AAPL Stock: 115.96 ( -2.48 )

Printed from

Cringely: iPhone name, network will change

updated 09:25 pm EST, Fri January 12, 2007

Cringely on the iPhone

Noted PBS commentator Robert Cringely has chimed in with his opinion on the Apple iPhone, as well as the trademark dispute with Cisco Systems. Cringely asks why Apple failed to conclude talks with Cisco before moving forward, noting that the latter had no choice but to sue if it wanted to defend itself against future infringements. The situation is compounded by the fact that Apple did change the name of the iTV, enabling the company to avoid potential legal troubles with Elgato Systems, makers of the similar EyeTV.

The commentator asks why Apple would knowingly challenge a larger company while side-stepping a smaller one, surmising that the move is a calculated publicity stunt designed to earn a great amount of media attention without paying for the equivalent advertising campaign.

Cringely also wonders about the choice of Cingular as the carrier partner. The company's 2G network can't maximize the potential of the iPhone, he says, and the 3G network features Cingular Video, a download service that uses RealVideo. Since Apple would prefer customers to use QuickTime and iTunes, the 3G network will go unused until Cingular caves in or loses the partnership.

Apple's move may be a direct attempt at domination of cellphone content, Cringely surmises, forcing a major carrier to switch formats if it wants to hold on to a lucrative product. When the Cingular exclusive ends, subsequent carriers may need to support iTunes to retain any popularity.

by MacNN Staff





  1. koolkid1976

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2G network?

    I thought Cingular was 4G.

  1. f1000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cingular is 3.5G...

    ...and Cringely's not being clear about Cingular video being Real based. Data is data, and I can and do stream QuickTime videos to my PowerBook while tethered to my 3.5G phone. In other words, the Real format is only important if you want to use Cingular's WAP video applications, but there's no reason why the iPhone has to use those apps in the first place.

  1. zl9600

    Joined: Dec 1969


    apple lawyers: not dumb

    Maybe Cringely doesn't read what's going on. There are also suggestions that Apple, while talking to Cisco for YEARS (not just a few days) before the launch, discovered Cisco may not even own the damned mark. Perhaps better than paying Cisco millions of dollars?

    Not surprising that a PBS commentator gets confused trying to replace Masterpiece Theater reporting with technology news. But also it's clear his producers don't spend time researching.

  1. cebritt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A Good Trademark

    A good trademark is one that is "arbitrary and fanciful" which iPhone certainly isn't! Google could come out with a gPhone and Microsoft an mPhone and there's nothing Apple could do about it. That's why the iPod name is so good because before the iPod, "pods" were only associated with peas and body snatchers.

    I fully expect that Apple will eventually ship the product with something they can easily trademark and defend in court, like iPod Phone or iVIP (Video, Internet, Phone)...hey, that's not bad...

  1. zl9600

    Joined: Dec 1969


    you can defend it

    Think about how McDonalds has stopped everyone from using MC in front of their names. Stopped them cold.

    This is a trademark that can stick. You're mistaking adoption of a brand with a trademark. In the latter, neither you nor I know how well the name will stick, but I think given the fact it's Apple, a marketing machine that knows it's stuff, it likely will.

    Let the m's, a's and z's all have as much fun as they want--they won't want to play in that sandbox unless they have a better product.

  1. iwasiphone

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ioffer my name

    Im willing to donate my name to Apple if they want to use it.... Nobody on Earth has claimed it yet besides me. I am making an honest offer here Apple dudes... You can save some serious coin! posted by iwasiphone

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another take...

    Another possibility is that Apple's stealth marketing machine WANTED Cisco to sue. It makes for GREAT headlines!

    News of Apple's iPhone dominated the news EVERYWHERE this week. There was nowhere you could turn without some reference to it! That's phenomenal marketing!

    Some of the negative commentary I think came as a result of iPhone absolutely burying news from the Consumer Electronics Show. It was nearly invisible.

    SO, we saw the iPhone on technology pages, financial pages, front pages, news and lifestyle TV programs. Add news of a lawsuit 6 MONTHS before the thing is even available for and you create incredible buzz!


  1. chotty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Negotiations apparently went on until 8 PM the night before the Expo, one can assuem Apple has some logic behind it. Other than that, I can't recall the last tim Cringely was "on target" really...

  1. ecrelin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    JHarris on the nose

    Apple used it first, legally, illegally, they don't care. Even if they change the name, anything Cisco comes out with will never be considered a real iPhone by the masses and will be panned. Jobs is a opportunist, showman and above all a steamroller, they have plenty of cash for legal shenanigans, anyone who knows Apple's history knows its Job's way or the highway and he knows how to grab the headlines! He has the products that back him up. Whatever happensto it it will be the coolest of all the PDA/Phone/Player/thingies out there and everyone with or without a brain will eat them up. Cingular is going to be AT&T again real soon so the names are unimportant and if they don't produce the marketshare he likes he'll be on other carriers in a heartbeat. No amount of whining will change anything, sit back and enjoy the show.

  1. jasong

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iTV name change?

    When did Apple change the name of iTV? As far as I can see, they never had a product called iTV, just like they never had a product called Puma or Cheetah. Code names do not equal a product name. Now as for why they introduced a product named iPhone, I would imagine they think they have a very good chance of overturning the trademark. It should be more interesting.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

HP 14-x030nr 14-inch Chromebook

If you're like us, chances are you've come to realize that you need the ability to access the Internet on the go. Also, you've prob ...

15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch

Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro continues to be a popular notebook with professional users and prosumers looking for the ultimate ...

Typo keyboard for iPad

Following numerous legal shenanigans between Typo -- a company founded in part by Ryan Seacrest -- and the clear object of his physica ...


Most Commented