Fortune’s Lewis: Apple iTunes software the only cute thing about Motorola’s ROKR mobile phone

“How could they not make beautiful music together? It’s just over nine months since Motorola, maker of the gorgeously thin and stylish RAZR V3 mobile phone, announced that it was planning a baby with Apple, maker of the wildly popular iPod and iTunes digital-music systems. Now the celebrity tech companies have finally unveiled their love child, the ROKR model E1 GSM wireless music phone. Cingular, the mobile-service provider, acted as midwife,” Peter Lewis writes for Fortune.

“Even some people who coo that all babies are beautiful may feel a reflexive need to stifle a boo. “How … nice,” I heard myself saying, which of course is what one says when the baby is homely, a bit backward, lacking in personality, and more than a little stinky. Even as he introduced the new phone recently at an event in San Francisco, Steve Jobs, whose Apple iTunes software is the only cute thing about the ROKR, appeared to hold it at a distance, sort of like Michael Jackson dangling his baby over a hotel railing. Success has many fathers, the saying goes, but even with Motorola, Apple, and Cingular in the ménage à trois, ROKR is probably destined for an orphanage,” Lewis writes.

Much more in the full article here.
Another glowing review for Motorola’s ROKR.

Advertisement: Apple iPod nano. 1,000 songs. Impossibly small. From $199. Free shipping.

Related articles:
Consumer Reports: Apple’s iPod nano ‘sizzles,’ Motorola ROKR mobile phone ‘fizzles’ – September 21, 2005
BBC: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone design ‘feels like yesterday’s phone by UK standards’ – September 17, 2005
Hands on review of Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone – September 12, 2005
Motorola ROKR iTunes-enabled mobile phone greeted with cool response – September 12, 2005
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
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Video of Steve Jobs introducing iPod nano, ROKR iTunes phone now available online – 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


  1. Motorola is still puzzled at the fact that Apple made Motorola pay for the convention center etc. (if Motorola was indeed that gullible) in order to introduce the ROKR; and finally reveal iPod nano which simply overshadowed the ROKR.

    MDN magic word: fear. Now Motorola fears Apple might enter the cellphone market.

  2. I still wonder if the ROKR’s lack of style was by design. Perhaps Jobs insisted it NOT look cool like the RAZR so that it wouldn’t compete on that level with the iPod. This way, if someone buys a ROKR and buys music via iTunes for it, enjoys iTunes on the phone, but decides that they’re missing out on the cool factor (not to mention storage which may have been another point of insistence), they’ll go out and buy an iPod.

  3. If the phone didn’t suck ass, it would be a great partnership. Yet what’s been said again and again, the American cell phone market blows huge donkey cock. If they would have introduced the phone with NTT/DoCoMo, it would have been an awesome phone, and could have given them an excellent entry into the lackluster American marketplace.

  4. “This way, if someone buys a ROKR and buys music via iTunes for it, enjoys iTunes on the phone, but decides that they’re missing out on the cool factor (not to mention storage which may have been another point of insistence), they’ll go out and buy an iPod.”

    This is the answer — one that’s been repeated here many times but that hasn’t really stuck. Do people really believe that Jobs wants iTunes-enabled phones to eclipse iPods?

    Jobs wanted to get his hands into Cingular’s customer base pockets.

  5. cingular needs to talk to it’s other phone providers and get them to include itunes as a possible add on this would cause moto to revise the rokr line and/or add itunes across the entire moto product line.

  6. So much for the peecee knuckle-heads that accuse Apple of being too much “in control” of every damn thing.

    Let’s see now:

    1. Apple builds Macintosh OS X and also builds Macintosh hardware and also builds iApps. The result? The whole thing rocks!

    2. Apple builds iPods and iTunes and online Music Store. The result? The whole thing rocks! I see a pattern here.

    On the other hand:
    1. M$FT cobbles together Windblows, Hell/HP/yada yada cobbles together crap peecees. The result? Good guess – they suck!

    2. M$FT cobbles together Windblows Media Player, “Creative”/Diamond/yada yada cobbles together so called “iPod killers”. The result? You’re very good at this – yes, they are shit!

    3. Apple throws Motorola and Cingular their iTunes software for the Moto’ ROKR for Cingular’s network. The result? Yes, it is shit.

    Lessons learned? I’ll give up the “feeling” of heterogeneous freedom in return for Apple building me computers, iPods, software and anything else they feel like. Why? They’re so damn good at it!

    Rock on Steve

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  7. What no one seems to be answering is that this phone was delayed several months to come out with the ROKR phone. Why? Because Apple realized that Motorola’s designs suck and they changed course to make it Motorola’s baby, with iTunes slapped in.

    iPhone is coming, it’s just on hold until Apple can figure out how to either market it to the mobile phone carriers or set up its own service.

Reader Feedback

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