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More on Apple/Motorola Joint Cell Phone Venture 293

1+(smarterThanYou) writes " has an article with updates on the previous Slashdot story on the Motorola/Apple iTunes compatible mobile phone. 'Apple Computer and Motorola could soon show us the mobile phone they are developing to play music purchased from Apple's iTunes online music store. 'We've said we have something coming on this in the first half of 2005 and we're definitely on schedule for that. Hopefully you'll be able to see more about it soon,' says Eddy Cue, vice president in charge of applications at Apple.'" Theories about this device showing up at the next MacWorld Expo abound.
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More on Apple/Motorola Joint Cell Phone Venture

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:19AM (#11113223)
    Could this phone be the rumoured flash-based iPod?
    • by PabloJones ( 456560 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:45AM (#11113374) Homepage
      I believe that Steve has specifically said in the past that Apple would not be making a cell phone anytime in the near future.

      But maybe he's had a change of heart. Afterall, if Apple came out with a phone, people would be drooling over it... stylish and easy to use, plus iTunes support. Who knows.
      • Yes, an Apple'd be the size of a business card, transparent, and you'd be able to dial, hangup, change options, volume, play music, type messages, etc all with one button!
      • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @05:19AM (#11114075)
        But maybe he's had a change of heart.

        Remember when tabbed browsing in Safari would never happen because it violated Apple GUI guidelines?

        I hope he has had a change of heart because an apple phone would kick ass. Assuming it was a PDA too, not just a cell phone with a button that allows you to empty your wallet at the iTMS.

        • It seems like he may have sort have had a half change of heart, and that's the reason Moto is in on this. It may well technically be branded as a Motorola phone, with Apple-esque design and GUI ease of use, as well as the stuff to empty your wallet.

          Either Apple makes money by getting a portion of each phone sold, or they are hoping that people's phones will fill up really quick with music, and then these people will break down and purchase iPods as well, or a combination of both.
      • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @10:47AM (#11115456) me=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=32 []

        I can throw a little more gas onto the Apple phone rumors. I was on a train this weekend, watching an episode of the Simpsons on my Treo600. The gentleman sitting across from me asked me how I liked the phone. I told him I loved it and we began a tech conversation. He mentioned that he worked for Motorola. I told him I was a Macintosh consultant, and then he dropped the bomb! "I've got a scoop for you", he teased.

        Apparently some of his associates had been telling him earlier in the week about an Apple branded phone that had been circulating around the office at Motorola. The phone had Motorola components, but most certainly had Apple brandings on it. He said that he did not have a chance to handle the phone, but that his direct supervisor did. The phone was "sleek and sexy" in her words. He mentioned that there was talk amongst the people who had seen it that itunes and iphoto would factor into this device somehow. They also said that the phone had a slot on the top (media slot?) as well as what looked to be a usb 2.0 port on the bottom.

        All very interesting. He gave me his card, so I'll be sure to press him for more details in the coming weeks.

        Stay Tuned!
        Tony Ricciardi

        Also, from another source:

        It's basically the successor to the Motorola E398 [], but with iTunes, and extensive Apple influence and iPod integration. I haven't seen it yet, but my info is direct from Moto top people.

        The current Motorola E398 was a tri-band GSM bar form factor phone, with a large screen, TransFlash slot, Bluetooth, camera, media player, speakerphone, and FM tuner. And since this offering is GSM, and Steve Jobs has twice trotted out Cingular CEO Stephen Carter at Macworld keynotes, and given other carriers' resistance to the idea of iTunes on a phone (for reasons of either not wanting to provide bandwidth for such a service at a reasonable cost, OR being opposed to having full computer/device connectivity via Bluetooth bypassing their networks), it would appear that Cingular/AT&T might be a good candidate to carry such a device.

        And for all those who think that Motorola phones suck OR are only basing your opinion on NEXTEL phones, trust me: they've gotten a LOT better, and actually have some excellent offerings (e.g., RAZR V3 [] and v710 [], Verizon crippling aside).
    • Or maybe it could be the first cell phone with HD. I still think they will squeeze one in a PDA first.
      • There are already two cell phones with 4 GB hard drives. I can't recall which models they were, but they are totally Japan-only deals. Check on engadget [], that's where I've seen the stories.
  • by Wacky_Wookie ( 683151 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:20AM (#11113231) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if there will be a U2 Edtion of the phone, all black, and with a #14 Key :)

    I also want a Moof ring tone!

