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

14 Comments

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?

14 Comments

Keith

It’s my understanding that, if you use iTunes to acquire a song, you can’t play it on anything that doesn’t have some form of iTunes. I could be totally wrong, but that was my understanding.

e

Why not just get a PPC(Phone if you like) and a flash card and download an iPod interface app?

Hey are WM5 devices SDHC compliant or are we going to have to wait for that? How big of a flash card can WM5 address if you use a compact flash card? (if it’s not SDHC compliant yet?)

Bill

I’m not so much an Apple Fanboy as a computer fanboy. I love em all! I may be wrong, but Apple has no reason to enter this phone space unless they can do something new and different. I’m not in the market for a new phone, even though I’m on Cingular. My 8125 is just fine, thank you. I am a bit curious about what would motivate Apple to jump into the phone biz where the carriers have so much control over product offering. Could be interesting or could just be another crazy Apple rumor, like the iTablet.

Tablet PC User

Great article KCT! I agree with you!

To all the resident apple fanboys, they are a few challenges that Apple & Cingular need to overcome:

1- The RAZR is still the sexiest phone on the planet. It is available for all carriers (GSM & CDMA). Getting people to switch just to listen to iTunes may not be a sweet “taste” in people’s pockets (e.g. New 1 or 2 year contracts with cingular, early termination fees from their old carriers, having all of their friends/family change to be “in”).

2- This has been done before with the SLVR. The SLVR wasn’t that big of a hit. I know of people with iPods who have Cingular accounts and they still got the SLVR WITHOUT iTunes! Everyone else ignored the SLVR and kept their current non-Cingular phones and their MP3 players.

3- People who like their EVDO from Verizon aren’t going to switch to a lack-luster iPhone with EDGE/HSDPA “just to listen to music.”

4- Apple will have to be REAL good to beat the simplicity and stability of a Nokia phone! Even my mum has perfected the use of them. I have yet to see a simple Nokia phone crash (unless it was crushed).

Of course, this is all vaporware. Even if it comes out, it doesn’t mean that it will succeed because it has an apple logo (e.g. the $99 iPod “sock” http://www.engadget.com/2006/02/28/apple-intros-99-leather-ipod-case/ )

Quigley

Just to comment on the question of whether Kevin is a “technology journalist,” he certainly represents himself as such: “Kevin C. Tofel is a professional author and podcaster on mobile technologies, having spent the last 7 years using portable computing devices. He’s been published in Pocket PC Magazine and has also written previously for HD Beat and Engadget. Currently he writes daily at jkOnTheRun.com and podcasts at MobileTechRoundup.com twice each week.”

http://www.netscape.com/member/KevinCTofel

The word “professional” has a pretty specific meaning. It raises questions about who’s being paid for what by whom. This blog has always been fairly even-handed, with in-the-trenches experiences on mobile tech; I’ve found this invaluable. But I wonder about articles (posts) like this about unannounced products the author has never been in the trenches with (let alone seen), and dislikes simply because it might have a technology he’s never used. How does that help me? When the author has hands-on and can tell me it’s a bomb like the ROKR, that’s useful… unless I can’t trust his opinion because of a stated site-unseen predisposition against the device.

Keith

I think once you have ads and awards on your page, you can no longer just say “it’s just my opinion” without expecting people to put some actual weight behind it.

The fact of the matter is that an iPod phone most likely wouldn’t be designed for the esteemed Mr Kendrick (or me, for that matter), regardless of the carrier. I see this as akin to all the mainstream media articles that judge UMPCs based on what they’re not, rather than what they are. Honestly, I expected better, and am a bit confused why you even commented on a product you have no interest in.

Dave Zatz

Without opinion and speculation, I think it’d be pretty boring around here. That’s how I feel about my blog – not only would it be boring to read, it’d be boring to write. I don’t have to agree to appreciate your perspective, not to mention disagreement leads to stimulating discussion. So, keep up the good work!

Phil

Who says an Apple phone will be any good any way? It could be a complete turd out of the box… Lord knows, all the other phone manufacturers still have minor issues with each and every new phone released, even after years of designs and engineering. The iPhone could have horrid battery life, scratch easily and require a proprietary computer interface that only allows uploading data to the device …Sound familiar?

Name doesn’t sell me. Features and performance sell me. Also, for me, there’s that whole Apple arrogance thingy…

Opine away Kevin!

Bill

Hmmm… Before I had my first iPod I didn’t think I needed one of those either. Same goes for the Q1. An innovative product is one that causes you to rethink your way of doing things. Hard to say before it gets here. Besides, would people keep reading your posts if you never bought anything new? MobileTechRoundup #652 – “Still Loving the Q1” — I don’t think so!

ignar

I think your opinion is a bit premature since many details and specs are not clear yet, but if “iphone” turns out what you described in your post, I won’t get one either. On the other hand, I don’t think the phone is targeted at a tech geeks. The phone is probably the best fit for people who currently has iPod and razr phone.

Michael Venini

Technology journalist? I thought this was a blog? Where you express your own opinions.

Even though I dislike Ipods, let alone a Ipod phone, I disagree with his opinion. But that doesn’t mean he still is unable to express his opinion on the subject.

Quigley

Really, Kevin, is that a responsible approach from a technology journalist? It hasn’t even been officially announced (or “unofficially” virally marketed, a la “Zune” and “Origami”), and you’re making presumptions about its features? Even your thesis about the latest reason you wouldn’t buy it (Cingular HSDPA) which it “might” not even have, is supported by a whopping three responses to a previous blog entry, in which you admit never having tried it yourself. If my kid wrote a report supported like that in school, he’d flunk. Maybe this isn’t a smartphone; maybe it’s not a device you need; maybe it doesn’t even exist! Is this a wildly speculative personal opinions blog or a leading, credible source for useful information about mobile devices?

Scotty

If it has UMTS and HSDPA I’d happily pre-order two of them.

Frankly the only thing I like about the Samsung ZX20 is HSDPA. Other than that I find it to be a miserable phone and carry a second phone (Motorola A1200 Ming) as my Phone.

An Apple HSDPA device would let me reduce to a single device on my belt. :-)

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