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Apple iPhone - To Be, or Not to Be? 230

Posted by Zonk
from the that-is-the-question dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the Apple WWDC looming on Monday, the internet once again beats itself silly over what Steve Jobs has in store. At the most fanciful end of the scale, there's talk of the Apple iPhone, to which CNET says, 'keep on dreaming', and Gizmodo says, 'no visible evidence'. The only solid evidence of an iPhone, beyond the endless mocked-up images, is the discovery of hidden phone-related code in a recent iPod updater. Macrumors has some info on what the keynote may contain -- and there's no mention of an iPhone. So, as the rumor mill continues to grind over the weekend, let the predictions begin. Is there an Apple iPhone, or is there not?"
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Apple iPhone - To Be, or Not to Be?

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  • Rumors (Score:4, Insightful)

    by distilledprodigy (946341) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:01AM (#15846504)
    I think apple knows it would lose tons of money in this saturated market.
    • Re:Rumors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Crash Culligan (227354) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:43AM (#15846798) Journal
      I think apple knows it would lose tons of money in this saturated market.

      <sarcasm>Hey, yeah. And remember that time when they opened up a chain of retail outlets despite the fact that many other such outlets were tanking and analysts were sure they were smoking something? Boy, did they screw the pooch in that deal!</sarcasm>

      The thing you must never lose sight of is that Apple finds its own way of succeeding sometimes by doing things the way no other "sane" (read: "hidebound") person would do.

      Will the iPhone become a reality? I'd say no, for completely different reasons than "everybody's doing it already."

      • Re:Rumors (Score:4, Interesting)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:22PM (#15847084) Homepage Journal
        The thing you must never lose sight of is that Apple finds its own way of succeeding sometimes by doing things the way no other "sane" (read: "hidebound") person would do.


        s/Apple/Steve Jobs/ and you're right on the money. The original Mac was going to be a failure because nobody wanted locked-up proprietary boxes with no CLI or expansion capabilities (and besides that, the Lisa was an abysmal failure), Mac OS X was going to be a failure because who would want to run NeXT Step on a Mac? The iTunes was expected to be failure because 'everyone' downloads illegal music, why would they pay even 99 cents/song?

        Everywhere along the way, Jobs saw ways of adding twists to make it work.

        What I envision: an iPhone that not only has a built-in PDA based on either Palm OS or some slimmed-down Mac OS X, and not only has an iPod built into it, but one with a video iPod integrated as well. Oh, and you can add this optional GPS package for $X. Throw in built-in wifi and bluetooth connectivity, and you've got one hot device that people won't be able to keep their hands off of.

        If Apple introduces it Monday, remember, you heard it here first!
        • Re:Rumors (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Onan (25162) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:24PM (#15847902)
          What I envision: an iPhone that not only has a built-in PDA based on either Palm OS or some slimmed-down Mac OS X, and not only has an iPod built into it, but one with a video iPod integrated as well. Oh, and you can add this optional GPS package for $X. Throw in built-in wifi and bluetooth connectivity

          Gah! No! Stop throwing things in!

          The primary problem with cellphones these days is that they're all maniacally throwing in additional crap like cameras and music players. The last thing the world needs is one more "feature"-laden monstrosity that's five times the size it should be.

          If Apple were to enter this market, I think they would have the sense to see that what's really lacking is a simple, elegant telephone. That does its job with grace and speed, and doesn't try to be everything else in the world.

          This is certainly one of the great strengths of the ipod, that most of the "ipod killers" don't get. They all try to conquer the ipod by telling people, "But you can listen to the radio, and record audio, and use it as a pda, and a cellphone, and a wireless access point, and a floor wax!" And while Apple has caved a little bit on photos and video, they for the most part have kept sight of the fact that people don't want to do those things. More features is not automatically better.

          Sadly, I don't see any reason to believe that Apple actually is entering this market. Not so much for technical reasons as for the bureaucratic morass of dealing with cellular service providers, competing international standards, regulatory bodies, manufacturer subsidies, and the whole rest of the convoluted mess that is the cellphone industry. Apple is currently doing a pretty good job navigating a similar mess in the music industry, and starting to tackle the ones in the television and movie industries. I don't think they'd want to overextend themselves by taking on the telco industry at the same time.

          A shame, though. I'd switch in a heartbeat to whatever provider offered an Apple phone.

