Apple may eventually introduce its own ‘iPhone’ cell phone-iPod combo and create Apple MVNO

“With the help of Motorola, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs finally made good last week on his pledge to deliver a cellular phone that plays music like an iPod, Apple’s wildly successful digital music player,” Reuters reports. “Even so, many expect Apple to go further. Ultimately, Apple may introduce its own cell phone-iPod combination, dubbed the ‘iPhone,’ designed by Apple itself from the ground up and which would most likely be made by a contract electronics manufacturer such as Flextronics.”

“If Apple were to design its own phone and partner with a contract electronics manufacturer, which it could then sell to its own network of retail stores, it would need to set up what is known as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO,” Reuters reports. “An MVNO such as Virgin Mobile USA typically does not have its own network. It purchases minutes from traditional carriers and resells them to its own customers… Apple said last week that it retained flexibility in the deal it struck with Motorola. As it tests the market for music on mobile phones, Apple is free to work with other handset makers and cellular providers, said Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of worldwide product marketing. ‘We have flexibility to do many things,’ Schiller said.”

Reuters reports, “But perhaps the most titillating indication of Apple’s intentions is a Web site, A visit to that Web site brings a visitor to Apple’s own home page, and the site itself is registered to Apple.”

Full article here.

Mark Gilbert writes for Bloomberg News, “The world doesn’t want an iPhone made by Motorola Inc., any more than it wanted an iPod sporting Hewlett-Packard Co.’s logo. The world wants Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs to don his black turtleneck and prance around a stage in California waving a bona fide Apple iPhone encased in white plastic, preferably featuring the intuitive software and click-wheel hardware interfaces that helped make the iPod such a hit. ‘We question Apple’s motive to partner with Motorola,’ wrote Mike Walkley, the senior wireless technologies analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis, in a note to clients last month. ‘f the long-term threat to iPods is a cell phone/MP3 player combo, Apple should make its own iPhone, turning the threat into an opportunity.'”

Full article here.
Again, Apple should make their own Apple-designed, Apple-branded mobile phone. A phone that the iPod nano would simply slip in and out of at the user’s whim. Or a phone that would slip on and off your iPod nano. Either way, the Apple “iPhone” would be a phone that becomes musical with the addition of your iPod. There’d be no cannibalization if Apple approached the design in this way.

Related articles:
If Apple isn’t working on their own iPhone, they’re making a stupid mistake – September 12, 2005
Music phones pose no threat to Apple iPod – September 09, 2005
Does Apple need a mobile phone of its own design? – September 09, 2005
USA Today: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone provides ‘snazzy’ first impression – September 08, 2005
NYT’s Pogue: Motorola ROKR iTunes phone ‘great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun’ – September 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Apple announces Motorola ROKR iTunes phone, Cingular partnership, iTunes 5 – September 07, 2005
Apple, Motorola & Cingular debut world’s first iTunes mobile phone – September 07, 2005
Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone availability dates for Europe, North America, and Asia – September 07, 2005
Forbes: Apple Computer planning to become a phone company? – July 08, 2005


  1. If Apple goes the MVNO route, would it give them more control over the process? i.e., can they allow song purchases on the phone (and set the price themselves), MP3 ringtones (again, Apple’s call on the price, if any), Bluetooth synching, etc? Or is MVNO just a marketing thing with the cellco puppetmasters still pulling the strings? If Apple can get out from under the thumb of the carriers, they could make it work.

  2. Whoa there macdude, for many this issue is an important one as it is for me coming to the point where a new cellphone is needed.

    Since cellphones are quite cheap it works out cheaper to replace the whole phone when the battery begins to run out quicker than it used to.

    So with that in mind the buzz surrounding the Moto ROKR and being like you macdude a fan of Apple and OS X, having a phone be designed by Apple using like mentioned in the article the MVNO route is what I would rather buy as my next new cellphone like many others who are in the same position as me.

  3. I see your point Winston and yes if only Apple had the cellphone market clout, which to point out is IMO where Motorola come in with the ROKR.

    Apple’s iPhone could also have wireless technology, I don’t mean Bluetooth, that is a no brainer, I mean the 802.11 a,b,g protocol built in as standard.

    So the iPhone would become Apple’s return to the PDA market with a difference, iPhone would be a very smart phone that has the ability to use wireless hotspots as well as the cellphone infrastructure for connectivity. Other features, not to mention the ability to allow users to buy tracks using the phone as that too is a no brainer, but a mobile version of OS X – now that IMO would burn M$ even more.

    To crystal ball gaze for a moment the iPhone could in fact be the ‘iPod killer’ product to use the term seen around the web. Being made my Apple of course wouldn’t be a detriment to current users of iPods, including myself. Consider the new Samsung NAND flash storage announcement.

  4. Notice the ROKR is NOT called iPhone. That’s because iPhone hasn’t been released yet. Apple will do so in time, when the price of memory comes down, the iPod nano has tripled storage capacity, and perhaps even a video iPod-type device is ready to take the place of the standard iPod in Apple’s lineup. Then Apple has the iPhone with 1-2 GB song capacity, iPod Shuffles with 10-30 GB, 40-80 GB iPod nanos, and the vPod with 100+ GB. Then the phones don’t scavenge iPod shuffle/nano sales, and nanos don’t destroy iPod sales.

    Apple’s not about to drop the ball on this. That’s why iPhone is not in use yet. Apple wants us to walk into an Apple store, Circuit City, etc. and ask for an iPhone, not a Motorola ROKR with iTunes. The Motorola phone is a stopgap.

  5. On one hand I want Apple to simply build amazingly great computers and nothing else. The other side of me wants Apple to enter every electronics market – consumer and commercial.
    iTV – awesome plasma TV screens for home use
    iMedia – home media system for audio/video
    iGame – game controller
    iRegister – cool store cash registers
    iCredit – integrated credit card machines
    iCommunication – residential & business phone systems
    iSecurity – mac based security system w/attractive sensors
    iCalculator – hand held calculators
    and anything else that has a chip.

    What if Jonathan Ive were able to design the iCar? It would be smaller, more efficient and way cooler than anything else offered by any car maker. Every world manufacturer needs to look at Apple’s engineering and design record and ask if they can do the same. Of course, they can’t, as they don’t have the SJ and JI combination.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.