Bloggers, journalists, stock analysts and every schmo on the street predicted the Apple iPhone would be announced today, but no one had the goods on just how different Apple's latest product was going to turn out.
By now, anyone with an Internet connection has seen it. Minus a clunky keyboard, with its own operating system and browser, its looks like an iPod sans clickwheel. It promises to make users toss their smartphones out the window.
About halfway through his keynote address Tuesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made the announcement at the annual Macworld conference in San Francisco. The crowd was practically holding its breath.
"This is a day I have been looking forward to for two and a half years," Jobs said.
He teased the crowd by saying Apple had made three new revolutionary products: a widescreen iPod, a phone, and an breakthrough Internet communicator. Then he mentioned they were all in the same gadget.
"It's the best iPod we ever made," Jobs said during his speech, noting that it took people little to fall in love. His favorite comment: "You had me at scrolling."
Jobs joked that the phone's "killer app" is "making calls."
He went on to talk about the visual, random-access voicemail, the WiFi and Bluetooth, Quad-band GSM, favorites list, the Widgets, Google Maps, 3.5 inch, high-res screen, the singular button - a home button, it's 11.6 millimeter width, 2 megapixel camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and accelerometer.
"And boy have we patented it," he said to loud applause.
In the Macworld exhibit hall, a huge crowd gathered with photographers pushing each other out of the way. It looked like perhaps the Pope had shown up. It turned out the mob was surrounding the sacred iPhone as it rotated in a glass case, with security guards standing stone-faced around it, just like the Hope Diamond.
Potential converts will need about $600, a contract with Cingular, and the patience to wait until June, when the iPhone ships.