    /end apple fan-boy-rant

  • Not to shabby (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flyinace2000 ( 687336 ) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:20AM (#11113240) Homepage
    Cellular would be the next logical area for apple to explorer. While i think a dedicated Apple Cellular phone would be interesting i don't think it would fly. A joint venture would be a good alternative. Make a slimmed downed ituens for a mobile device. Though i dobt VZW would carry such a cool phone...i mean they finally got bluetooth and look how that mess turned out.
  • Vice President? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If Eddie Cue has pre-empted the suprise and fawning over what could have been a Steve Jobs suprise announcement then Mr. Cue may very well be a Former Vice President by the time MacWorld Expo rolls around.
  • by xxblackice ( 547066 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:26AM (#11113269)
    it seems that this phone + mp3 player might be the convergence of the "flash based" ipod [] and the apple/motorola venture. Mac heads gotta have their lifeblood flowing...rumors...mmmm
    • IIRC, the Apple / Motorola venture to ad iTunes compatibility to cell phones was announced. The flash music-only thing was just a distortion by people that didn't know about the deal when it was made many months ago.
  • What brand name? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnaboy ( 569188 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:28AM (#11113279)
    I wonder whether this will be branded as an Apple phone or as a Motorola phone. Seeing as Motorola's marketing gusto seemed to die with the Star-Tac, I'm personally rooting for an Apple phone.
  • Mobile Device Teams (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wallitron ( 308146 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:29AM (#11113288) Homepage
    So many things are becoming an addition to the mobile phone, and different groups teaming up to cover their core areas. Obviously Sony are placed fairly well at the moment with their audio, imaging, comms and gaming devices. Who else will team up to compete?

    Personally, I'd love to see the Nintendo technologies meshed with Apple and Motorola. To me both Apple and Nintendo, lean towards highly usable, simple technology with high build quality.

    Who else is next?


    Glen Williams []
    • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:33PM (#11116597) Journal
      > So many things are becoming an addition to the mobile phone, and different
      > groups teaming up to cover their core areas. Obviously Sony are placed fairly
      > well at the moment with their audio, imaging, comms and gaming devices.

      Personally, I think that most additions that are bolted on a cell phone result in a substandard product.

      Consider a phone + camera combo.

      On one hand, I want my phone to be small and light.
      On the other hand, I want my digicam to take quality pictures, which requires a decently sized photosites and good optics (with lots of lens elements).

      These requirements are at odds with each other.

      On the other hand, adding audio functions to a cell phone should be doable without exessively compromising quality.

      Is there a reasonably priced cell phone + AM/FM radio + MP3 player combo in existance?
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:37AM (#11113327) Journal
    Is a lockout by Apple that prevents cellular companies from charging every time you want to transfer a tune, photo, or other stuff via Bluetooth.

    Every phone that I could use in my area is hobbled by SOB carriers who view BT as headset only, and charge for transfer of photos, ringtones and everything else.

    Not that I want the latest MP3 of Poo Doody as my ringtone, or want to take blurry, oversaturated photos with my phone...It's the principle of the thing...

    May Apple destroy the phone market as they have beaten the mp3 market.

    • Then buy your phone from somewhere like MobileBee [] Only the carrier branded phones are crippled, the rest are wide open as the manufacturer intended.

      I picked up a K700i a few months ago there, and it's nice that I can use all of the features on it. You will pay quite a bit more for the phone though, but if you use your phone as much as I do, it's worth it. Wireless bluetooth tether to a laptop for net access is a lifesave sometimes.
    • by THotze ( 5028 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:32AM (#11113564) Homepage
      I think you've got a point here.... you look like you're willing to pay for a nice, well-made phone that's stylish, well-made and has features you want in an easy-to-use manner, like what the Mac is to computers (arguably, but go along with me on this one) or what the iPod is to MP3 players.

      Some other people have pointed out that when people have gotten 'cool' phones in the past with popular features - say, bluetooth synchronization with computers - cell networks lock them out.

