As we rapidly approach MacWorld where analysts and speculators have been hinting at the likelihood of the unveiling of the Apple iPhone recent events and a more skeptical review of history make us wonder if Apple may have been bluffing in the secretive way about the future existence of the iPhone.

The iPhone was released today to the market, but it was not released by Apple.  Apple does not own the trademark to the name iPhone.  That name has been owned by Linksys for ten years now.  Linksys exercised their trademark by releasing a series of VOIP phones under the iPhone brand name.

Apple couldn’t use the name if they wanted to because they do not own it (Yeah don’t get me started about The Beatles that horse is dead.)

When we let it sink in that Apple is not allowed to release an iPhone we then start to question their capabilities.  After all Apple has a poor track record in the cellular industry.  They failed to collaborate with Motorola with the iRokr and ended up spitting out a lemon.  Apple pointed the finger at Motorola at the time and distanced themselves from the product, but it was their product to and they shared in the build.  Plus, Motorola went on to successfully show the world that they do know how to build sexy and sleek phones, when not encumbered with an Apple partner.

If Apple could not successfully work with the oldest cellular manufacturer in the world to come up with a good product, can they really do any better on their own?  If their first attempt was a lemon will history repeat itself.  If they can’t even envision a brand strategy ahead of the launch of a product, what does that say about their product planning capability.  Apple does want to win, but they do not always seem to be prepared for success.

After the success of the iPod, they went in after the fact this year, five years after the launch, and started lawsuits against a number of companies using the name “pod” in their company name, product name or elsewhere.  Apple tried to claim that they owned the word pod in all of its forms and derivatives.  If they did, why didn’t they trademark it ahead of the launch of the iPod or even soon after. 

Was Apple prepared for their iPod success or were they throwing darts at a wall?  MacWorld should be interesting this year, but its now very very unlikely to provide the unveiling of the “iPhone” at least not from Apple!

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