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iCell in the Works? 271

Posted by Zonk
from the ican't-talk-now dept.
SirWraith writes "Ars Technica is running a story speculating on the possibility of an Apple cellphone." From the article: "At last week's CES, Motorola officially dumped Apple with its new ROKR E2 phone and its new iRadio digital music service. ... After the ROKR's lackluster launch, speculation abounded that Apple was saving the 'good' iTunes phone for itself, and the new 'Mobile Me' trademark lends credence to that line of thinking. At this stage of the game, it looks like Apple is moving in the direction of launching its own cellular service complete with its own lineup of phones (or phone, as the case may be)."
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iCell in the Works?

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  • by FalconZero (607567) * <FalconZero&Gmail,com> on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:14AM (#14462969)
    Portable device convergence has been obvious for years, with the inclusion of cameras, music players, video players, video calling, games etc... being crammed into mobile phones, it's unsurprising that Apple would want to segway its iPod market into the mobile phone market.

    Which would you rather have? An iPod, or a phone with an iPod built in? If Apple doesn't capitalise on the current media and consumer 'love' for iPods, then the plethora of other devices with similar or superior function will destroy Apples market (and it's only so long before flash storage becomes comperable in capacity to drive based iPods.)

    Apple could quite easily pull off a 'one phone' network not because it was technically superior or cheaper than other networks/handsets, but because Apple would do what Apple does best, give it a slick UI/customer experience and use their flair at advertising to buy the market.
    • by garcia (6573) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:18AM (#14463001) Homepage
      Which would you rather have? An iPod, or a phone with an iPod built in?

      personally, I'd prefer they be seperate -- but that's me. It's kind of difficult to use your phone while using your iPod, isn't it?

      The iPod was successful because the design and interface was clean and "sexy". Do you think that by adding phone, camera, and whatever other capabilities to the device that they will be able to keep it "clean and sexy"? I don't.
      • If they had just built bluetooth into the damn iPod, this wouldn't be an issue. One headset, two devices, one device, eight, who cares... switch back and forth, transfer files without a bunch of cables... oh, wait, that would be too easy. Seriously. The RIAA ruins everything. Not that I don't love my sexy Moto RAZR, and my iPod, but the RAZR has bluetooth and it's SMALLER than the iPod. if both had bluetooth... life would be simpler. But, no, life can't be nice and easy. Fucking RIAA. Okay, this wasn't intended as a rant, but I seriously want to lynch those bastards... or at least force them to listen to the bilious phlegm that they pass off as music.
        • If they had just built bluetooth into the damn iPod, this wouldn't be an issue. One headset, two devices, one device, eight, who cares... switch back and forth, transfer files without a bunch of cables..

          I guess I'm not alone in thinking that a bluetooth enabled ipod (or other music player) would rock. Not only could you sync it w/ no wires. you can have 1 set of headphones for music and phone. plus it could integrate in to a car's audio system.

          The real question is: Why hasn't anybody done this yet?

          • Because Bluetooth is painfully slow. The spec says 1Mbit, but in reality it's probably an order of magnitude slower that.
          • Not only could you sync it w/ no wires. you can have 1 set of headphones for music and phone.

            Not to mention everyone on the train listening in on your music. Would that be punishable for broadcasting music in a public forum without permission?

            • I'd be more concerned about everyone on the train listening in on my porn... ah, sweet, sweet, video iPod. Sweet, sweet, porn.
            • No. Unless your iPod/Cell/Whatever can broadcast at a radiated power of over 100 watts on some regulated FM band, I doubt the FCC would care. Bluetooth "broadcasts" would happen in an unreglated band anyway, right?
              • Yeah, but ASCAP would be coming after you for royalties.
                • Really? You must be joking. How would they find you? Leaving that aside, how is this any different from broadcasting music over an (FM-band) iTrip on a current iPod, aside from it being Bluetooth? You don't seriously think the RIAA or ASCAP is going to start sending out subpoenas to iTrip users, do you? Bring it. I'll volunteer to be the first test case.

                  Should I worry about turning my stereo up loud enough that my neighbors can hear it for fear of ASCAP demanding royalties?

        • 1. Battery life. Your Razr has how many hours of "talk" time? 3 or 4? Blue Tooth eats into that.
          2. Blue Tooth is slow. I have in on my phone but I tend to use the cable for pics and mp3s. It works for head sets and stuff but it really isn't that great for transfering files.