      I think Steve Jobs realizes how much money could be made in a phone that syncs with bluetooth the way its made to be done, as is evidenced by iSync, etc.

      And I think that Apple may be the only company in the position to get people to do what cell phone companies can only dream of - PAY for a consumer phone. Even if the phone is $500, there's a chance - a decent one - that Apple, if it is Apple-branded, could make it sell, just the way that Apple sold the original iPods so well, despite their price and that they were Mac-only for so long.

    • I have a Sony Ericsson T610 [] camera phone with T-Mobile service and a D-Link Bluetooth dongle. I can transfer whatever I want (MIDI ringtones, pictures, wallpaper, whatever) to and from the phone for free. Of course, I get charged if I take a picture and beam it to someone else through T-Mobile--but it's just as easy to move it to my Mac and email it.

      Apple includes a very good Bluetooth utility for browsing and transferring files on the phone. And iSync automatically syncs my address book with the contac
    • Can you get decent Cingular coverage in your area? I have a Sony-Ericsson T637 from them, and not only did it come SIM unlocked (I checked with a T-Mobile SIM, I'm not just guessing), the Bluetooth features are completely unhindered. I can use it with my Powerbook for GPRS internet, transferring images, any MIDI ringtone, and whatever else I could ever need on my phone.

      Definitely Verizon are bastards for crippling their Bluetooth phones, but it seems Cingular has not followed that path (yet?)

    • Every phone that I could use in my area is hobbled by SOB carriers who view BT as headset only, and charge for transfer of photos, ringtones and everything else.

      You've got to be kidding! I have a T616 and Cingular and I use Bluetooth for transferring pictures from my phone to my Mac, MIDI files from my Mac to my phone, and synchronizing Address Book and iCal information between the two all of the time.

      And I did all of that long before I got a Bluetooth headset.

      How could the carrier even begin to charge fo

  • Interesting. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nativespeaker ( 797751 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:37AM (#11113331) doesn't look like they'll be able to use the name iPhone...Nuvio's got it locked up: []
  • by the pickle ( 261584 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:41AM (#11113355) Homepage
    1) In Sino-Soviet Korea, a Beowulf cluster of iTunes-enabled fone overlords (who I, for one, welcome) plays Natalie Portman naked and petrified in hot grits to old people in a positive manner.
    2) ???
    3) Profit! Because the iPod has made Apple money hand over fist, so a fone that has the same general function (could this be the flash iPod everyone is talking about?) will likely be a giant seller.

    Problem is that cell fones are typically loss leaders for SOMEBODY, and we all know the iTMS is barely profitable, so I just don't see where the money would be coming from here.

    • You forgot "Its more then rediculous!"
    • Problem is that cell fones are typically loss leaders for SOMEBODY, and we all know the iTMS is barely profitable, so I just don't see where the money would be coming from here.

      From the same place that Apple gets their money from the iTMS: sales of the iPod. But in this senario, it's not sales of the iPod it's sales of this iPod phone. Whether Apple or Mot is actually doing the hardware-making, Apple will make money on it one way or another- whether they sell it and get that profit, or Mot sells it as h
    • The carriers are typically the ones who "lose" money selling phones (which really isn't truly a loss, they more than make up for it in the service charges). Cell phone manufactures don't typically have problems making money on their products. I doubt Apple would be losing money on these either. I was very skeptical about the iPod mini (I still don't really understand its appeal- for $50 more you can have 5 times the storage in a slightly larger, yet still extremely portable case), but they managed to out
    • The last line should read:

      3) Profit! Because the iPod has made Apple money hand over fist, so a fone that has the same general function (could this be the flash iPod everyone is talking about?) will likely be a giant seller, in Japan.

