back to article Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

You've heard of "Fake News" – but how does Fake History gradually supersede the reality-based version? It's through repetition, and Christmas found the BBC busy doing some scrubbing. The proposition it set about is simple: Apple didn't really invent the iPhone. From Oxford, inventor and engineer Andrew Fentem writes to take …

Thank Jobs for digital music?

I've been buying digital music since the 1980s, on CDs.

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Could a better article...

Well yes, could really have avoided doing yet another pro-apple marketing campaign entirely

The BBC is supposed to report news not indulge in promoting (foreign) products.

It told us that the iPhone was the worlds first smartphone (it was clearly not - Microsoft had one, Symbian had spawned any number from different manufacturers and even Blackberry ticked all the the smartphone boxes).

True the iPhone store was probably the best on the market at the time but most of the other phones had the features needed and the iPhone needed the store to add to the fairly basic apps provided.

The BBC has shamelessly promoted iPhone ever since its launch, in so doing it has put something over 2000 highly experienced and competent BRITISH engineers and a number of managers out of work... or at least into different companies where their presence stops other people being employed... same difference for the unemployment bill.

The BBC even today is now on about how the developers sweated bullets... tell me a dev in any company that ever actually delivered that didn't sweat bullets, I know I did more than a few late nights and weekends.

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Re: Could a better article...

"The BBC has shamelessly promoted iPhone ever since its launch, in so doing it has put something over 2000 highly experienced and competent BRITISH engineers and a number of managers out of work... or at least into different companies where their presence stops other people being employed"

This is the sort of gordion knot argument which is becoming increasingly popular in Theresa May's Brave New World.

Suffer those (presumably non british - sorry - NON BRITISH!!!!) people who are no longer able to be employed thanks to the british you allude to having taken their jobs!

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Re: Could a better article...

"The BBC has shamelessly promoted iPhone ever since its launch, in so doing it has put something over 2000 highly experienced and competent BRITISH engineers and a number of managers out of work... or at least into different companies where their presence stops other people being employed... same difference for the unemployment bill."

You mean, just like Clarkson killed British Leyland? Not because BL made crap that no-one wanted any longer? The horrid Japs did the same to the US quality manufacturers of massive steel contraptions. Oh, all those horrible forriner manufacturers.

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Rewrite history?

how does Fake History gradually supersede the reality-based version? It's through repetition

You mean, like saying that climate change is settled science? Say it enough times and it must be true! Never mind that pesky scientific method...

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Re: Rewrite history?

"You mean, like saying that climate change is settled science? Say it enough times and it must be true! Never mind that pesky scientific method..."

Oh, yeah? Do please tell us about that particular "scientific method"?

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The iPhone was not invented by Apple

The iPhone was not invented by Apple - particularly because it wasn't an INVENTION at all. It was a well-received innovation in an existing market.

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Bah!

This just in: BBC News Manager accidentally publishes elaborate spoof article intended for April First release while demonstrating software to Director: "Six month's work and I don't know how much in taxpayer-funded post-production up in smoke all because some bloody numpty in a suit wanted to impress his boss" says technician who wishes to remain anonymous.

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IIRC, it was Cisco

that "invented" the iPhone, or at least named one of their products that, and Trademarked the name, so Jobs et al. had to buy the name from them.

Of course, I could be misremembering, but I can't be arsed to check facts, as that is now an occupation up there with flint knapping and spinning on a drop spindle.

BTW: on the "but it needed a screen" front, I was struck by a mental image of a lovely orange plasma-panel smartphone. Maybe with a chorded keyboard built into the side... Of course battery life would be dire, but modern smartphones have added that feature on their own.

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Re: IIRC, it was Cisco

Indeed, Cisco still owns the rights to the names iPhone and iOS (in the USA).

http://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco_and_apple_agreement_on_ios_trademark

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Facepalm

Guardian interview

This must be his interview piece for the guardian

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Yes.. over at the DM they seem to be playing the same game....

