It is perhaps easy to think that the first iPhone was released in 2007, when Steve Jobs took to the stage and in an instant revolutionised the mobile industry. But it turns out that this wasn't the first iPhone... well, sort of, anyway.
The Internet History Podcast (by way of BGR) has recently reminded us that way back in 1998 - when Apple was merely a struggling computer company working on the original iMac, a company called InfoGear (that was later acquired by Cisco) was making phones of the same name.
Essentially, if history had gone a different way the "iPhone" would be remembered (or more likely forgotten) as a knock-off of Alan Sugar's ludicrous Amstrad E-m@iler. In other words, a landline phone that can apparently be used to send and receive emails, isolated from the wider internet. which must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
The iPhone brand also cropped up on more traditional Cisco landline phones and VOIP phones right up until 2007.
As BGR notes, the brand was the subject of a trademark dispute when Apple announced its phone, one that was resolved, we presume, with the peacemaking power of money.
Apple isn't the first company to experience such a dispute. Back in 2001 there were questions about what Microsoft would do over a little-known software company called "Xbox", which had the same name as its new console. [The Internet History Podcast via BGR]