… the first step towards what everyone is so excited about.

  8. Chris Decker says:


    Let’s just see how this turns out, then we’ll argue some more ;) If I had my way Apple would have done this a long time ago; my post on August 8th of this year discussed an “iPhone” (yes, you beat me to it).

    It’s an interesting read. I quote an interview with Steve Jobs where he says the thing he’d most like to do that he hasn’t yet done is a PDA (the Newton doesn’t count?). Apparently he knows that PDA sales are stagnant, because let’s face it, you don’t want to carry a phone AND your PDA; they’re so inter-related that they need to be combined.

  9. Sean S says:

    While the “announcement” has the potential of being super-exciting, I think (we) the Mac-community have over-exaggerated the extent of what this means. Let’s get some things straight:

    1. Apple is not developing a mobile phone.
      … they are assisting Motorola in developing an application to run on a Motorola phone.
    2. Apple’s influence on the phone’s interface, design, and performance will (unfortunately) be limited.
      We’ll be lucky to see an Apple logo (or iTunes logo?) on the phone’s casing.
    3. Convergence can only go so far.
      Let’s assume Apple and Motorola nail this one and we get the phone we’ve always dreamed of. Bluetooth, pictures, video, music via iTunesMobile, and it makes/receives phone calls … now are we expected to ditch our beloved iPods? Hell no, we won’t go. We’ve got just gigabytes worth of songs on our 20 and 40GB iPods, and there ain’t no way we’re giving them up for a mere (what?) two albums worth of music. It’s a bummer, but we’ll stick to carrying two devices.

      So we buy the phone, just for the sake of saying we have it. (And sure, we get to show it off to our office buddies and watch them drool.)

    The bottom line here: Let’s just admit we’re excited for no other reason than because Apple’s involved. After all, if this phone is anything like what Motorola’s cranking out already, they’re gonna have a hard time (even with iTunesMobile, or whatever) converting me (and apparently you, too, Dave) from our current kick-ass phones.

  10. Kevin Navia says:

    I knew it this phone would happen.

    Gah! I dun’t like Motorola as far as its current line-up of features or interfaces (as I’m a Sony Ericsson user) but probably Motorola will learn a lot from them (Apple), a lot!.


    There is something wrong with your comments display Mike, they’re spaced randomly far apart in Firefox 1.0 on Win2k.

  11. Brady White says:

    Hell, make a toaster and throw the apple logo on it and I’m sure I’d buy it just for the looks. I’m sure the iPhone will make a killing as does the rest of their products. Usability, functionallity, and style are what Apple does best

  12. Vaska says:

    Oh man. And then there is this…

    I can throw a little more gas onto the Apple phone rumors. I was on a train this weekend, watching an episode of the Simpsons on my Treo600. The gentleman sitting across from me asked me how I liked the phone. I told him I loved it and we began a tech conversation. He mentioned that he worked for Motorolla. I told him I was a Macintosh consultant, and then he dropped the bomb! “I’ve got a scoop for you”, he teased.

    Apparently some of his associates had been telling him earlier in the week about an Apple branded phone that had been circulating around the office at Motorolla. The phone had Motorolla components, but most certainly had Apple brandings on it. He said that he did not have a chance to handle the phone, but that his direct supervisor did. The phone was “sleek and sexy” in her words. He mentioned that there was talk amongst the people who had seen it that itunes and iphoto would factor into this device somehow. They also said that the phone had a slot on the top (media slot?) as well as what looked to be a usb 2.0 port on the bottom.

    Here’s the link

  13. Chris Hester says:

    “The photo illustration above is obviously not representative of what the Apple phone will look like. It’s the product of two-minutes worth of Photoshop work.”

    No way! That would have taken me hours! (And probably a 3D application.) It simply looks superb.

