Timeline of Apple "iPhone" Rumors (1999-Present)

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iPhone Apps Slideshow

Check out our Top Downloaded iPhone Apps Slideshow. See screenshots and summaries of some of the some of the programs Apple.com rated as the most sought after. Click here to see it.

2007: Year of the iPhone

If I had to pick one word to sum up the wireless industry in 2007 it would have to be iPhone. Not too long ago the only differentiating factor among wireless handsets... Read more...


1999

December

Dec 14: Apple acquires the domain name www.iphone.org, which to this day directs visitors to the main corporate page. Article

2000

2001

April

April 16: Infosync posts a photo of what many believe to be the iPhone. Forum

2002

July

July 20: Apple CEO Steve Jobs downplays the prospect of an Apple PDA by explaining that Apple decided about 3 years ago, they felt that PDAs would eventually evolve into next generation cell phones, and that PDA's will become a smaller market. Article

August

Aug. 18: The New York Times discusses Apple's future plans for an Apple-branded Phone (aka iPhone): “But analysts and people close to the company say that the plan is under way and that the evidence is manifest in the features and elements of the new version of the Macintosh operating system.”Article

Aug. 28: Wireless Week reports that Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple, and his former partner, Steve Wozniak, are said to be developing a "smart" phone in an attempt to kick-start the market for next-generation mobile phones in the same way that the company's computers popularized personal computing. Article

September

Sept. 11: Perhaps the first time Jobs fields the question: The International Herald Tribune interviews Steve Jobs and asks about the iPhone directly. Q: Will there be an iPhone? Jobs: "One never knows. We don't usually discuss products we haven't announced." Article

Sept. 26: A website called ePrairie claims to have authentic, leaked photographs of the iPhone, back when such a claim was taken somewhat seriously. The first faked iPhone pictures? Maybe. Here’s the original claim: “ePrairie has obtained these three photographs (dated September 2002) of an unannounced Apple cell phone called the Applele hiPhone R4 CHICAGO (Exclusive) – A picture can tell a thousand words. Leaked to the right place at the right time, some pictures of some products can even tell a story of a new venture by an unsuspecting company that has decided to silence the word. Well, at least for now.” Article

October

Oct. 18: Apple applies for a trademark on “iPhone” in Singapore. Article

Oct. 21: Apple applies for trademark of “iPhone” in the U.K. The application seems to suggest a software solution like a .Mac internet phone or iChat voice integration. Article

December

Dec 3: Apple trademarks “iPhone” in Australia. Trademark #930990. Article

2003

June

June 10: Singapore grants Apple a trademark on iPhone. Article

July

2004

October

Oct. 14: Apple files for iPhone trademark in Canada. Article

December

Dec. 13: Apple files a civil suit against several anonymous parties, claiming that "an unidentified individual, acting alone or in concert with others, has recently misappropriated and disseminated through Web sites confidential information about an unreleased Apple product." Pundits suspect the product is the iPhone. Article

Dec. 16: Apple and Motorola have admitted they are working on a joint-venture phone to support a mobile version of iTunes. "We've said we have something coming on this in the first half of 2005 and we're definitely on schedule for that. Hopefully you'll be able to see more about it soon," says Eddy Cue, VP in charge of applications at Apple. Article

Dec. 20: Turns out the Dec. 13 lawsuit was against three Mac rumor sites and regarding an unreleased product called Asteroid or "Q97.” Not the iPhone. Article

2005

March

March 28: Business 2.0 Magazine publishes an article based on analysts’ comments about what is next for Apple. The iPhone is in the top five potential products, along with a wireless iPod, video iPod, media center and an enhanced iPod product for the car. Article

2006

March

March 21: A search of the European Patent Office reveals a patent application from Apple entitled "Database programs for handheld devices" that was published in February 2006. As advertised, the patent describes techniques for providing access to databases from handheld devices. The application, however, incidentally points out that "the remote handheld device can, for example, be a wireless phone which uses a telecom server to communicate with the database program." Article

March 30: Think Secret reports that the iPhone has been placed on hold because of "significant technical hurdles" in development. Apple wants to develop the phone "from the ground up" rather than improving on existing designs, which led to technical problems in interfacing the various cell components. The iPhone will not likely come until at least 2007, if not later, the site believes. Analysts, however, expect one in the next 12 months. Article

April

April 2: Analyst firm visiongain claims that Apple will team up with Sky Dayton’s MVNO Helio for the iPhone launch. Article

April 2: Think Secret reports that Apple is struggling with its chipset for the iPhone. Article

April 19: Analyst firm visiongain suggests Apple will go the MVNO route and calls an iPhone launch “logical and inevitable.” Launch date predicted during 2007 as the end of the year sees a product acceleration. Article

May

May 4: The US Patent & Trademark Office revealed an Apple patent titled “Reservation of digital media items,” originally filed on December 21, 2004. The patent relates to the purchasing of digital media items and, more specifically, to the use of a portable wireless device to identify and/or purchase digital media items. In fact, ringtones are discussed, so we’re talking telephony. Article

May 12: Japanese news agency Nikkei is reporting that Apple and new Vodafone Japan owner Softbank are working together to develop cellphones capable of downloading and playing music from the iTunes store. Article

June

June 4: The Globe and Mail reports that analyst Peter Misek believes BlackBerry maker RIM could ink a deal with Apple for an Apple branded PDA: Such a deal would have huge merit because each company lacks what the other provides. RIM wants a firm foothold in the consumer market and Apple doesn't have a presence in the booming wireless data sector. Article

July

July 29: Engadget reports that: “A reader is reporting to us that a coworker's tech-unsavvy friend, who is regularly hired by Apple to do marketing photo shoots, was recently brought on to take some shots of ‘the sleekest, sexiest damn phone he's ever seen.’” The phone could appear as early as August, the site claims. Article