      • by tentimestwenty (693290) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:36PM (#15847179)
        Cell phones are one of the worst designed consumer electronics out there. Of anything, I wish Apple would choose to do a phone next, providing they can make a little money on it.
      • Re:Rumors (Score:3, Interesting)

        There is definitely an iPhone on the drawing board since Apples own Phil Shiller (senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing) has already all but confirmed it. In a conferance call [worldofapple.com] resently he told investors and media representatives that music phones aren't ready to compete with iPod now, but that is likely to change in the future. Apple is 'not sitting around doing nothing.' Sooner or later there will be an apple branded phone but I doubt it will be any time soon. I have however been wrong befo
    • Re:Rumors (Score:4, Interesting)

      by StandardDeviant (122674) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:04PM (#15846954) Homepage Journal

      Saturated market? Please. There's lots of cell phones out there, sure. And they all pretty much suck ass. Choose one, several, or all of: Poor build quality. Poor integration with the other information sources/sinks in your life. Poor user interface. Poor performance (battery life, RF reception, sound reproduction). Apple can't do much about RF reception and has limited freedom with respect to battery life, but every other thing is either a software issue or an industrial design issue. Guess what two things Apple kicks ass at?

      Cell phones are a saturated market much like digital audio players were a saturated market.

      All they'd have to do is roll out a GSM-based phone and they'd have access to most of the world's market. Combine that with something like iCal and Addressbook for windows much like they've already ported iTunes to support iPod use on non-Apple platforms and they'd be printing money.

    • Re:Rumors (Score:2, Interesting)

      Are you kidding? What is the most common technology device carried by the 16 to 30-something demographic BESIDES the mp3 player? The cell phone of course. The only cellphone with brand recognition anywhere close to Apple is Motorola's RAZR and it's knockoffs. The cellphone market has seen little innovation in the past couple years and Apple is definatly capable of delivering a product that could open up some eyes. Consider the fact that such a phone, if it did exist, would use a familiar-Ipod like inte
    • Saturated with Crap (Score:3, Interesting)

      by copponex (13876)
      A good product, along with good marketing and a little luck, will always do well in a saturated market. Look at the MacBooks... though I wouldn't buy one (a little overpriced and underpowered), for a college student who needs basic word processing and a shiny exterior it's a great product. It has sold despite it's high price point and the fear of not going with windows.

      Imagine an iPhone, available in white and black, which is fully a touch screen device capable of multiple points of input at a time. No butt
    • ichat phone (Score:2, Interesting)

      by metamorpho (316181)
      here is some semi physical evidence on you tube...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v520U3vS2iI [youtube.com]

      I contacted gizmodo, hopefully they will post it
    • Re:Rumors (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JasonBee (622390)
      Not necessarily!

      I have a Motorola e815 that I purchased for the Bluetooth and syncing capabilities. It took some time before it was able to do so with OSX and iSync. Now it is supported.

      Would I buy an Apple phone? Sure!

      Why? Because I would love to be able to

      a) Migrate my Mac-bound address books to my phone in a SUPPORTED manner. b) I'd love to have a colour phone that syncs with iPhoto in a SUPPORTED manner.
      c) I'd love to take some MP3s for listening to on the BUS or wherever. My current phone does that but
  • Not to be (Score:2, Insightful)

    If this iPhone is real, it seems pretty silly just looking at the pictures. It's just another in a series of cell "phones" that are only marginally telephones.

    "To be, or not to be. Not to be." [sets of iExplosives]

  • The only kind of i-Phone that I would like, would have the user use the click wheel like one of those turn dials phones that proceeded touch tone. That would be cool!
    • by 0racle (667029) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:18AM (#15846646)
      Good god. They are called rotary phones.

      Damn kids.
      • Rotary phones are the coolest.

        Oh, and you forgot, "*shakes fist* And get offa my lawn! Dirty hippies!!"
      • Re:The only.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by trash eighty (457611)
        they are called dial phones over here, i have a few in my house on the landline. i'm not sure i'd want one on a mobile though :)
      • by soft_guy (534437) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:59AM (#15846920)
        Those new fangled things??

        I prefer the type of phone that you crank in order to get the operators attention, and then say "Maybel, connect me to my mother."
        • I prefer the type of phone that you crank in order to get the operators attention, and then say "Maybel, connect me to my mother."

          Well, people have already done a rotary-dial mobile phone [makezine.com], and some mobile phones support voice recognition, it might be amusing to have a mobile phone in an old-fashioned housing, with a crank input and voice recognition, so you'd turn the crank to activate the voice recognition and then tell it whom to call.

