Cingular Exec says over one million Apple iTunes-capable phones sold, comments on iPhone, more

“Cingular Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, unveiled a new phone this week that taps into subscription music services from Napster, Yahoo! and eMusic and streaming radio from XM Satellite Radio,” Dan Frommer reports for Forbes. “It’s the first phone in the U.S. that taps into Napster and Yahoo!’s services, which give subscribers all-you-can-eat access to music for a monthly fee, each around $15.”

“Cingular’s new black-and-gray Samsung flip phone is similar in size to Motorola’s popular RAZR and supports the carrier’s third-generation, or ‘3G,’ high-speed data network. At its introductory price of $50, it’s cheaper than almost all other portable music players– Apple Computer’s lowest-priced iPod, the Shuffle, sells for $79,” Frommer reports. “Right now, users still need to transfer new music to the phone from a computer–not over the cellular network. And because the phone and services use a proprietary Microsoft encoding format, the music won’t work on iPods or Apple computers; the phones also won’t play songs purchased from Apple’s iTunes store.”

Robert Hyatt, executive director for entertainment and music services for Cingular, a joint venture of AT&T and BellSouth, sat down with Forbes.com Thursday to discuss the new phone and the business of wireless entertainment. Some of the discussion mentioned Apple:

Apple is widely rumored to be working on an iPod phone. Does today’s deal mean you won’t be announcing a new iPhone soon?
We can’t comment on the future with Apple. Great partner to date. We just released today that we’ve sold more than a million iTunes-capable phones [Note: Cingular currently sells three phone models that run Apple’s iTunes music software]. In today’s world, there’s lots of interest in music. There’s some degree of adoption. We’ve got a very broad approach. We have the Apple stuff in our camp. We have all the other music stores in our camp. We like that versus the position our competitors are in. We’re still at a point where music adoption is relatively small versus where it will end up, and we think having a broad approach makes sense.

So, is Apple making a phone or not?
I don’t know, actually [laughs]. Fortunately, I don’t know. Because if I knew … I’d have to tell you, “I don’t know” [laughs].

Full article here.

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17 Comments

  1. There will be an Apple phone, and it is due to the fact, and this is a fact, that is Apple sat back and never produced a phone, within 2-3 years time, Cell phones with WMA format, along with Zune-based phones, would be the new dominate products for portable media (in a phone) vs. a media-only iPod solution.

    However, Apple cannot afford to get into bed as it were with current services, becoming no different than Motorola, Samsung, etc…

    Apple must control the entire solution from stem to stern in order to differentiate and ultimately – win.

    Apple cares about one thing – winning – and they will do that buy becoming a MVNO, via T-Mobile and delivering a state-of-the-art phone and solution to the market place.

    Apple will again play work over the model of giving away the blades to sell the razor (not phone razor pun intended).

    Monthly service fees will be very price competitive in minutes, but deliver the user a host of services standard, vs. the competition which nickles and dimes its users $4.99 here and $9.99 a month there.

    The Phone will be in a typical iPod range, with perhaps $50 off when signing up for a two-year plan.

    By the time the phone and service arrives, Apple will have sold 80 million+ iPods, and have a massive iTunes install base nearing the 100 million PC range.

    Count on Apple to sell 20 million+ phones in the first year in the US alone, making easy conversions of millions of iPod owners, along with new switchers…

    Apple will quickly become the 3rd or 4th largest service provider in the country.

  2. Like I said before Cingular sucks

    At its introductory price of $50, it’s cheaper than almost all other portable music players

    It’s because it’s a loss leader, sell you a whiz bang phone at a loss and make up for it in content/talk time sales.

    On the other hand Apple sells a music device for a profit and makes nearly nothing on the content.

    Apple caters to those who like to own their music free and clear, to do with it as they wish.

    On the other hand, subscriptions rent music and one can’t do what they wish with the music, costs more in the long run.

    Of course one can steal subscription music and be a real cheap bastard.

    The RIAA is so afraid of iTunes domination that they turn a blind eye to billions of dollars in profit lost to subscription ripoff methods.

  3. Dear, dear John you could have been famous with a less common moniker, for such foolish talk has just put you in the same league as the guy who said the Beatles would never ever be a hit. Actually I can’t remember who he was either.

  4. “The RIAA is so afraid of iTunes domination that they turn a blind eye to billions of dollars in profit lost to subscription ripoff methods.”

    ….

    How is the RIAA afraid of iTunes?

    The RIAA loves iTunes. It’s all the other music retailers that hate iTunes…

  5. “Guys, there is no phone. Get over it. It is just a rumour.”

    Are you kidding? This is irrefutable proof that there is a iPhone and it will be teamed with Cingular!

    See what he said? “If I knew, I’d have to tell you ‘I don’t know.” This was right after he said, “I don’t know.”

    Thus, he knows that there will be an iPhone. He also knows that it will have a 24″ screen yet still fit in your pocket, be able to make free phone calls from wifi hotspots, weigh 1 oz, will run Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux with free virtualization software, have a battery life of 72 hours, pick up and record satellite radio, DAB, DTV, FM, AM, TV (VHF and UHF), shortwave, and police band.

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  6. “So, is Apple making a phone or not?…

    I don’t know, actually [laughs]. Fortunately, I don’t know. Because if I knew … I’d have to tell you … then I’d have to kill you” [laughs].

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