Tim Cook spotted the iPhone in a painting from 1670


Is that an iPhone 6s Plus?
Is that an iPhone 6s Plus?
Photo: Pieter de Hooch

Apple is credited with designing the smartphone as we know it today, but it turns out some people were using touchscreen devices in 1670. At least that’s what Tim Cook saw when he laid eyes on a 346-year-old painting from Pieter de Hooch and spotted an iPhone.

Before his appearance at Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam earlier this week, Cook met with former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes at the Rijksmuseum. On stage the following day, Kroes asked the Apple CEO if he knew when the iPhone had been invented.

“You know, I thought I knew until last night,” Cook said. “Last night Neelie took me over to look at some Rembrandt and in one of the paintings I was so shocked. There was an iPhone in one of the paintings. It’s tough to see but I swear it’s there.”

Of course, it wasn’t an iPhone, and it wasn’t a Rembrandt. Cook was actually looking at the painting above entitled “Man Hands a Letter to a Woman in a Hall,” which was painted in 1670 by Dutch artist Pieter de Hooch.

As the name suggests, the man in the painting is actually holding a letter, but it does kinda sorta resemble a smartphone… if you squint hard enough. Maybe he’s Instagramming the dog?