        • Whuh? Where did you get RIAA out of this? Do you have a single piece of fucking evidence to support that? Stop being so ... slashdotty. RIAA has a long and illustrious history of attempting to stifle innovation--after the fact. From the Diamond Rio onwards, it's been release first, get sued by RIAA second. RIAA is not known for proactively hunting out budding technologies and demanding people not make them. I don't think they're smart enough; all the creative, "idea" people are off working at Apple et al. T
      • by arendjr (673589) on Friday January 13, 2006 @11:05AM (#14463361) Homepage

        personally, I'd prefer they be seperate -- but that's me. It's kind of difficult to use your phone while using your iPod, isn't it?

        Isn't that an advantage? If you're listening to your iPod, you might not hear your phone ringing. So, if they are the same device, the music can automatically stop when you start calling or an incoming call arrives. Makes sense to me...

        • Keep the harddrive out of my iPhonePod and you might have.

          Yet Apple will need to make it so not-like phones we have today. I assume a folding design as one of celebrated parts of the iPod is it look. Now I don't expect a rotary dialing system but that wouldn't be too hard of a gimmick to add using the click wheel.

          Now, if Jobs and Co would come up with a phone that can work on anyone's network and is sold through the Apple store maybe he can free the consumer from these networks. Subscriptions suck.

          Now a
        • Separate devices are more convenient overall. First, the controls can be optimized for the task at hand. A phone and an iPod have two entirely different interfaces. The iPod does not need any kind of keypad, and a phone with just a dial and 4 buttons would be pretty limited. (Add in phone text messaging and trying to use an iPod interface is even more unrealistic.)

          Second is device size. A phone can be tiny and needs only a minimal display but has a very specific shape requirement based on how it is held/pla
      • by pr0nbot (313417) on Friday January 13, 2006 @11:14AM (#14463442)

        Which would you rather have? An iPod, or a phone with an iPod built in?

        I'm holding off buying an iPod cos I want a phone with a decent integrated mp3 player. (So far the thing that's holding me back is that it's still cheaper to buy separate devices.)

        I don't want to carry around a zillion gizmos, each with their own quirky interfaces, cables, memory formats, sync apps, drivers etc.

        Actually when it really comes down to it, what I really want is to have my PC with me at all times, in a form factor round about that of a phone. But that's a few decades off, even assuming anyone wants to build one.

        • Treo smartphones and PocketPC phones can hold decent chunks of music, and have builtin phones. You can even get SSH and Remote Desktop clients for them.
          • Treo smartphones and PocketPC phones can hold decent chunks of music, and have builtin phones. You can even get SSH and Remote Desktop clients for them.

            I check out PDAs from time to time to see what the latest is. But the thing they never have is a DVI port. I'd like to plonk down the PDA, plug in a keyboard and monitor, and use it as a PC -- if only to act as a thin client to a beefier application server.

            These guys are approaching what I want [dualcor.com], though it's not as small as I like, and isn't a phone or came

          • Back in the day, I used to carry around a PDA (starting with a Palm III) and cellphone (my first was a Motorolla StarTac) and I really hated having two devices. I don't know how common this is, but I HATE having things in my pockets. In fact, I only have three keys (car, house, mailbox) on my keyring and I carry my driver's license and credit card in my shirt pocket. I'm one of those guys where the first thing I do when I come home is to dump the contents of my pockets. My wife teases me that I only married
        • Really? I use a SonyEricsson W800i phone, which has a reasonably decent MP3/AAC player app built in, and it works well. Not as much storage as an iPod but the convenience of having one (small/light) device with excellent battery life outweighs that for me. Especially as I can easily swap music in/out - it just appears as a USB mass storage device so there's no dumb games with needing to use iTunes to put music on there.

          I think if Apple did this, it'd be a smart move. iPods are great and all but the phone

      • "It's kind of difficult to use your phone while using your iPod, isn't it?"

        That's a good argument for integration right there... an incoming call should simply be taken through the headphones.

        IPods and phones are really so similar... they're both little devices for listening... only difference is phone can transmit.
      • It's kind of difficult to use your phone while using your iPod, isn't it?
        Wouldn't that be where Apple steps in? To make using both at once easy? Ease of use is something they're known for.
    • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:23AM (#14463042)
      Which would you rather have? An iPod, or a phone with an iPod built in?

