Apple iTunes phone on Cingular? Yet another reason I won’t buy one

Noipod_1Think Secret is breaking news indicating that Apple’s phone will be exclusive to Cingular for six months after the product launch, expected to be after the New Year. Regular readers know that I use a Windows Mobile 5.0 phone (heck, I let you folks pick it!) and I use it on the Verizon Wireless network. To be frank: neither the WM platform nor Verizon’s network is perfect. I could come up with a list of issues regarding each. However, I’m planning to stick with my current setup and totally ignore the Apple cellular offering. Not that it matters, Apple estimates sales of 25 million iTunes totin’ phones. Still, there’s something to be said for my set up and my reasons to stick with it.

1. If I give up my current phone, I give up a TON of features that I use daily. Presumably there won’t be any true "smartphone" features in the first gen Apple phone like: e-mail / Exchange / OneNote Mobile synchronization, text messaging, RSS reading, the ability to run thousands of applications, ways to stream television, etc….

2. Cingular’s high speed, HSDPA network is rolling out now, but some folks aren’t happy with it. There’s a good chance the Apple phone won’t even have high speed broadband access, and if so, I’d say goodbye to high speed web and e-mail access.

3. I’m not tied to iTunes; yes, I use it, but it’s not the sole source of digital entertainment on the planet. I could stay "old school" with CDs and rip ‘em for Windows Media Player. Is WMP as good as iTunes? No, but the core functionality works well enough for me: playing music.

4. As Matt Miller pointed out quite well: with a portable computing device like a UMPC, do you really need an iPod, or for that matter, a Zune? iTunes is working just fine on my Samsung Q1, so I don’t need it in my phone too.

Don’t mistake my point here: Apple will sell tons of these phones and it’s a sound business strategy to leverage off of the highly successful iTunes store. I’m not suggesting otherwise. Additionally, there’s plenty of work to do in the Windows Mobile platform to make it better (and it’s in process), provide more stable synchronization, etc. The answer won’t be as "simple" as integrating Urge, Napster or the like with Windows Mobile phones.

Consider this just my first reaction to the news and clearly: this will be a compelling device for many. This just won’t be a purchase for me, at least not with the first generation. How about you? Are you planning to buy an Apple phone? What features are you willing to give up today to have iTunes on your phone tomorrow?

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