Could it be that shill news is the new big money maker

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Can we please stop using "fake news"

... as a buzzword for anything from "groundless propaganda" to "spin that we personally disagree with"?

Or in this specific case, "historical revisionism"?

Real stories are complex, and there are many ways of looking at this one. Harford does make a valid point, even if he massively overstates it. To pretend that the iPhone sprang like Athena, perfectly formed from the head of Steve "Zeus" Jobs, is just as wankerly as the BBC's own bollocks.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Can we please stop using "fake news"

We're using it ironically.

C.

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Smartphones predated Apple by a good few years

The first recognizable smartphone I handled was, if I remember correctly, branded as a Compaq and dated from the early 2000s. Like other handhelds from that period it was primarily a PDA so it was geared to being a portable peripheral for your (Windows) business PC -- it ran Windows CE, it had Office interconnectivity and it, well, sucked. It was also rather expensive and had a short battery life -- color LCD displays from that era were not that good.

Apple's true innovation was to marry phone functions with the iPod, something that was primarily an entertainment device rather than a business product. They realized that users wanted not just a phone but also some way of making their iPod communicate. Nokia was stumbling in the same general direction with their N700 series but Apple's execution was flawless, they understood the value of an entertainment ecosystem. Apple don't originate technology but they're very good at aggregating it into well designed products that fill a marketing niche. Unfortunately there's a tendency for both companies like Apple and Microsoft to pretend that they invented computing -- so now its just assumed that Apple invented smartphones, tablets and what-have-you.

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I knew it!

We should never have removed that RS232 port from the specs.

Those Chinese USB to serial adapters are not reliable at all!

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BBC think their report was accurate...

Dear Mr Hitchman

Reference CAS-4170032-MKB98M

Thank you for contacting us regarding the BBC News website.

I understand you unhappy with our article 'Sweating bullets' - The inside story of the first iPhone'.

Having reviewed the article, we do not suggest that the first iPhone was the first smartphone. Rory Cellan-Jones looked back at his experience at the first launch and responded to criticism:

'A Sunday newspaper columnist described me as having clutched the phone as if it were "a fragment of the true cross", and some viewers complained that the BBC had given undue prominence to a product launch.

I appeared on the Newswatch programme to defend our reporting and said that some products did merit coverage because they promised a step change in the way we lived - and I mused on whether the Model T Ford would have been a story if we'd had a TV news bulletin back then.

Afterwards, I rather regretted saying that - who knew whether the iPhone would really prove as revolutionary as the arrival of mass car ownership? But today that comparison does not look so outlandish.'

As the BBC's Technology Correspondent, Rory is expected to provide his own analysis of stories in the technology sector. He is well aware of our commitment to impartiality and simply seeks to provide enough information for our audience to make up their own minds.

In regards to your comments about the BBC being biased in favour of Apple, we cover a wide range of products and companies on the BBC News Tech section. Recently we featured Oxbotica, who have developed the Lutz Pathfinder, driverless car:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38569166

I appreciate you may continue to disagree.

Your feedback is important to us and your concerns have been placed on an overnight report. This document is made available to senior management and the BBC News website team. This report can be used to inform future content decisions, so please be assured that your complaint has been sent to the right people.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kind regards

David Currie

BBC Complaints Team

www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.

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"Fentem created the multitouch technology essential to modern touchscreen interfaces"

Did he?

Fentem tells us that the was working on multi-touch back in 2002. He provides a link to a video from 2007 in which he demonstrates his 2003/2004 multi-touch prototype music controller.

Although I have no reason to doubt Mr Fentem, according to other pioneers, such as Bill Buxton, Fentem failed to publish anything that demonstrated his early work.

http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html

If Buxton is correct, then how can Fentem have influenced the development of early multi-touch devices?

AFAIK the first commercial product to offer 10 point multi-touch support was the 2003/4 JazzMutant Lemur music controller.

https://web.archive.org/web/20041016212747/http://www.jazzmutant.com/lemur_features.php

Did Fentem work with JazzMutant, did JazzMutant have access to Fentem's work?

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