      I want a phone that has crystal clear voice and never drops a call and has an 8 hour talk time and a 2 week standby time. I don't want it to have a camera, web browsing, a PDA, mp3 player, or any other garbage and I want it to be as small as possible while still being sturdy. For mp3 playing I'll use my iPod.

      • by IronTek (153138) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:31AM (#14463095) Homepage
        I was against the concept of a camera in a cell phone for a longtime.

        After I got a phone that had one, I started to think what it would be good for. I figured it was a comfort to have it in the case of an accident.

        Sure enough, I got into a small fender-bender in a parking lot. It was completely the other person's fault (they backed into me), but they later tried to blame me! Luckily, after it happened, I snapped some pics on my phone and sent them to my insurance company and theirs.

        The photos show clearly where my car was and where their car was. My insurance company didn't pay a dime. I received a check from theirs.

        So I don't think convergence in this respect is a bad thing.
        • Heh, funny. The exact same thing happened to me.

          More than covered the expense of the phone - and was so much fun getting the other guy to pay when he thought he could just lie his way out of it.
        • I was against the concept of a camera in a cell phone for a longtime.
          After I got a phone that had one, I started to think what it would be good for. I figured it was a comfort to have it in the case of an [auto] accident.


          You're right. They are nice to have in a pinch. I have a cameraphone, and I have used it in similar situations.

          But I agree with the grandparent post, in that I don't want feature creep and bloat in my cell phone if its *primary function*, that is, to send and receive calls, is still broken
      • There are many phones that will suit your need. They are pretty cheap too. phonescoop.com and gsmarena.com have a lot of phone choices that will meet your needs. You are not Apple's target. There are many of us that would just love the combination that you hate. I am hoping that we are the market for such devices. Looking forward for such a device.
      • News flash: This story isn't for you then.

        Why is it that every time a story like this comes up someone feels that such aa phone shouldn't exist just because they don't want it? OH, I KNOW - you're a troll.

        Get back under your bridge.
        • Get back under your bridge.

          I love when trolls call other people trolls. Congrats. You win the prize!

          • It was wrong to call you a troll, I agree, but posts like your original one do get on my nerves. The obvious implication is that because you don't want a phone with features X, Y and Z, the companies should put all their effort into making a simple phone that works as a phone. The problem with that logic is there are already phones that do what you want, the Nokia 1100 being my personal favourite, and there's very little more that _can_ be done with them, however much effort the companies may put in. Yes, m
      • "I want a phone that has crystal clear voice and never drops a call and has an 8 hour talk time and a 2 week standby time. I don't want it to have a camera, web browsing, a PDA, mp3 player, or any other garbage and I want it to be as small as possible while still being sturdy. For mp3 playing I'll use my iPod."

        I want a phone that has a PDA, web browser, camera, MP3 player, and other interesting garbage that, believe it or not, I actually use. I don't mind if I have to charge it every 4 days instead of 8, t
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...Apple would want to segway its iPod market...
      I do not think that word means what you think it means [reference.com].
      • This word means exactly what I thought it meant, but I misspelled it. From your link :
        2. To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state, condition, situation, or element to another: "Daylight segued into dusk" (Susan Dworski).
        Apple would want to segue its iPod market into the mobile phone market.
        becomes
        Apple would want to smoothly and unhesitating move its iPod market into the mobile phone market.

        See? :)
    • Which would you rather have? An iPod, or a phone with an iPod built in?

      Both. Here's how:

      1) Purchase a cell phone. Get whatever you want, it doesn't matter.
      2) Purchase an iPod Nano.
      3) Purchase a role of duct tape.
      4) Purchase a book instructing you in the proper use of duct tape. "Red Green's 10,001 Uses for Duct Tape" is highly recommended.
      5) Using your newfound knowledge in high precision engineering, duct tape the iPod Nano to your cell phone.

      Now you too have a phone and iPod combination all in one, but with none of those silly limitations on the number of songs! Just flip your phone one direction to talk to people, and flip it the other direction to switch the song you're listening to. What could be better? :-D

      P.S. 6) Profit!!!
    • ... segway its iPod market into the mobile phone market.

      Is this one of those modern euphemisms like 'jump the shark?' I'm guessing it would mean to introduce something technologically advanced but with little real world utility.

      Or did you mean 'segue?'

