Why Is There An iPhone in This 350-Year-Old Painting?

When Tim Cook and StartUp Delta’s Neelie Kroes presented a blurry photograph of this disturbing painting to a room full of journalists at Startup Fest Europe, Cook joked (?), “I always thought I knew when the iPhone was invented, but now I’m not so sure anymore.”

The Next Web reported this bizarre anecdote from the conference, noting that the odd-shaped block in the painting is actually described by the painter as “a letter.” Okay, that’s an iPhone, but sure.


What I find most flabbergasting about this very odd story is that Tim Cook has ever been confident in the timing of the iPhone’s invention or the identity of its inventor. If I have learned anything from the golden age of cable television it’s that time is a flat circle, and if I have learned anything from the swath of recent films about tech personalities, everyone in Silicon Valley is a psychotic pathological liar. And if I know anything at all, I know that a conspiracy is nearly always afoot.

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All this is irrelevant, however, because asking, “Wait, was the iPhone invented 350 years ago?!” is sort of like asking “Wait, am I just a spec of dust embedded in the eye goo of an unfathomably large immortal being that exists in this moment and in all others at the same time?” As in, um, who would honestly be able to tell you?

Surely not this man, face in shadow. What is he but drops of paint?

man in painting

Definitely not this woman, who is pointing her finger deliberately in one direction, with all the unwarranted swagger of a person who believes in the fable of linear time.

Read more: theverge


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