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Apple CEO Tim Cook swears he saw an iPhone in a 350-year-old painting

Technically Incorrect: Speaking in Amsterdam, Cook jokes that he's not sure Steve Jobs actually invented Apple's iconic device.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Tim Cook and Neelie Kroes talk art history.


Michel Porro/Getty Images

More and more people are having the experience.

They look at an old image or an ancient piece of footage and they're sure they see a modern gadget.

Look, there was certainly a smartphone at the 1995 fight between Mike Tyson and Peter McNeeley (video below).

Now, though, Apple CEO Tim Cook has fallen under the phenomenon's spell.

As CNBC reports, Cook was at the Startup Fest in Amsterdam. He was enjoying an onstage chat with former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Cook was asked, "Do you happen to know Tim, where and when the iPhone was invented?"

As questions go, this might rank with: "Tim, do you know your name?" or "Tim, does Apple make magical, revolutionary products?"

Cook's reply perhaps showed his fascination: "You know, I thought I knew until last night. Last night Neelie took me over to look at some Rembrandts, and in one of the paintings -- I was so shocked; there was an iPhone in one of the paintings."

Look, an early iPhone.

Rijksmuseum. Public Domain. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It seems that the painting in question was "Man Handing a Letter to a Woman in the Entrance Hall of a House."

Paintings had such pulsating titles in those days.

This one, though, isn't a Rembrandt. It was painted by Pieter de Hooch in 1670 and today hangs in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

Still, even though the title of the painting tends to give away what the man was holding, here was Cook positing that it could have been an iPhone.

It's encouraging that CEOs are now beginning to see what ordinary people have been seeing for years.

We see UFOs in the sky. We see ghosts in old houses and, indeed, in the machine.

Nothing is as it seems. We are all living in some alien's virtual-reality game.

There are even people who believe they've seen Apple's newest phones elsewhere years before.

Yes, with a Samsung logo on them.