    • segue. not segway. +2 for knowing the right word though.

      segue = transition.
      segway = expensive scooter.
    • Portable device convergence has been obvious for years, with the inclusion of cameras, music players, video players, video calling, games etc... being crammed into mobile phones, it's unsurprising that Apple would want to segway its iPod market into the mobile phone market.

      There ya go! Next step: Apple merges with Segway, to produce the Segintosh, which merges phone, video, music and computing with a handy transportation device, only $22,000 USD!


    • Which would you rather have? An iPod, or a phone with an iPod built in?

      Phones and iPods are both electronic devices, and they're both things you carry around with you all the time, but the synergy mostly ends there. My point is that the merging of the two together creates design compromises for both, so you wind up with a crappy phone and a crappy iPod. A good example of technology integration that's only a niche product is the combined TV/DVD player or VCR. The DVD player/VCR is useless without a TV, s
  • Ironically ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:14AM (#14462972) Journal
    You may recall from yesterday an article on Sun and Apple's possible mergers [slashdot.org]. Interestingly enough, at the bottom of that article [theregister.co.uk] you will find:
    "Your iPod is like your home answering machine," McNealy said. "I guarantee you it will be hard to sell an iPod five or seven years from now when every cell phone can access your entire music library wherever you are."

    Well, sure. Unless your iPod is your cell phone.
    Perhaps the author of that article had a lot of insight and perhaps they already new about this news.

    Either way, I'll follow suit and ask how much longer will it be until the iPod is your computer, media player, internet access, cell phone, credit card, personal identification, financial recorder/advisor, taser, keyless entry and pace maker?
    • Well, sure. Unless your iPod is your cell phone.

      Perhaps the author of that article had a lot of insight and perhaps they already new about this news.

      Not a helluva lot of insight - people have been speculating about an 'iPhone' for years now.

      There's even some lovely mockups of what an Apple phone would look like here. [applele.com]

      Either way, I'll follow suit and ask how much longer will it be until the iPod is your computer, media player, internet access, cell phone, credit card, personal identification, financial reco

      • There's even some lovely mockups of what an Apple phone would look like here.

        I certainly hope that phone is supposed to magnetically seal itself when it's closed, because the artist seems to have forgotten a latch. (!)
    • Either way, I'll follow suit and ask how much longer will it be until the iPod is your computer, media player, internet access, cell phone, credit card, personal identification, financial recorder/advisor, taser, keyless entry and pace maker?

      When Virtual Retinal Displays [wikipedia.org] become feasible in something as small as an iPod or Cell phone.

      Otherwise people will have a hard time trying view a lot of information all at once like they do on their pcs.
  • by Any Web Loco (555458) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:15AM (#14462975) Homepage
    That we could dispense with the rumours?
  • by Kasracer (865931) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:16AM (#14462990) Homepage
    Another interesting development is, when Tiger originally came out, a new feature was added that no hardware currently takes advantage of. Tiger can rotate it's screen just like all other Table PCs and most PocketPCs.

    Off hand I don't remember how to force it to do so, but Tiger does have this feature. Combined with the new trademark, we may see an Apple PDA and/or Tablet sometime this year.
    • rumor has it, that a item was supposed to be released in the moble line this expo that would have taken advantage of that finally, but that Intel didnt have enough dual core chips to meet the supply yet.
    • Off hand I don't remember how to force it to do so, but Tiger does have this feature.

      The hidden option was removed from the System Preferences in 10.4.2 or thereabouts. I can confirm that it worked, though. I rotated the display on my iBook and had a hard time resetting it. Try moving the mouse pointer with a mouse pad that's rotated by 90 degrees ...

    • i wouldn't say that no hardware makes use of it - just no current Apple hardware. i used this feature when i had one of those rotatable external monitors hooked up to my PowerBook. i was spending the week in another office and the desk they sat me at had one of these things on it; figured i'd give it a shot.
    • This is doable in the Monitor System Preference. Also, I know of several 3rd party monitors that rotate. Rotation was supported for OS9 by a 3rd party Control Panel, but no one supported it in OS X until Tiger.

      I don't necessarily see it as a sign of things to come, just a requirement that should have been it OS X 10.0, or at least 10.2.

  • Will it ask you if its 'okay' to hang up on a telemarketer?