  14. Bah – I was predicting an Apple mobile back in April, a full two months before Mystic Mike… ;)

  15. Ed. says:

    I quote an interview with Steve Jobs where he says the thing he’d most like to do that he hasn’t yet done is a PDA (the Newton doesn’t count?). Apparently he knows that PDA sales are stagnant, because let’s face it, you don’t want to carry a phone AND your PDA; they’re so inter-related that they need to be combined.

    It looks like the current plans are to merge the mobile phone and the portable music player. I suppose when the prices come down, the PDA could be merged into there as well — but for now, give people the applications.

    Do we keep the camera in the mix or is that a fad?

    “Everything to everyone” didn’t work for websites: Google beat the portal craze. But handheld devices are a different beast. On the Web, switching from site to site is a click. With handhelds, switching from device to device involves carrying them.

  16. Dustin Diaz says:

    Apple already owns you, now a cellphone?

  17. Paul Larson says:

    Any idea what networks it will work on? Sprint? Cingular? Some newfangled Apple carrier?

  18. spacin says:


    There is something wrong with your comments display Mike, they’re spaced randomly far apart in Firefox 1.0 on Win2k.

    I was having the same problem (same specs) – looks fixed now though.

  19. Andrew says:

    It’s still showing up with me, after the first 5 comments it gets all messed up. XP Home / firefox 1.0

  20. Jason says:

    Same problem here.

  21. Colin says:

    yup i have the problem too.

    As far as the phone, routers and other companies are now being suied for releasing such information suposadly.

  22. Mike: As much as I hate to say it, I think the article doesn’t point to Apple making an iPhone (in the same way as an iPod).

    The reason being that I think Apple doesn’t want a piece of the mobile market, it wants a piece of the ringtone market. As Motorola has been trying market it’s phones by focusing on it’s ‘superior’ ringtone ability. This is why I see the iTunes integration as a move in the ringtone market for Apple, not the mobile market itself.

    PS. Got the spacing prob too, in FF1.0. Workaround: Increase and then normalize the font-size.

  23. Mike D. says:

    Everyone: Would someone please send me a screenshot of this weird comment thing people are reporting? I can’t reproduce it on any Firefox browsers but enough people are reporting it to where I’m sure it’s a legitimate issue. Thanks.

    Akaxaka: The “ringtone market” is an illusion and Apple is not interested in it for that and other reasons. It was a temporary economy created by the lack of file-pulling abilities in phones. Nowadays, emerging phones can pull midi and MP3 files from wherever they’d like, for no fee, and thus the market is collapsing on itself. Furthermore, even if it weren’t collapsing on itself, there is very little money in it for Apple. While I agree that this first phone will not be as “Apple-like” as the iPod, remember what the birth of the iPod really entailed: Apple wanted to make a device, they couldn’t make it themselves, so they took an OS designed by Pixo, imposed their industrial design and interface principles on the product, and boom… there’s your iPod. There is no reason the same cannot and will not be done with Motorola.

  24. I have to comment a few things in the article and the comments, having worked with mobile operators and cellphone corporations for several years:

    1. Almost any larger company has some sort of ability to design and deliver a mobile phone. There are several ODM (original design manufacturer) companies that will happily design a phone according to your spec. For example, several Ericsson phones were designed by Microcell in Oulu, Finland. Microsoft phones were manufactured in Taiwan. All you need is money and a partner. So, Apple wouldn’t need Motorola for circuitry.
    2. Mobile phone business is volume driven. If you can’t make at least 10% marketshare worldwide, the business is not flying that high. Nokia is currently a gorilla in the market and it’s planning to stay there. I have high confidence in them, regardless of this year stumbling. It takes a lot of money to enter this game and competition is really though compared to MP3 player markets.
    3. To perform in the market, you have to understand both the operators and the subscribers. If your phone kills operator business, they don’t take it on the shelves. In most countries, the operators pay most of the price of the phone. If operator doesn’t sponsor a phone, most people don’t buy it. Mobile operators are in control and billing business. They will fiercily oppose everything that would erode controlling or the ability to bill.
    4. USA is currently only third largest market (after Asia and Europe) and will most probably drop to fourth and maybe even fifth after South America and Africa. Mobile phones will become a commodity and then only number of people counts. Both USA and Europe will be small markets in the future, albeit not in next ten years or so.
    5. Mobile entertainment will most probably be a huge market in the near future. Currently most profits are made, believe it or not, with ringtones. If one or two tech savvy people can transfer MP3 songs as ringtones, it doesn’t automatically mean that most of the people are able or willing to do the same. I doubt that operators would allow one of their best money making machines be destroyed with new capabilities in devices.