    • No, you don't want a rotary-styled dialpad. Imagine typing SMS messages on a non 10-key-styled keyboard. YOu have to actually look at the keypad as you type. I bought a Nokia 3650, which sports this 'feature'. It is very difficult to type SMS messages in rush-hour traffic with a manual transmission, when you have to look at the keypad as you type. I don't recommend this!

      Oh, and please use your turn signal!
  • I really doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:04AM (#15846532) Homepage
    I have serious doubts that the iPhone will ever come to be. Apple is focusing on media as its second core competency. The move to Intel chips and the looming possibilities opened up by virtualization will keep Apple moving in interesting and exciting directions for the next couple of years.

    Combining and iPod, Newton and cell phone is an interesting idea, but we have seen that there is some consumer resistance to combining gadgets. Unless Apple can really come up with a new and exciting way to 'do' the cell phone, I don't expect Jobs will entertain the notion.

    I know that there have been patents for mobile devices filed by Apple, but I expect many of those are part of their Mutually Assured Destruction stockpile of patents.

    My 2 cents, for what its worth.
    • by moracity (925736)
      I agree. I don't see any market for this. The mobile phone market is already saturated as it is. The recent iChat Mobile photo going around is interesting though...a real-time video phone via iSight. There are obvious flaws with the mockup. The major one being that the iSight is on the back of the phone. I still don't think there is any profit to be made from an Apple phone. There is no way the Apple has been secretly working on a phone that can possibly compete with companies that have been doing this for
      • What I CAN see as a possibility is a Bluetooth iPod that can communicate/sync directly with Bluetooth phones.
        Could be. I'd like bluetooth headphones for a bluetooth enabled iPod too. Time to cut the cord!
        • Thats just what I want: my iPod and my headphones to be in a race to see who can run out of batteries first! Bluletooth headphones are fine for cell phones, where they spend the majority of their time waiting for something to happen (a call), but in an application where they would constantly be receiving... wow would that suck. Not to mention the extra drain on the iPod's battery.

          Eventually someone will come up with a protocol that can do this on limited power, but bluetooth is not the answer in that space.
    • Combining and iPod, Newton and cell phone is an interesting idea, but we have seen that there is some consumer resistance to combining gadgets. Unless Apple can really come up with a new and exciting way to 'do' the cell phone, I don't expect Jobs will entertain the notion.

      I doubt that an iPhone would compete with an iPod. I too want to see bits of the Newton restored to a (modern) product we can actually buy and use. I am so unpleased with modern handhelds and cellphones, that 'I want to believe' that A
    • Re:I really doubt it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by clifyt (11768) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (rettamkinos)> on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:33AM (#15846749) Homepage
      "Apple is focusing on media as its second core competency."

      And that is exactly why a lot of folks are predicting the phone as the next area of Apple's influence.

      Look at the Moto phones with iTunes -- they suck and were purposely kept down because Apple was afraid of folks competing with them. Even then, I heard the iTunes was running on some java stack and not integrated directly into the electronics (well...integrated more so).

      I know with a simply free phone I picked up from Cingular last year, I've now replaced my Palm...not that I've had much use for it anyways. The phones do almost everything except for stylus entry that my old device did -- and the only place you see items like this are in phones (i.e., the Treo phones...which I really considered until I realized they were HUGE and I like my pocket space...I'll take entering everything from my computer except for the few times I need to enter a quick phone number or appointment with a cryptic title until I can edit and resync).

      And now music is getting in these things. Do I want to carry both an iPod AND a phone? The whole thing with the Palm was that I WAS carrying both. My iPod is now relegated to my car or occasionally an airplane these days because I really hate having the batman belt. Even the shitty phones have music on them and even though a good deal are locked and require a purchase from the cellular companys site -- people seem to be willing to pay the $2 - $4 for a song that is a quarter the quality of the similar iTunes download (and as I've found out, generally expire after a few months -- I just wanted to test out the interface because I had been helping a friend convert his tunes to ringtones -- he has a sizable audience and wanted to get 'optimized' files out with 'customized' content before his label did so he had a negotiating block as RTs weren't even considered when he signed on 10 years ago -- they count them as 'club sales' like Columbia House where the artist makes practically nothing).

      Back to the point, Apple introduces a phone that replaces my current one AND my iPod -- I'm picking it up. There are only so many gadgets I'm carrying and if I have to make a choice, its my phone...and the more I talk to others, they feel the same way. Luckily Apple seems to be the kind of company that knows how to focus on the essentials which for me would be, Phone, Music, Phone Book, Calendar and a Java Interface to load up Salling Clicker so that I can use my remote to connect to my Mac across the room -- and leave the Java unrestricted so that we can add what we need WHEN we need it and nothing more. Most phones have this stuff, but navigating the interface to use them sucks...