  • by jurt1235 (834677) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:19AM (#14463007) Homepage
    It has some nostalgy to it (-:
  • Too close to Windows Me.
  • by IAAP (937607)
    Motorola officially dumped Apple with its new ROKR E2 phone and its new iRadio digital music service.

    I wonder of this is business or tit for tat type of thing.

  • Apple Patent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by catwh0re (540371) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:21AM (#14463025)
    In other mobile phone related news, Apple have a new patent [hrmpf.com] for a screen that doubles as a camera. (In Soviet Russia, Screen looks at you!)

    Amongst the uses they include mobile phones.

    Also can someone stop beating this rumour to death. They'll release it when they figure out a cool name for the product iCell just sounds lame, especially with the supersecret spreadsheet applications "Cells" (amongst a host of other rumours.) With the latest Apple nomenclature, it'd probable be MacPhone.

  • "A place for evrything and evrything in its place" ... or something like that. I gues Apple thinks that evrything's place is on one mobile device.
  • by astonishedelf (845821) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:26AM (#14463061)
    I have on this website and on another predicted that Apple will simply buy a mobile phone network. Before anyone argues that they don't have the market cap, I will say that smaller fish have been known to swallow biggers ones, and I believe that there are venture capitalists and banks that would be prepared to back Apple on this one. It's the only logical way to go.
    • I have on this website and on another predicted that Apple will simply buy a mobile phone network.

      It's very difficult to "simply buy a mobile phone network". Apple is a global company and unless they want to pick up some tin-pot network somewhere in the middle of Russia then they simply aren't going to have the experience or (as you mentioned) the market cap to go for companies like Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefonica or France Telecom (Orange) who truely are global. It simply won't happen.

      They may start an

    • You buy time on networks. Far less expensive and easier to do. Many cell phone brands you see today don't have their own networks. There is no point.
  • by schlpbch (197942) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:27AM (#14463066) Homepage
    Isamu Sanada is an industial designer who designs fictious
    Apple products in his spare time:

    http://www.applele.com/index.html [applele.com]
    http://www.applele.com/pictures.html [applele.com]

    I personally favor this iPhone design:

    http://www.applele.com/pict_04hipod_r02.html [applele.com]

    Almost better than the real thing!
  • My pick is that it will be seperated package with very close support for all type iPod. It could be like that you can pair iPod and Apple iCell and listen to both trough handfree. When call arrives, iPod would silent a little bit or something like that.

    I see that Apple like to seperate things, in same time ensure that simply would fit together and work. But if their cell phone will be the same quality as iPod (I mean not only technically, also in design and "working together"), then I would like to buy one,
  • by furnk (935156) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:31AM (#14463094)
    When you're going fishing, don't forget your pole.

    Remember that trademark language is designed to avoid the possibility of other companies piggybacking on the term. "Mobile Me" could just be a suite of portable products that Apple is considering, but the company wants to avoid some cell phone-maker coining the term and creating brand confusion; thus it includes the language about telecommunication services.

    Here is the actual excerpt from the trademark office about what Apple's filing covers. Notice how buried "cellular" is:

    Computer services; computer data recovery; data analysis being computer services; computer programming; updating of computer software; maintenance of computer software, computer and communications networks, and computer systems; research and development of computer hardware and software; website design, creation, hosting services; customized imprinting and design of messages, correspondence and other written communication which are delivered by electronic transmission; computer on-line services for the search, retrieval, indexing and organization of data on computer and communication networks; providing use of on-line, non-downloadable software; providing use of on-line, non-downloadable software for communications via local or global communications networks, including the Internet, Intranets, Extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular, and satellite networks; analyzing data to detect, eradicate and prevent the occurrence of computer viruses; computer services relating to the protection of computer hardware, computer software, computer networks and computer systems against computer viruses, attacks, or failures; computer services for enhancing the performance, security and functionality of computer and communications networks; computer help-line services; technical support services relating to computers, computer software, telecommunications, and the Internet; consultancy and provision of information and advice relating to the aforesaid; all provided on-line from a computer database or provided from facilities on local or global communications networks, including the Internet, Intranets, Extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular, and satellite networks