  • tip of the iceberg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mazzaroth ( 519229 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:43AM (#11113363) Homepage
    I can imagine the features:
    • iTunes ringback (what the caller hears is an iTune bought by the callee)
    • Distinctive iTune ringtone (I can program the ringtone I hear with an iTune I bought, according to the caller)
    • iTunes will not only sync with iPod but also with iPhone
    • iPhone to iPhone gifts (I bought an iTune and I give it to you)
    • iPhone to iPhone recommendations (I recommend an iTune to you)
    • Express your feeling with iTune (when you call her, she hears a music you selected)
    • ...
    it's just the beginning man! Wait 'till Apple sells movies, documentaries and radio shows...
    • iTunes ringback (what the caller hears is an iTune bought by the callee)

      I dont know how this would be possible.Any ringback/call waiting tune is set by the GSM service provider and not by the phone.Technically how can i hear something from the otherside before the otherside picks the call up i.e before i am connected to the otherside ?
      • by RevAaron ( 125240 ) <> on Friday December 17, 2004 @03:26AM (#11113744) Homepage
        I dont know how this would be possible.Any ringback/call waiting tune is set by the GSM service provider and not by the phone.Technically how can i hear something from the otherside before the otherside picks the call up i.e before i am connected to the otherside ?

        What's hard to understand about this? Are you aware that this is already being done? If not, consider yourself informed: ringbacks already exist, though they're not big in the US. If you are aware of this, what gives you the idea that having an iTunes purchased song as your ring back would be any different than any other MIDI, mp3 or sound effect that you'd have as a ringback?

        One day, remind me to tell you the story of computers. They transfer data. Sometimes, they just transfer data between the RAM to the CPU over the bus, but now a days, they are often transfering data also between different computers- say a cell provider's servers and a cell phone. A user can buy a song in iTMS-mobile, have the $1 charged to their phone bill, listen to it and go into a little menu where they say "make this my ringback." How it gets to become the ringback could happen in a number of ways. The most likely senario is that the 20 second sound sample- say, the chorus of the song- is accessed by the cell provider's server, no doubt via connecting to some iTMS server. It could grab that 20 seconds of song and set it as the ringback, however those whacky GSM service providers go around doing that.

        The user could probably even have a GUI form on the phone that gives them the illusion that they're "recording" the section they want for their ring back, or perhaps just setting the whole thing. But in the end, it just communicates with the cell provider- who already obviously an agreement with Apple/Mot if they're providing this service already- the hash # for the song in question and the markers for where to begin the sample and where to end it. Simple as that.

        I'll leave the other very possible- but not too likely- method as an exercise for the reader. A hint: it has again with computers communicating. Uploading, even.
  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:47AM (#11113385)
    Who's going to buy an iPod phone when we've all already gone out and bought Ngages?
  • by Thu25245 ( 801369 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:50AM (#11113396)
    Okay, so it's now wireless. But I bet it'll have less space than a Nomad.

  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <(ten.pbp) (ta) (maps)> on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:26AM (#11113540)
    Please, for the love of god, I just want a phone that will actually make phone calls in my apartment. *whimper*

    I'm not in the boonies. I'm a mere 20 miles East of San Francisco in an area where the median home prices is over $700,000. People have money.

    But I can't make a phone call from my apartment. Verizon comes close, but Cingular, AT&T Wireless, Sprint, Nextel - none of them work.
    My old ass MetroPCS phone is the only phone that I get more than 3 "bars" with. And it doesn't have a camera, either.

    What ever happened to making call quality the #1 priority? I don't want a camera phone! I don't want an mp3 player! I just want to make friggin PHONE CALLS!
    *head as-plodes*
    • Hmm, well, the standard of VOIP is pretty good with a good network connection. Maybe you could buy one of those pretty boxes from the guy who makes lindows -- the ones with a RJ11 on one side and ethernet on the other.

      That way you can get a portable phone that will work at home :-)
    • by dtmos ( 447842 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @07:25AM (#11114537)
      Check your renters'/homeowners' associations.

      This happens in my area, too, and it's caused by the NIMBY attitude of people when they see a cell phone tower. Even if the cellular provider proposes a camouflaged tower (one that looks like a tree, etc.), they are beaten back by the pseudoscience wackos threatening health problems. They've even taken out existing towers ("Too close to the schools--think of the children!"), which I suspect is why you remember your MetroPCS phone fondly. As a result, my nearest cell tower is a zillion miles away and, like you, I have no coverage indoors.
  • by johnpaul191 ( 240105 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:32AM (#11113570) Homepage
    the article says the phone is NOT AN IPOD. we knew Apple made a version of Quicktime for cellphones. this makes it sound like the phone will just use Apple software to playback some MP3/AAC songs on your phone. a dozen songs requires very little flash memory. i would guess the phone would be able to play songs bought at iTMS. the fact that the article mentions putting songs on a phone via bluetooth/cable and how that would bypass the carrier, i guess that means we will not see iTMS shopping via cell phone.

