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Summary:

I’ve said this for some time: Apple will sell a phone. Perhaps it will look like the 2004 artist’s conceptual rendering shown. I’d give you the link when I said it publicly, but it was on the now-defunct "techADDICTION" podcast series that James and I did […]

Apple_phone_conceptI’ve said this for some time: Apple will sell a phone. Perhaps it will look like the 2004 artist’s conceptual rendering shown. I’d give you the link when I said it publicly, but it was on the now-defunct "techADDICTION" podcast series that James and I did last year. Nevertheless, I saw it then, and I see it today: this is a logical device progression for Apple for a couple of reasons. Even better yet, in an excellent article on the end to end vs. the component model, Walt Mossberg confirms that Apple is working on a cellular phone device. Here’s the kicker though: I don’t think a phone with iTunes capability is going to do it, so my guess is that we’ll see more functionality than people expect.

Right off the bat: a cellular phone device isn’t in Apple’s stable of core competencies. That’s why there’s been no big rush here; that and the growing iPod market, that is. That market is getting a little saturated though. iPod sales are leveling off and it’s time for a new product. One that will sell tons and tons of devices to take the place of the iPod in Apple’s product offerings. What could be better than a cellphone, which is likely the most owned gadget on the planet?

The Apple partnerships with Motorola were, in my opinion, a chance to start working on iTunes compatible phones, but these weren’t the end-all, be-all products. No, Apple is taking what they learned there and they’ll be applying it to their own brand of phone. (Lesson #1: don’t limit the number of songs you can play, even if you can store more).

If Apple is developing a phone that can work with iTunes, will that be enough for it as a "smash hit" like the iPod? I don’t think so. I think they need to (and will) add more functionality in terms of base PIM functions and perhaps even the ability to add and run software like a Windows Mobile device. Perhaps all of these patents for virtual scroll-wheels and on-screen keyboards aren’t for an Apple Tablet PC or a Video iPod after all. Perhaps we’re about to see a new class of mobile computing device from Apple, and I for one would welcome it.

What do you think? Is Apple sowing seeds for a handheld computing device or are my thoughts rotten to the core?

-kct

  1. Would you mean that Apple is about to reveal the Newton II with phone capabilities???

    It makes more than 5 years that I have been waiting for an apple sub-notebook, a tablet or something… They have patents, they even worked with HP on a design near the TC1100 (so does the rumor say)… but as you know nothing came out.

    In conclusion, eventually we’ll see some kind of a convergence device (an iPod that phones and has some pim capabilities?), but not tomorrow.

    Nico

    PS: BTW where are the annouced “new” iBooks???

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  2. Tablet PC User Friday, May 12, 2006

    “Now, Apple is working on other projects built on the same end-to-end model as the iPod: a media-playing cellphone and a home-media hub.” (from the WSJ)

    This is the only quote about the potential of an iTunes cell phone…which isn’t a new market concept (see the SLVR from Motorola at http://www.cingular.com/SLVR_iTunes/ ). The rest of this article was a semi-rant of Apple vs Microsoft! I’m guessing the high price of gas must have everyone disgruntled. Most of the anger is always directed at people at MS who can afford a $1,000.00 per gallon gas!

    BTW, apple had better come good with that cell phone since the Motorola Razor is the sexiest phone on the planet!

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  3. It’s quite sure that Apple is preparing something around handheld things.
    Maybe the most interesting part could be The Business Model employed.
    I dream about Apple applying the iPod model : Sell high margin “iMac Nano” with ultra-low-cost cell minutes and data plan as MVNO, i.e the exact opposite of current model (where Carriers sells subsidized terminals with high margin expensive minutes&data)

    I am sure this will make big boyz Motorola&Nokia think twice and maybe following the Apple’s Model thus revolutionizing the Cell Model.

    If only….

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  4. PLEASE…… Come out with a Mac Phone/PDA!!!!! I have nothing but troubles and headaches with my iPaq and Windows Mobile. Lock-ups, Restarts, compatability issues, bluetooth malfunctions and let’s face it, Apple’s gear is SOoooooo much sexier. Come on Steve… Hook it up!

    ~Jordet

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