Behind the iPhone and Apple/Cingular Deal
The Wall Street Journal delves deeper (Subscription Required) into the history of the development of the Apple iPhone and touches on a number of details that had already emerged in the weeks following the iPhone announcement.
The article reinforces the impression that Apple been able to negotiate a remarkably favorable deal in a traditionally Cell Phone Carrier-slanted market. The Wall Street Journal confirms details such as a lack of Cingular branding, limited retail availability (Cingular Stores and Apple Stores only), and even Cingular sharing monthly revenue with Apple.
The deal also calls for Cingular to share with Apple a portion of the monthly revenues from subscribers, a person familiar with the matter says.
Many of these terms and conditions were previously revealed when news came out that Verizon had passed on the iPhone. The original article's claims that Apple wanted "a percentage of the monthly cellphone fees, say over how and where iPhones could be sold and control of the relationship with iPhone customers" appears to be true.
Apple's level of secrecy surrounding this project appears to have reached all time highs as previously noted. Earlier reports claimed that several fake prototypes were circulated to confound rumors of the device. This new article confirms that very few individuals had seen the full iPhone prior to launch. Even Cingular engineers were given dummy versions with very limited access. Even now, "the handful of Cingular people who have access to the sample phones at the company's headquarters were required to sign confidentiality agreements."