    As a final note, I am excited to see new players entering to the markets, as only competition keeps innovation going strong.

  25. Charles-Henri Malbert says:

    When you type iphone.org …..you are redirected to Apple.com page. This might give a clue.

  26. Mike D. says:

    Janne: Excellent points. Thanks for posting.

    1. Agreed about multiple locations being able to produce phone circuitry… however, experience counts in this industry and Motorola not only has more experience than anyone else, but they also have 20 years of experience working with Apple. I agree that Apple could have partnered with someone else, but this partnership just makes the most sense.

    2. Agreed that volume is key, however, part of this is because most phones in the market are not perceived to be much better than others. As you say, unless a phone is dirt cheap (or free), people are not likely to use it. Apple has a chance to change this, however, just as Palm did with the Treo. Palm is making tons of money on the Treo and yet they don’t have 10% of the market. The reason is that it is a truly differentiated product and can be sold for full price, with decent margins. I’m not sure the initial Apple/Moto phone will be as differentiated as the Treo, but future releases will.

    3. I look at this phone as a possible boon to carriers. If Apple can drive the adoption of a certain phone that works with a certain carrier, that carrier will be eager to support it. The idea that people will ever download large amount of music over GSM or CDMA networks is DOA in my opinion and I think carriers will eventually realize that.

    4. You’re right, and to a certain extent most mobile phones are already a commodity. The high-end of the market, however, is not. And that’s why I’d like to see Apple/Moto’s product focus start at the mid-range and move up to the high-end.

    5. Again, the “ringtone market” is quite temporary. I work for a company that probably makes more off ringtones than any company in the world, so I have a bit of insight into this. I don’t expect this to be a market at all in the next few years.

    Thanks again for the comments Janne. I think we agree on a lot of what you say… I might just be a little too optimistic about this… who knows.

  27. Tim G says:

    I’m ditto with the spacing issues between comments – both Firefox and Netscape (I.E. and Opera look fine, although your “select a theme” feature doesn’t seem to be functioning properly). FF is see all the comments space; Netscape has the first two grouped together and then the spacing hits.

    What are you going to predict next? iAuto?

  28. Tim G says:

    Yi, the point of a comments preview is to edit! Sorry. That last sentence is supposed to begin, “In FF, I see all the comments spaced….”

  29. Brant Collins says:

    I use a Sony phone that has Bluetooth to sync with my Powerbook. It acts like a limited PDA. I have and ipod mini too, but I only have so many pockets. I just want a small device that can keep me productive, also if it would open my car doors that would be cool too :)

  30. Shig says:

    The only problem with Apple releasing the iPhone is their choice of partner… I mean come one… Motorola!? Name one phone that Motorola have released which has been fit to compete with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia? The GUI’s are crap, the design is crap… they’ve never even heard of ergonomics and often have to resort to gimicky marketing ploys like… oh I don’t know… having the phone swivel open instead of sliding… even though it made the phone structurally weak.

    On the flip side, I suppose that Apple could inject their own design genius into a colaborative venture, but it will still be full of horrific motorola-isms.

    Does anyone actually believe that Apple are going to release a phone though.. it seems a dangerous venture into an already crowded market.

  31. ABC says:

    Shig, és mesmo grunho…

  32. nanobubble says:

    When is Apple going to take the iPod, the iPhone and the iPDA, with standard bluetooth and wifi, and make a device I wouldn’t hesitate to buy for once?

    It’s either that or whatever PalmSource can do with its aquisition of China MobileSoft for the next line of Treos.

