Harry McCracken, after listing several articles about Apple not ever entering the phone market, etc.:
It’s worth noting that while all of these stories turned out to be wrong, that doesn’t mean that the folks who wrote them were clueless. Some of their rationales, in fact, were darn logical–they just happened to be erroneous. Very few people outside of Apple have a knack for channeling Steve Jobs’ thought process. And even if you understand Apple better than most people, it will surprise you at least some of the time. Declaring that it will never do something is always dangerous.
Apple — for all of its secrecy and planning — is a pretty flexible company. The iPod was produced in less than a year, and often, the company’s moves seem early, since Apple likes to define a product category before others even think it up.