or not, the Verizon iPhone deal ranks in the top
mobile/wireless tech stories of the year so far, along with the the Nokia/Windows Phone partnership and AT&T's planned purchase of T-Mobile USA. And
while speculation about all the aforementioned deals existed before they were
officially announced, neither of the latter two captured the same amount of
media attention in their lead-ups or provided as much fodder for water-cooler
office conversations as the “Big Red” iPhone.
Now, thanks to Adriana Lee at TechnoBuffalo, we're offered a
behind-the-scenes view into the Verizon iPhone deal via an unnamed Verizon
Six months before the January announcement of the iPhone (right around the time
AT&T was rolling out the iPhone 4), select staffers were field-testing
Verizon's network connectivity at Apple stores across the country.
But the few Verizon employees that actually received CDMA iPhones before the
official announcement were entrusted with the devices only two weeks prior.
Before they could begin using them, though, the staffers had to sign and fax
four-page non-disclosure agreements from Apple. And, in order to make sure the
devices weren't lost or in the wrong hands, they required the staffers to text
a secret 12-digit PIN to a dedicated phone number every 12 hours. (If it makes
you think of Desmond and Locke in the hatch on LOST, you aren't the
Beyond these select staffers and top-level executives, no other Verizon
employees had prior knowledge about the company's iPhone announcement. In fact,
during internal communications, it was referred to as project "ACME,"
and "iPhone" was never spoken.
Still, the deal remained buzzworthy in the media and was considered by some to
be "the worst-kept secret" in the mobile industry. It wasn't a
question of, "if," but "when?" Lee points out that even The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal referred to it
as a sure thing, before finally being announced officially on January 11 — just
two days after CES.