August

Aug. 2: Engadget claims that an Apple cell phone could see a launch at World Wide Developers Conference on August 5th. Article
Aug. 11: Steve Jobs is cockier than ever about the firm's much-anticipated iPhone product. The obsessively tight-lipped executive apparently is bragging about the product to close friends, saying that the product launch is coming sooner than even he expected. Article

September

Sept. 5: American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu reports that Apple is indeed developing such a device and predicts that the company would likely sell about 10 million phones. Article

Sept. 11: PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates that Apple could sell as many as 12 million iPod-enabled cell phones next year, potentially boosting earnings by as much as 10 percent above current Wall Street estimates. Article

Sept. 16: Apple files for iPhone trademark in New Zealand. Article

Sept. 22: PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks Apple will launch an iPhone in the next 3 to 6 months -- an introduction he expects will draw more attention to the music-enabled handset market. He also sees it contributing to significant growth expectations implied in industry analyst market forecasts. Article

Sept. 25: A company called Ocean Telecom Services based in Delaware files for a trademark on “iPhone” in the U.S. It is widely believed Ocean is working on behalf of Apple, because the filing is identical to previous “iPhone” trademark filings in other countries. Article

Sept. 26: A company called Ocean Telecom services based in Delaware also files for a trademark on “iPhone” in Hong Kong and the U.K. using the same language as Apple did for iPhone trademarks in other countries. Article

Sept. 27: Cingular Wireless will be the first carrier to offer the upcoming iPhone--a rumor which itself has not yet been confirmed. The operator reportedly has a six-month exclusive on the device, to be offered early next year. Article

October

Oct. 9: T-Mobile USA CEO Robert Dotson also spoke quite favorably of Apple, singling out the Mac maker's efforts on the desktop as a "great precursor" of where he thinks the marketplace is headed with 3G, leading to speculation that T-Mobile, not Cingular, will host Apple's much-rumored iPhone project. Article

Oct. 16: AppleInsider reports that Apple has filed for another trademark for the "iPhone" term on September 15th with "a Far Eastern trademark office.” The filing describes the iPhone as under "handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; MP3 and other digital format audio players." Article

Oct. 23: The Motorola Rokr is said to be dropping Apple's iTunes media player in favor of Real Networks' Real One player, which signals Apple’s imminent entrance into the cell phone market. Article

November

Nov. 2: Cingular announces its new mobile music service, partners with Microsoft, Napster, Yahoo! Music, XM Satellite Radio and eMusic for a subscription-based service model. The announcement marks an essential death-sentence to the rumor that Apple would be launching the 'iPhone' as Cingular-only initially. The MVNO rumor on Cingular’s network gathers more steam as a result. Article

Nov. 15: BusinessWeek reports that Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff ventures a guess that the iPhone could cannibalize about 30 percent of the iPod market. Article

Nov. 16: Taiwan's Commercial Times reported Apple has already ordered 12 million handsets from contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, with plans to launch the multimedia device in the first half of 2007. Article

Nov. 21: While Apple has yet to even confirm rumors it is developing one iTunes-enabled mobile handset, American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu claims the company is already hard at work on a second iPhone, this one incorporating messaging capabilities. "From our understanding, it will leverage off existing iChat software that runs on Macs," Wu told clients. Article

Nov. 22: Mercury News prints comments from Palm's CEO Ed Colligan on the iPhone rumors: "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,'' he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.'' Article

Nov. 30: Digg founder Kevin Rose makes the announcement during his Diggnation podcast that the iPhone will ship in 4GB and 8GB storage capacities for $249 and $449, respectively. All major mobile phone providers will carry the device, Rose claims. Video

December

Dec. 14: Apple Computer is poised to launch its own MVNO service by acquiring wholesale capacity from Cingular Wireless, according to a note by UBS AG telecom analyst Benjamin Reitzes, who speculates the company would then sell its much-rumored iPhone music player/networked handset across its 174 retail outlets. Article

Dec. 15: Daniel Mattes, co-founder of Mountain View, CA-based VoIP software developer JAJAH, has been quoted as saying that JAJAH is presently holding intense conversations with Apple over the use of JAJAH software for a mobile phone, according to a reports from the German-language website "futureZone." Article

Dec. 15: Gizmodo runs a cryptic one-line report: “Gizmodo Knows: iPhone Will Be Announced On Monday I guarantee it. It isn't what I expected at all. And I've already said too much. –Brian Lam” Article

Dec. 16: Sources report that the iPhone will be a GSM/EDGE (2.5G) phone and not a UMTS (3G) device. Apple's decision to go with 2.5G lies in the technology's advantages over 3G: physically smaller components and more reliable communication. Article

Dec. 18: Linksys releases the iPhone, a VoIP handset with no affiliation to Apple. Cisco, which owns Linksys, has owned the trademark on iPhone since 2000 when it took over a company called Infogear, which registered the name in 1996. This iPhone was the one Gizmodo was referencing on December 15, hence the “It isn’t what I expected at all” comment. Article

2007

January

Jan. 9: Steve Jobs announced the "iPhone" at MacWorld sparking a flurry of media attention as well as a legal battle over the name that both Apple and Cisco claim as their own. The device is mobile phone, an "Internet communicator" and a wide-screen video iPod all rolled into one. The iPhone will run on OS X, on Cingular's network, and have no keypad or buttons, just a large touch screen. Other interesting features included a sensor that can tell if you are holding it in portrait or landscape mode, a sensor that detects lighting in your environment and adjusts the screen's brightness accordingly, and a sensor that can tell when you hold it up to your ear so it shuts down the screen to save power. The phone is only 11.6 mm thick, but boasts a 3.5 inch screen with 160 ppi resolution. Article

 

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