iPhone Fail

Now that some of the initial hype over last week’s big iPhone 3.0 announcement has died down I thought it would a perfect time to reflect on iPhone 2.0.

I’m not talking about the iPhone 3G, this is way earlier. In a time before the Web was 2.0 and when 56k was still considered a decent connection speed, even before Apple’s OS had an X in it. Back then I worked for a company called BigPlanet.

iPhone Main Menu

BigPlanet’s core business was to have completely computer illiterate (and inept) sales persons market the “iPhone” to folks who wanted to get on the Internet, but didn’t know how to do so, or why they really wanted to get on it in the first place.

The iPhone sold for around $299 and came with a 2 year contract for BigPlanet’s less than stellar ISP service ($29.99/month for Internet plus and additional $5 for iPhone connectivity). Sounds like Apple and AT&T might have taken a page out of this playbook.


Infogear, the company that produced the iPhone was bought by Linksys and then eventually passed on to Cisco. This is where the grounds for the infamous Cisco vs. Apple suit came from.

Anyways, a while back we went up to Dallas to visit some friends and I noticed that they still had an original iPhone in all of it’s dilapidated splendor. I couldn’t resist taking some pictures for posterity’s sake.

I really can’t do justice to how pathetically craptacular the iPhone actually was, but I’ll try. In addition to being a phone, you could (in theory) use the small, gray-scale, touchscreen to browse the Web. The iPhone was capable of rendering basic HTML and some JavaScript, and was a complete piece of junk. You could navigate either by using the built-in qwerty keyboard or using a stylus on the touchscreen.

Behold, the iPhone in all of its majesty!

iPhone with Keyboard Extended Screen Down
Tilt screen down

iPhone with Tilt Screen and Keyboard Extended
Tilt screen up

iPhone Directory


2 thoughts on “iPhone Fail

  1. Leon

    For a product made in the days of the DOS over Windows operating system and before broadband took over the universe (except in out of the way places like Russia) it was a remarkable achievement and a marvelous device, and ahead of its time. A system worthy of “Max Headroom”. Todays laptop/notebook computers may do more, but then again they have 10 to 100 times the memory and processor speed, (from 10 – 100 MHz and 20 – 50 Mb hard drives, 10 – 100 Mb RAM) and the flat-panel displays are sharper, brighter and higher resolution than they could have imagined in those days.

    All in all, for its day, the Cisco IPhone was pretty neat if the local phone companies would have supported telephone service equal to the capacity of the instrument. (We will not support an invention that is not our own or we do not directly profit from.)

  2. Tracie

    This is pretty funny. When I used to work for my dad, we used to do product fulfillment for a company that used Big Planet projects. Ah memories.

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