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In 1997, I Broke The Story Of The iPhone…Really!

The headline is not intended to be misleading as it’s a true story.

On January 8, 1997 I published a story on and regarding new products being introduced at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. One of the stories I published was announcing an innovative new product named the iPhone.

No, not Apple’s iPhone, the Cidco iPhone.

Here’s the story as it appeared on

The 1997 Winter Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas from Jan. 9-12, is the world’s largest annual trade show for the broad-based consumer electronics market.

The 1997 show will offer everything from multimedia, wireless, digital and mobile products to the latest audio, video, and accessories.

There is no better way to keep up with the trends and technologies that are shaping the industry than by tuning into the Gadget Guru on MSNBC to check out the coolest items at this year’s CES.

This premier event brings together over 1,500 companies with an estimated 80,000 attendees who will peruse the aisles to find out what’s hot and what’s not.

So, as I trek through over one million net square feet of exhibit space, I want you to sit back and read about the interesting products I discovered at this year’s CES.

Cidco has introduced the world’s first telephone that grants full graphic access to the Internet.

Called the iPhone, this full-function feature phone incorporates a 7.4-inch grayscale LCD display screen and Internet browsing software that allows users to surf the Internet without the use of a computer. It incorporates a 14.4Kbps modem, that the company touts as delivering the same page- to-page speed as a computer with a 28.8Kbps modem. This is attributed to the fact that the graphics are displayed in grayscale as opposed to color.

It features a reduced-in-size, but functional pull-out keyboard that allows you to enter addresses or e-mail text and a cursor device that allows you to click on various links.

The iPhone allows for the use of any ISP (Independent Service Provider) for Internet access. This summer they are expected to enable Internet access via Sprint for a flat fee of $20 per month.

When asked if this phone could be used to access online services such as America Online or CompuServe, company representatives responded, “There is no reason why the iPhone cannot work with these providers. However, since the iPhone is just being introduced at CES, there are no current agreements with specific Internet service providers other than Sprint.”

Because it is a telephone, and not a computer, connection times are deemed to be quicker as there is no waiting for the system to boot-up. Initial set-up has also been simplified as all it requires is an electrical outlet and phone jack. 

The iPhone includes an RS-232 port that supports a range of peripherals such as printers and smart card/credit card readers. These peripherals can be used to print out bank statements, web pages, recipes or other information found on the Internet.

On the telephone side, the iPhone offers enhanced features such as Caller ID on Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Call Blocking, 3-way Calling and Call Return.

The iPhone will be available by April and will retail for $500. For more information, call (800) 468-8358.

© 1996, 1997 Andy Pargh

Andy Pargh, the Gadget Guru, is a syndicated columnist and a contributing correspondent for NBC’s TODAY Show.




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