    One hedges the bet on the other.

  33. nanobubble says:

    “Name one phone that Motorola have released which has been fit to compete with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia?”

    That’s called business. Collaboration comes from desire, and moto is a rock solid company that doesn’t make sexy products that people want. But they do make very well functioning ones. Get it yet?

  34. Keith says:

    I can’t help feeling that the way to go is for Apple to buy palm to get their hands on the Treo.

    The combination of a phone, PDA and iTunesMobile on a device like that makes a great deal of sense to me, especially with large capacity SD cards on the go.

    This way Apple could gain a huge control over the converged mobile market having the hardware, OS and music download.

    Please Apple… work your magic on the already good Palm!

  35. Chris Stevens says:

    Well, jackass. No phone yet. Nice prediction. <censored /> Cuz you’re wrong.

    (Editor’s Note: Patience, oh foul-mouthed one. I predicted back in July that Apple would get into the phone business… people didn’t believe it. So far, “the phone business” has only crystalized into the Motorola/iTunes partnership. I expected more and I continue to expect more. If you make bold, specific predictions like this, you are bound to misfire on some dates.)

  36. Neil says:

    Ok I am in New Caledonia. and I pick up an iPod magazine in French and the last page is an advertisment for an iphone. it clearly says “sony ericsson” with a small clickwheel and it is white and has a screen graphic that looks like OSX with a dock etc… and since it is in French, I ask the man at the counter if this is an ad for a real phone or just an example and he reads is closely and then says yes it si a real phone. and the website listed is http://www.iphone.org and i rush home and check and that address takes me to the apple site but no phone. so i do a google search and get this thread… I want the phone i saw in that magazine!!!

  37. Paul says:

    Has anyone heard some recent news about a real Apple iPhone ?

    I DONT mean the one from motorola, but the one that Apple is roumored to be producing on their own ?

    If this were true, I would be the first one to buy it !!!

  38. Stu says:

    Found you via A List Apart. Went through your Apple catogories, and just had to post a comment in light of the release of the iPhone. How cool is the real thing? I’m in the UK, we have a long wait for another Apple innovation as ever. Can’t wait though.

    Love your journal by the way – I’m a designer in the London recruitment industry (does that count?). Love your work.

  39. JD on MX says:

    Apple phone?

    Apple phone? Forbes has some tentative statements from staff. Stuff that caught my eye: realization that phone volume is at the lower price levels; positioning as “iPod accessory”; device’s connection to computers and potential clash with service provi…

  40. Linkypoo 17 december 2004

    Mike Davidson: iPhone Prediction Confirmed Als dit zo doorgaat, dan ben toch echt bang, dat de iToilet er ook gaat komen :S

  41. iPhone

    I sure hope that Mr. Davidsonis right. I’ve been waiting for an Apple phone forever, although if they just release a Motorola phone “branded” as Apple I’ll be pissed. I suppose we’ll see in January.

  42. FatMixx says:


    Couple of different sites are carrying the news that Apple and Motorola have partnered on a phone that might come out in January. The best roundup I’ve found on the blogs I read regularly would be fellow ESPN.com’er Mike Davidson’s blog.

  43. The iPhone is coming! The iPhone is coming!

    To update an earlier story about the Apple iPhone, it looks like the predictions were correct.

  44. Get Ready To Call iTunes

    Wireless Get Ready To Call ITunes Arik Hesseldahl, 12.16.04, 2:00 PM ET NEW YORK – Apple Computer and Motorola could soon show us the mobile phone they are developing to play music purchased from Apple’s iTunes online music store….  Hopefull…

  45. Apple to make cell phone

    Apparently Forbes announced that Apple will be making an Apple-inspired cell phone with Motorola technology. I read about it here. I can only presume it will be called the iPhone….

  46. Behold the Apple iPhone

    Apple is jumping into the cell phone market with partner Motorola according to Forbes magazine and the somewhat gloaty Mike Davidson…

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