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:32AM (#14463108) Homepage Journal
    the interface? Hard to say. To me one of the biggest appeals of the iPod is it has the best damn interface there is for a portable music player. Now is it possible to keep this interface while adding a phone interface? Of course I could be wrong, but I'm guessing no. All they need to do is to give Nokia a ring to find out just how difficult it is to make a phone that also does something else. Face it, humans probably aren't going to change significantly in the next 5 years so we will be stuck with the limitations our little fingers and faces give us. To me, that is the biggest obstacle facing convergance devices.
    • They can do it if they follow the shuffle concept and make you do all the "big" work in iTunes, like maintaining your contact list etc. They would be the only phone makers who could expect all their customers to have access to a PC. Sending SMS messages would be the big difficulty, but this is less relevant in the US, and might be replaced by spoken/photographed MMS messages. The rare occasion where you need to dial a number you don't have in memory, you would have to accept a more lengthy way, like rotat
      • Sending SMS messages would be the big difficulty, but this is less relevant in the US

        Really? Are you not from the US, or have you not met your average iPod owning cell phone user yet?

        I don't think there is a resturaunt on the east coast right now where you can go in and not see a table with two people more interested in clicking their keypads than talking to each other... With the occational passing of the phones for a moment and giggling. Especially disturbing when those two people are pushing 30.
  • by necro81 (917438) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:36AM (#14463134) Journal
    Don't get me wrong, I think that Apple can produce a winner in any tech area if it set its collective mind and resources to it. But, in my opinion, I don't really think this is something Apple would want to try. Apple has no technological experience in cell phone technology, other than what it might have learned from Motorola during their brief collaboration. The market is already awash in cell phones. Granted, few of them have the panache of the iPod, and they are bloated in pointless features that could be done much better. The profit margins for cell phones are much slimmer than the iPod, even for something high-end like the RAZR. Could Apple produce something with both iPod and cellphone technology crammed into it, and still charge a reasonable market price for it?

    When Apple hit the mp3-player scene in 2002, there were some competing products from mostly small companies that had limitations due to the necessary tradeoffs. But, mp3-players were a nascent luxury item at the time, whereas cellphones are now, more or less, a commodity item. Almost nobody at the time had experience in mp3-player design and manufacture, whereas cellular phones are a mature product. Consider the players in today's cellphone market: Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, and about a dozen others that aren't as prevalent in the U.S. In comparison to the mp3-player market of 2002, the cellphone market of today is a cut-throught, kill-or-be-killed, Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"-like world filled with a bunch of predators.

    Even if Apple were to make an iCell, what would it do with it? Without a service provider to back it, the phone is dead-on-arrival. Will the allure of Apple's logo and the iPod brand be enough for service providers to risk the wrath of the other cellphone manufacturers? I don't know.

    I guess if a convergence between the iPod and a cellphone is inevitable, then I'd prefer Apple to take a crack at it first (and don't cite the ROKR as a counterexample, that thing was a kludge of competing interests). Steve Jobs has often said that cellphones are poorly designed - trying to get the feature list make up for the fact that they aren't better thought out. Still, is this something that Apple really wants to be a part of?
    • Without a service provider to back it, the phone is dead-on-arrival

      With GSM, all is possible. They could either just sell an unlocked GSM phone and any GSM based user can move their SIM into it (providing it's not locked, not sure if us carriers lock their sims -- I know they lock their phones) Or they could just enter a resell agreement with several GSM providers. T-mobile goes for the younger crowd for example. GSM is very flexible. I think there are many avenues they could go this route, whether part

    • "The market is already awash in cell phones. Granted, few of them have the panache of the iPod, and they are bloated in pointless features that could be done much better. The profit margins for cell phones are much slimmer than the iPod, even for something high-end like the RAZR. Could Apple produce something with both iPod and cellphone technology crammed into it, and still charge a reasonable market price for it?"

      I think you're absolutely right. The cell phone business is complicated, political, expensive
    • I think that Apple can produce a winner in any tech area if it set its collective mind and resources to it.

      Or rather, they don't set thier collective minds and resources to it unless they think they can come up with a winner.
    • There are some things you got wrong: cell phones market is still a relatively high margin market, if you compare it to, eg. computers: sure there are cheap cell phones, but there's a high end market which is very profitable.
      Yet there is another (also attractive) market: the PDA phones or smartphones, which still no one has got completly right; i-mate Jam is almost quite there, but yet...
      Apple's lack of experience can be covered by an experienced partner like HTC: don't forget apple is not a manufacturer, th
  • A suggestion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think it would be better for Apple to Just add Wi-Fi support to the iPod.
    That way Apple will have internet access which they could use for downloading music/video, web-surfing etc.
    In a few years, when Wi-Fi is as wide-spread as the cellphone networks are, they can easily convert the iPod to a VoIP phone. All you need is to add a mic and a speaker (or just use head-phones with an attached mic). They could even keep their wheel thingie, and just put numbers around it.

