Forbes: Motorola’s Apple iTunes phone may hold just 25 songs

“For more than a year, Apple and Motorola’s plans to release an iTunes-enabled phone have tantalized the music and mobile phone businesses. Now, with the two companies set to unveil the long-rumored handset Sept. 7, they might be underdelivering,” David M. Ewalt and Peter Kafka report for Forbes. “A person who has seen a version of the phone says it was designed to accommodate just 25 songs, which would be ‘sideloaded’ from a user’s computer using iTunes. The phone was equipped with a 128-megabyte Sandisk TransFlash memory card–just one-quarter the capacity of Apple’s smallest iPod, the 512-megabyte shuffle, which holds about 120 songs.”

“While it should be possible to swap out the memory card on the new iTunes phone for one with more capacity, the person who has seen the handset says the phone’s software appears to artificially cap song storage at 25 songs, regardless of how much memory the phone has,” Ewalt and Kafka report. “It is possible that the model the source previewed is different than the one Apple and Motorola will unveil next week. It is also possible that the two companies may be introducing multiple versions of an iTunes phone with different capacities.”

Full article here.
Those must be 25 loooooong songs, because, according to a Reuters report, Motorola themselves stated in March 2005 that they were “working on several mobile phones that are compatible with Apple Computers’s iTunes music service, some of which can store eight hours of songs.” That same Reuters report actually went on to state, “The fact that some iTunes phones can store eight hours of music or more is different from initial announcements last year that Motorola phones would only carry a small number of songs.”

To be fair, in July 2004, Forbes themselves reported that “Jobs [underscored] that Motorola’s phones would not compete with Apple’s iPods. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you’ on your cell phone, Jobs told the crowd. Apple’s iPods store hundreds of hours of music.”

What happened in between July 2004 and March 2005? Well, Sony-Ericsson announced in February 2005 that they would release a “Walkman phone” sporting “between 250MB and 750MB of storage” or “about 6-10 CDs” worth of music. And in April 2005, Nokia announced their N91 mobile would store 3,000 songs in a 4GB drive.

Things change. So, for now, we’re going to take Motorola’s more-recent word combined with pressure being applied from Sony-Ericsson and Nokia over Forbes’ “person who has seen a version of the phone.”

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Bona fide Apple iPod killer? Nokia’s 4GB mobile ‘jukebox’ phone due by Christmas – April 28, 2005
Motorola says it’s working on more iTunes phones, some models ‘can store eight hours of music’ – March 10, 2005
Sony Ericsson plans Walkman phone with AAC support – February 15, 2005
Motorola posts Steve Jobs’ Apple iTunes announcement video – July 28, 2004
Apple, Motorola iTunes deal not exclusive, debuts Apple’s licensing of FairPlay DRM – July 27, 2004


  1. I agree with MDN. 25 songs from Moto compared with the offerings from Sony and Nokia would make for an instant flop. I think if we also take into account the rumors of a 4 GB flash iPod (and maybe 2 GB flash iPod as well), Apple could easily allow a 512 MB (at least) MotoPod, move the base iPod shuffle to 1 GB (@ $99) and not have to worry about too much cannibalization from the MotoPod.

    MW: “feeling”…how suitable.

  2. No way dude. 25 songs would make the mobile iTunes software look limited compared to any other music software for mobile phones. If there is going to be a handy-cap it will most likely be in the formats supported; no Apple Lossless and no uncompressed AIFF, just like the iPod Shuffle. Speaking of which, the Shuffle is a lot cheaper than the mobile phone so it would not be competing for the same customers.

  3. Do we ever hear anything good from Motorola?
    Do they ever get anything right?
    Apple should work with Nokia instead.
    Nokia has already telephone that can do iTunes. Only thing that Apple has to do is to license iTunes for Nokia and hook it up with iTMS. Nokia phone has 4 gigs of memory so it holds nice amount of music.

  4. This ipodomotophono saga is so over baked. How long has this story been trotting around waiting for Stevego to get his panties right so he can announce it? Remember it was supposed to come out months ago and Steve nixed it.
    And all for 25 songs????
    On a phone??? I´ve got toenail clippers that will hold that many songs.

    Put this product in the “too late to market” file. zzzzzzzzzzzz.

  5. I still think Apple will announce a super-slim flashed based iPod mini. I can just see a picture of those jeans with an iPod slipped into the change pocket. Yes… that’s it- It’ll be called the new “iPod pocket”. Brilliant!
    Mind you I do also like the idea of an iPod Borg implant. After all they’re announcing on Seven of Nine! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Looks like a war is about to heat up.

    “Our phone holds 2000 songs!”

    “Well our phone holds 4000 songs!”

    Customer: “How long does the battery last?”

    Both: “About a hour, as long as you don’t make any calls of course”

  7. “Apple should work with Nokia instead.” One guy from Finland

    I think Apple went with Moto is because it’s an american company (though for ages I always thought Moto was a Japanese company with it’s so Jap-like name), Nokia and SonyEricsson are not, it’s much easiler to deal with someone that has a similar culture, apart from the RAZR’s line of phones I can say all of Moto’s designs are much inferier to that of Nokia or SE, esp. hardware-wise. Do i wish Apple work with Nokia or SE, of course! maybe one day!

  8. voodoo

    If it is question about the culture then Nokia is far better than Motorola or Sony Ericsson.
    Especially Motorolas culture stinks. They don´t do anything right.

    Nokia is besides world leader in the mobile telephones and they already have working model with iTunes in it. Question is only about licenses. Nothing else.

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