If Apple isn’t working on their own iPhone, they’re making a stupid mistake

“SanDisk is supplying the removable memory for the Apple/Motorola iTunes phone, the Motorola ROKR – and 2GB storage is possible in 2006,” Jonny Evans reports for Macworld UK. “Last week, SanDisk confirmed that its 512MB microSD card is being bundled with the phone, and that the card is capable of carrying ‘approximately’ 120 songs, though the ROKR has song capacities capped at 100 tunes.”

Evans reports, “There’s potential for future growth. The company expects to have 1GB microSD cards in limited quantities by late in the fourth quarter of 2005 and 2GB cards in 2006. This suggests ways future iTunes phones can offer new and higher capacities, and also hints that ROKR owners may be able to carry multiple music collections on their memory cards for different moods.”

Full article here.
This is ridiculous. The iPod nano is already the size of a gnat’s you-know-what and holds 4GB right now. If Apple isn’t working on an Apple-designed, Apple-branded “iPhone,” they’re making a stupid mistake. If Apple’s this scared of mobile phones that play music (as shown by their artificial 100-song limit on the ROKR), then they must think that mobile phones that play music have potential to hurt iPod. So, make one already, Mr. Jobs! One that the iPod nano simply slips in and out of at the user’s whim, okay? Or one that slips on and off your iPod nano. Either way, the Apple “iPhone” is a phone that becomes musical with the addition of your iPod. No cannibalization that way, right?

Related articles:
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

24 Comments

  1. If the max is 120 and it’s capped at 100 songs then maybe it’s to leave room for saving the photos the phone takes and not a stupid marketing decision. Also, the phone looks more impressive in person than online, but it’s still not anything to get excited about.

  2. More than an actual phone I would equally like to see general phone versions of iCal, address book, safari etc with full sync capabilities. It can only make life easier for everyone and promote apples existing hardware in just the same way that iTunes mobile can only serve to promote the iPod itself. Then make a phone by all means.

  3. It is an interesting question for apple .. to do or not to do?

    iTunes runs on computers and plays music from there … yet apple is happy for people to use iTunes on their computers and on other’s computers just as long as they keep buying songs and iPods.

    With phones it could go either way .. either they look at it as a platform … i.e. all phones will have music capabilities, so why not give them a version of iTunes that works on the various OS (e.g. Symbian, MS etc.) and allow people to continue to buy music through iTunes (therefore reaching a much bigger audience? Well the key will be when people actually start downloading songs on the phone … they were already doing it in mass on the PC before ITMS came along, not so the phone.

    As in the PC business Apple could then make their own phone but the majors might squeeze them out from the network deals … it is a dog eat dog world out there … and therefore force Apple to sell a full price device through its own stores … could work for GSM networks where you just insert the SIM card.

    Does seem however that phone tecnology changes very rapidly and Apple would not have the scale to spend all the R&D $$ needed and have a competitively priced mass market product.

    So essentially they could compete at the high end and supply iTunes for users to download to their lower end phones with music capabilities.

    And anyway there is an argument, for the moment anyway, that people are quite happy with 2 devices especially if one is as thin and small as the iPod Nano …

    my 2 cents worth

    Cheers

  4. Actually it is clearer to me now:

    As long as the phone is not a platform for downloading music that is used by the mass market then Apple will keep the iPod proprietary.

    When the phone does turn into a download platform, which it eventually will, then it will make sense for apple to license or offer free downloads of iTunes

    Cheers

  5. The cell phone market is way overcrowded by companies with a lot of cash to burn. Don’t go there Apple.

    I’d rather see Apple invest in the digital living room, gaming/gaming companies, or software for the enterprise.

  6. An important reason Apple should design a phone is that the user interface/experience for cell phones stinks. Too many buttons, too many clicks required to do the most simple things. This is why many other mp3 players suck rocks, they were designed by engineers with no understanding of human factors. Most analysts/tech reviewers are stuck with the thought that aesthetics are what drives people to Apple products (“iPods look coo…l”), but it innovative approach to the human-device interaction that is the true power.

  7. Actually, I like MDN’s take…

    If Apple were to design a phone, that could encase a Nano, that would rock! The phone would act as the Nano’s dock, and the song information and controls would then go to the phone! I like that idea! That way, if there are higher capacity Nanos in the future, you could simply replace your Nano, and keep your iPhone!

  8. If Apple’s this scared of mobile phones that play music (as shown by their artificial 100-song limit on the ROKR), then they must think that mobile phones that play music have potential to hurt iPod. So, make one already, Mr. Jobs!

    Most people don’t care about the ROKR because it pales in functionality to a non-convergence ipod.

    Phones aren’t going to kill the iPod like Thurrott thinks.

    Apple turn around and try and screw Moto?

    Get lost..

  9. I think Apple made the right choice with going with Motorola in the first instance to build the iTunes client installed ROKR.

    As one or two of you have pointed out that the cellphone market is already a cutthroat business and for Apple it is just too dangerous in that respect.

    I certainly do see that if Apple did make their own phone it would dilute the current inventory for both new buyers and would be upgraders.

    Perhaps the Moto ROKR is also a market tester for Apple before venturing in depending on the results, a very prudent move IMO.

    One scenario I can envision should’ve Apple entered the market with their own design and build of cellphone is that as a buyer of the phone may face a dilemma in respect to the carriers. Will all the carriers, be it Cingular, Sprint, Verizon for the USA and O2, Virgin, Orange in the UK, not forgetting T-Mobile to name but a few on both sides of the pond, offer price plans with the use of this phone?

    Since the phone doesn’t have the regular cellphone display since as Jobs said it is an iTunes client a question that might scupper its success is one of support and sales staff training for the carriers own line of stores. For a computer company that Apple is by doing this IMO is a risk that is simply too big right now.

    Maybe as mentioned the Nano might yet turn into Apples own iPhone depending on how successful or not the ROKR is.

    For a newcomer it is nigh on impossible to get all the major cellphone carriers together at the board meeting table and agree on the iPhone as opposed to Motorola, which already has established itself in the cellphone market.

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