    That enables Apple to control their own
    • That way Apple will have internet access which they could use for downloading music/video, web-surfing...

      ...with a click wheel?
  • Just as long as they make a 300gb iCell.
  • Cell or VOIP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:51AM (#14463242) Journal
    Other speculation is that the play here isn't for a conventional cellphone. It's for VOIP.

    A conventional cellphone means that Apple would have to kowtow to all the carriers and their phone would be just one phone among a plethora of other, well-established outfits (Nokia, Moto, Samsung, whoever).

    But a VOIP phone using wifi would enable Apple to sidestep being just another player and control the whole thing all the way down the line. Of course there is the minor problem of establishing a huge wifi network, but maybe this is where Google and friends come in, and anyway didn't someone say this is all wild, wild speculation?

    Can't recall where I read this. Mabye yesterday on Slashdot :)
    • That's not unreasonable, but more likely apple will start with their own conventional phone first. Once people get used to apple taking its share in the market they will trust their "revolutionary new technology" better. I've never liked Apple's business/marketing practice, but compared to even the best cellular companies Apple is a 10/10.
  • Apple/Motorola (Score:3, Insightful)

    by revery (456516) <charles@nOsPAM.cac2.net> on Friday January 13, 2006 @10:59AM (#14463310) Homepage
    I wonder if the Motorola deal will come back to haunt Apple. If the impression that other copmanies come away with is that Apple held back on the Motorola deal so they could launch a better deal for themselves, that could hurt future relationships.

    OTH, I realize that in business dealings you very rarely get both sides of the story and Apple may be able to sit down with future partners and easily allay any fears they might have. Business is funny like that and has a lot more to do with confidence than with money.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • by pr0nbot (313417) on Friday January 13, 2006 @11:06AM (#14463367)
    If Apple is planning to increase the range of devices around its "digital hub", and so benefits from being able to offer more seamless interoperation, is it time that Microsoft got into the hardware business and started building MS PCs?

    Or is that what the Xbox is?
  • by Bertie (87778) on Friday January 13, 2006 @11:25AM (#14463548)
    I know someone who's seen the prototypes over a year ago now - other people in the same company were working on it. When I said "they're taking us back to a dial interface, aren't they?" This person said nothing, but their face said it all...
  • There's a huge female market for a device that is both a phone and an i-pod, for example. Why? Because if women's handbags come in lots of sizes, but mostly they are small. Any real estate in the handbag is valuable, and a device that performs the function of 2 devices, with a slick, obvious interface, plus that you can get a pink case for, will destroy the competition.
    • Are you joking?

      Even the smallest handbag I can recall seeing a woman carry would have have ample room for a cell phone and an iPod or a cell phone and a PDA.

      Try carrying around anything more than a cell phone in your pants pockets. The iPod may be small (and indeed they are now smaller than the old 20 GB 2nd gen one I have) but even an iPod nano is almost too big to stuff into a pocket with a cell phone.

      Personally, I leave my iPod connected to my car stereo unless I know I'm going on a walk. If I'm doi

  • Move your finger over the clickwheel a distance to dial that number. Nice, innovative (pointless and stupid) and reducing the number of buttons. So you might dial a few wrong numbers, see it is a feature to make new friends.
  • Everyone seems to be focusing on the phone itself. Yeah sure, Apple designers could probably develop one snazzy phone. Let's think about the service for a minute though. Virgin Mobile, not really one that we'd consider a powerhouse (Verizion, Cingular, etc) is doing pretty damn good. Now imagine Apple coming in and doing the same thing. Of course, Apple would have SOOOOO much more to offer...a stylish phone, iTunes integration, ease of use...all things that could quickly add to more profit for Apple.

    Let'
  • One comment that many people are making here is that it would be very expensive and difficult for Apple to start a cellular service, that it would be a capital expense that just isn't up their alley. The fine article address this to an extent:

    Getting into the cellular services business is easier these days, thanks to the likes of Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cingular, and their support for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). An MVNO is a company that leases bandwidth, infrastructure, and time from a car

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