    maybe the rumors are way off and this is what the flash iPod is. the Moto V710 phone has a removable memory card you can put MP3 files on and play them as ringtones, or listen to them on the speakerphone. i guess headphones or a carkit would be possible too? who knows. you have to read the article knowing some are quotes from Apple and Moto and some is filler/speculation by Forbes. not to diss them, but it's possible they don't totally know and are off the mark with their speculation.

    and i quote:
    At the event, Jobs took pains to point out that the phone would not compete with Apple's popular iPod music player, but should viewed as an iPod accessory. "Wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you" on a cell phone, Jobs said at the time.

    The companies said they plan to release a phone that will connect locally to computers unning Microsoft's Windows as well as Apple's Macintosh computers using a cable or a Bluetooth wireless connection.
  • rob me (Score:4, Funny)

    by ogewo ( 652234 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @03:43AM (#11113807)
    Now the mugger will get a phone with his mp3 player
  • How About iSync? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaedalusLogic ( 449896 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @04:04AM (#11113874)
    How about Apple and Motorola produce a phone that fully synchronizes with iSync for all the productivity items like contacts and calendars? The only folks that make such devices are Nokia and Siemens. I want everything down to the photo on the Address Book entry... plus decent enough e-mail for getting warning messages from the servers.
  • Is it just me or would it be really amazing if they released a phone with essentially an iPod mini integrated into it? That's all the convergence device I would need really. Seriously, why hasn't anyone released in the US either a phone or a PDA with a built in HD? The iPod mini shows the hard drive can be pretty damn small.

    With an iPod mini integrated into a phone, you could get phone call making, mp3 playing, and basic PDA functionality all in one. Basically all I need from a mobile device. And you could
  • ...a Bluetooth stereo headset like this Blueant rig []. The biggest problems seem to be (1) a fragmented US cell phone market and (2) limited Bluetooth capabilities on the few phones that have it at all. Wouldn't it take a large company to crack these two nuts, and couldn't they be cracked by dealing with manufacturers and service providers at the same time?

    Apple's iPod hardware buddy HP seems to sell might-look-good-in-white, curiously out-of-stock bluetooth stereo headphones [], but without a mic. Hmmm...

  • All white, beautiful OS, iTunes support, iTMS support, sync to mac and PC.

    But just one button :(
  • by Zemplar ( 764598 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:21AM (#11114928) Journal
    "Your current wait is expected to be two hours, twenty-five minutes...."
  • by for_usenet ( 550217 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @11:07AM (#11115626)

    I have to admit I'm a bit curious about all the effort and publicity surrounding this, but I guess with Apple and Motorola being former bedroom buddies and with iTunes and Apple as hot as they are right now, anything involving either would make news.

    Most of Apple's functions (Bluetooth, MP3, AAC, 3GPP, contact synchroniztion) already work with Nokia's Symbian platform right now, except for iTunes' DRM - which, admittedly, is the show-stopper. But why would you not also try to partner with, or license your stuff to, another company who has done much of the grunt work already ?

  • Samsung Uproar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by onthefenceman ( 640213 ) <szoepf AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday December 17, 2004 @11:08AM (#11115639)

    IIRC the Samsung Uproar [] was the first phone to come out with mp3 playback capability. For the technology available at the time (2001) it was a great device - 64MB flash player with a decent phone.

    One of the best features of that phone was completely unintentional - since it had stereo headphones for both phone and mp3 player usage you could have two people talk on the phone at the same time without having to use a speakerphone by giving each person one of the earpieces.

  • by ReelOddeeo ( 115880 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:44PM (#11116744)
    Isn't this the same news organization that has such wonderful writers as Daniel Lyons, and publishes glowing articles about what a wonderful case SCO has? Wern't they buying SCO's story even as of August 2004?
  • The last analyst report I saw pointed out that the entire revenue from legal downloads amounted to 5% of the current revenue from mobile phone ringtones.

    If I was Apple I'd be selling ringtones on the ITMS.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.