Apple doesn't particularly like to announce its products ahead of time. It likes to unveil them and start selling that same day. Any advance notice just gives the competition time to catch up. But with the iPhone, Apple had to get FCC approval. That takes months, and no one, not even Steve Jobs, could get the FCC to keep the iPhone a secret.
So the biggest consumer-electronics release of the year currently scheduled for June won't be a surprise. But there are questions: Do consumers really want a $500 phone? Will they want it enough to switch to Cingular? Will their clumsy fingers learn the graceful dance of its unique touch-screen interface?
Yes, yes and yes. Sticker shock on the iPod was just as bad, and look what happened there. The iPhone is just too tempting a piece of engineering, with its sweet video playback and seductive Web browsing, for the market to ignore. Tougher question: Will it play in Asia, where even the iPod struggles, in 2008?