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Analayst: several iTunes phones due by \'Christmas\'

updated 08:45 am EDT, Thu June 30, 2005

iTunes phone family

One analyst believes that Apple and Motorola along with Cingular will by the end of the year. The first phone in the new product family, which it says will include both low-end and high-end phones, will be formally announced by the third week in July, according to a BusinessWeek report that cites RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue: "All parties involved -- Motorola, Cingular, and, perhaps most of all, Apple -- have much to gain from the hookup. The move could help them take the pole position in a promising new market -- delivering digital music to cell phones, a device that has become the center of the digital lifestyle for millions of people around the world.... Currently, the three companies are seen as laggards in this market."

The report says that music-enabled cell phones offer a huge opportunity for the industry, which expects to see nearly 2 million mobile music subscribers in the US within the next two years.

"Many analysts believe they could easily outstrip portable audio players like Apple's iPod in popularity within a few years. But if Jobs & Co. manage to jump into cell phones, they could bring iTunes into the mainstream. Cingular, with its more than 50 million subscribers, may be Apple's only option for a service provider in the U.S. Afraid that Apple would take a potentially new source of revenue (music downloads) for itself, all other major U.S. wireless carriers have refused Jobs's overtures outright."

by MacNN Staff



  1. bfalchuk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hope so

    I know that carriers want to sell the music, but, come on, who will buy music from them (or Starbucks, or Coke, etc)? As a techie, I would find a way to get the tunes onto the phone without the carrier, so they might as well try to get the data charges for it. I think Verizon is going about this totally wrong by trying to do it themselves. Besides, if they start selling songs at competitive prices, their precious $3 ringtones will have to become like 10 cents to be priced relative to full song prices. If the carrier lets someone else sell the music (and get the data usage charges), then they don't have to rationalize ringtone costs.

  1. ronjamin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sounds like Microsoft

    Doesn't Microsoft often announce products, features, software months or years before they are released? This is the same. This is a trial balloon to measure public response.

    I would find an iPod phone cool, and might use it if it had at least 4GB of memory. Just build it and quit telling me when it may or may not be released. I've been hearing about these things for over a year already. Lets get moving.

  1. richmackey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What about battery?

    I live in Chicago and can drain my iPod mini battery pretty quickly with my commute - add in talk time on the phone and I'm curious, how long would a battery on a device like this last? If it doesn't go at least a full day with some pretty serious (2 hours) music listening and phone time (at least 3 hours or so) then I'm not sure it'd be worth it. At least if my mini battery goes dead, it doesn't mean I can't make a call...

  1. AllenHuffman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Battery and Storage

    I can run my phone down (Samsung i500 on Sprint) just checking e-mail and surfing some websites throughout the day; I'd imagine MP3 playback would be similar, but if it was enough to get someone through the day that would suffice.

    Adding a hard drive to a phone sounds like bad news. My phone (as careful as I am with it in its case) still gets dropped alot -- more than anything else I can think of. Almost expected to have phones dropped.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hard drive redundant...

    They really wouldn't need a hard drive in the phone: the "shuffle" model would work well simply because you're going to need to dock and charge the device daily. And if you want a song you don't have in flash, just download it from wherever... the carrier will get all the airtime charges.

  1. zwiebel_

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Storage & Battery

    I higly doubt that the phones will include harddrives. If anything, flash memory would be the way to go.

  1. technohedz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Scamming the masses

    As a consumer I consider iTunes for mobile devices an added value. If it is less useful than what is currently available, then it isn't necessary. We can currently play music on phones, use stereo headsets, and enjoy reasonably good battery life because all our data is stored on flash cards.

    Mobile phones have entered a phase where energy saving is becoming increasingly necessary. I don't want another device that needs to be charged every day along with my ipod, pda, and phone. Carriers need to increase sales and to do this they need to present new features. The problem with implementing new features in the global market is the huge financial gains that corporations in different sectors make by relying on global 'ignorance' or controlled roll outs.

    Media and technology should represent a fusion that breaks cultural and geographic boundaries to the benefit of the consumer. Unfortunately, this is not the motivation behind many companies.

    America is the backwater cousin as far as mobile technology is concerned: 1) Roll out of pay as your go phones in the US is still in its infancy a decade after it conquered many other countries. The US installed base is still less than that of many areas and most people are on contracts where voice is the primary concern. 2) Data services have been an option for adding to mobile providers profits because the overall market is not as saturated as other regions. When WAP rolled out in europe it wasn't the easiest technology, but since the mobile culture was focused on the phones themselves; the utility of this feature gained some measure of marketability and popularity that never existed in the US. 3) email and web browsing became a third generation technology that was useful to the mobile-centric, but never really took of in the US; where a consumers marker for a product is how well it compares to the best product that is dedicated to doing the same thing. In the US it is not unreasonable to conclude that the majority of mobile users compare a browser in their phone to a browser on their computer. It is not the information that is available , it is the method in which the information is presented that is the wrongful focus of these consumers.

    This presents US carriers with a logistical nightmare. How do they make money with less market penetration, low subscriber rates for a poorly marketed information delivery system, and a consumer that is so presentation focused that they will not accept a phone as useful unless it displays a webpage just like it would be seen in MSIE? They need a killer app.

    Enter iTunes. Part of the alleged carrier dispute over data fees is due to the fact that they are greedy, but another is that this is a do or die time to get customers onto data plans or to spend more money on individual purchasese on their phones because there is finally the option of a broadband killer app: music for the masses using the most popular a

  1. technohedz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Scamming the masses 2

    nd succesful music store with huge brand recognition.

    If I can spend the same amount of money to download a song to my phone over the air, and the device allows me to deploy it in the same way I would a song purchased on my computer; then in the greed driven feature starved American market, I will be quite happy to use an application that does live up to the presentation benchmark: an ipod w/ itms.

    If carriers are smart they will see that iTunes is the gateway drug to broadband usage and will no everything they can to give people the service for nothing; while toting their other data features. If it is necessary to cover the overhead, then a small flat rate data plan fee (non 'pro') would be reasonable.

    If iTunes is nothing more than a player with computer integration, then great. If it is a download service then I'm not paying anything more for it and it's a huge opportunity for US carriers to finally indoctrinate the majority of the mobile carrying population into the world of 'mobile data'.

    My 99 cents only.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: scamming the masses

    Mobile phones have entered a phase where energy saving is becoming increasingly necessary. I don't want another device that needs to be charged every day along with my ipod, pda, and phone.

    Hey, if you get the right phone, it replaces your PDA, phone and ipod, so there's only one thing you need to charge.

  1. jbelkin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Imagine the Error Message

    FROM VERIZON: "Disconnected. To continue downloading - you must step outside your house. Do not attempt to use your phone or turn it off. You can enjoy your VerizonP3 formated song in approximately - 15 minutes."

    Or like the Samsung phone, music will be buried about 9 menus deep.

    The phone comapnies will fail so badly. Cingular might the only smart one if the rumors are true.

    BTW, people with Motorola phones with music features and bluetooth report that itunes launches and choices appear ...

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