Speculation and supposition about Apple and the iPod/music phone conundrum is back in the media.
Playlist notes a statement by ABI Research that “As the cellular handset becomes the one device that the world carries, the standalone MP3 player may well be left behind,” which is nothing new. Chalk one up to the “convergence will kill all other devices” mantra.
And David Berlind at ZDNet has linked up the MobileME trademark filing with the recent news about the wireless patent Apple applied for to state that speculation that Apple is preparing an iPod phone should give way to the basic acceptance of it as fact…and then goes on to say that Apple will do such a good job that everyone else will go out of business and carriers will be forced to slash the price they charge for data. Chalk another one up to the Cult of Mac.
Actually, there’s a good quote at ZDNet from Neil Mawston, Raskind’s senior analyst for wireless device strategies:
Apple has more than half a dozen strategic options for mobile that it can take in 2007 to 2010. These include do nothing, become an Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), launch an Apple-branded phone made by an original design manufacturer (ODM) like HTC, purchase or merge with an existing handset vendor (e.g. Kyocera), sell software-only to one or more mobile vendors (e.g. Motorola Rokr), and so on. All these scenarios involve moderate to high risk for Apple, as they are beyond its core fixed and portable competences (e.g. laptops), and they are entering a mature market dominated by a handful of brands (e.g. Nokia).
His conclusion is that Apple will launch an own-branded phone or an MVNO or both, but it’s not going to be the slam-dunk every CoM guy thinks.