Apple in deal with Cingular to offer Motorola iTunes phone [UPDATED]

“Apple Computer has reached an agreement with Cingular Wireless to offer a Motorola cellphone that will play songs from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apple also may introduce a line of iPod digital music players intended to replace its hugely popular iPod mini line, a person familiar with the matter said. The announcements could come as soon as next week, according to the Journal. Cingular is expected to make the phone available in time for Christmas. Officials at Apple, cell phone maker Motorola and Cingular, a joint venture of SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp., declined to comment.

Full article (subscription required) here.

In late June, Sinead Carew reported for Reuters, “‘Motorola and Apple have been talking to Cingular about it using the iTunes phone,’ according to one of the sources, who asked not to be named. RBC Capital analyst Mark Sue said in a recent research note that Apple and Cingular were working out final details on revenue sharing.”

Full article (subscription required) here.

“Apple Computer and Motorola plan to unveil a long-awaited mobile phone and music player next week that will incorporate Apple’s iTunes software, a telecommunications industry analyst who has been briefed on the announcement said on Monday,” Matt Richtel reports for The New York Times. “The development marks a melding of two of the digital era’s most popular devices, the cellphone and the iPod, which has become largely synonymous with the concept of downloading songs from the Internet or transferring them from compact discs.”

Richtel reports that Roger Entner, a telecommunications analyst with Ovum, a market research firm, said he had been told by an industry executive that the new phone, to be made by Motorola, “would be marketed by Cingular Wireless” and that “the software will allow people to transfer songs from a personal computer to the mobile phone, then listen to the songs, presumably through headphones. ‘It’s a deluxe music player now on your cellphone,’ he said of the device.”

According to Richtel, Apple, Motorola and Cingular all declined to confirm or deny the report. But Apple did announce on Monday that it would hold a major news event on September 7th in San Francisco that it suggested was music-related.

Full article (free registration required) here.

Engadget is reporting that a source involved with making the commercials for the new handset has confirmed that the Motorola iTunes device “will hold 100 songs because Apple is worried about cannibalizing iPod shuffle sales.” Engadget also has more information about upcoming TV commercials for the device here.

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22 Comments

  1. wow, 100 songs. they really aim to be badasses from start – I thought maybe 4-5 songs…with an BTO option to carry a whole 10 songs.
    The songs from iTunes will be downgraded to 96kbps of course since it’s been proven by steve jobs himself that no one actually hears the difference. But hey, the accessories aftermarket will run havoc.

  2. Well, heck. Might as well toss the old Google iTMS portal rumor back into the speculative fray, too. I been kinda missing that one for a while. That was a good one, while it lasted. heh.

  3. As usual all the cool new cell phone technology isn’t available to Verizon customers. If corporate moguls think Apple is a “stick-in-the-mud”, then they haven’t dealt with Verizon. I’d switch to Cingular/AT&T in a snap if I could get it here.

    Crap!

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