      We will see convergence, so does Apple want to be ahead of the curve like the iPod(but not way too ahead like the Newton -- which pretty much introduced us to what we have today) or does it want to be behind the curve like it has on too many other items...

      Ok -- in the time I've been called away from my desk a few times now, this is probably redundant and should be modded accordingly :-)
      • Back to the point, Apple introduces a phone that replaces my current one AND my iPod -- I'm picking it up.

        That is precisely why I do think Apple will do a phone platform. The only gadget in the entire world that is more popular than an iPod is a cell phone. Its their only competition (see the new Chocolate phone by LG; that thing IS a nano).

      • I know with a simply free phone I picked up from Cingular last year, I've now replaced my Palm...not that I've had much use for it anyways

        I picked up a T-Mobile SDA, their WiFi smartphone, and I have dropped all plans for buying either an iPod or another PDA. Granted, WMP mobile is the most rudimentary player on the planet, but it plays music. And with all the other features of the SDA (Internet access wherever there's public WiFi, the regular PDA functions, and last but not least a cell phone) there's no j

    • Re:I really doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bunions (970377)

      I have serious doubts that the iPhone will ever come to be. Apple is focusing on media as its second core competency.

      and more and more people are getting their media via their phones. every time I go to asia, I'm shocked by how pervasive cell phones are and how much more of a viable replacement for a desktop they're becoming.

      wedge a decent phone into a video ipod, get the interface right and support EVDO (and whatever the asia-market equivalent is) transfer rates and you've got a product that pretty much

    • by Metex (302736)
      but we have seen that there is some consumer resistance to combining gadgets

      I am one of those consumer's resistance to combining gadgets. It was mostly from me going wow phone, camera, pda and the sink all combined in one device... $400 later I had a phone that only worked when the planets aligned, a 4 pixle camera, a good paper weight and a sink without running water. I hate combined gadgets since in america when you combine you get something that is worth less than the sum of the parts and cost 3 times as
    • Combining and iPod, Newton and cell phone is an interesting idea, but we have seen that there is some consumer resistance to combining gadgets. Unless Apple can really come up with a new and exciting way to 'do' the cell phone, I don't expect Jobs will entertain the notion.

      There is some resistence, but obviously not TONS of resistence. Look at how many cell phones have cameras in them. PDAs have pretty much died-off, and their functionality has gone into phones (which is what Jobs predicted).

      Besides, mo

  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:05AM (#15846539) Homepage
    I'll lay odds that the first iPhone will be kinda clunky anyways. I'll wait for the iPhone Nano (maybe even the alumninum iPhone Nano).
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:05AM (#15846540)
    Not on *MY* Laura Ashley designer coffee table in my swank penthouse Thames-side London apartment there isn't!!!

    Well, maybe if they make it the same shade of off-white as my David Hockney sculpture and make the little Apple logo a bit more silver, I might think about it...

  • by Imbolc (949706) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:06AM (#15846544)
    Who'd turn off their iPod full of Rammstein just to answer a phone call from your Dümass friend? Seriously, though, if I buy a device for the purpose of listening to music, I don't want anything to stop it to answer a phone. If I'm listening to my music on my iPod on the way home from work on the subway or bus, I don't really want to be bothered in general; I can always check my phone to see if it's anyone important. If it's someone who may have critical news, then I'll probably answer it, but otherwise- well, the Music > the Conversation. What's with this whole "one piece stop shop" MP3 phone obsession anyway? Throwing all of your eggs into one basket will only leave you eggless and unhappy if that one basket asplodes, or gets stolen. I'd rather keep my devices separate, for both backup reasons and convenience reasons. I can also go camping with my MP3 player without having to be tethered to a cellphone...
    • You wouldn't be able to listen an iPhone on a plane. If Apple ever produced an iPhone it's pretty likely that they'd include a plane mode right from the start which disables the phone aspect.

      Some people would prefer to carry a separate iPod and phone. It's not like Apple are about to stop selling iPods. An iPhone would have a low capacity and compete with the nano. It wouldn't be a rival for the iPod itself.

      • No reason why not. My phone (Nokia N70) has an offline option where the actual phone bit of the phone is switched off.

        Which is kind of ironic, when you look at it...

      • by rahrens (939941) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:39AM (#15846784)
        I think Apple's experience with the (Motorola, was it?) last third party phone proved that it would be a risky proposition at best. Most people I heard griping about it were slamming how few songs it would hold. Add more flash memory, or a hard drive, and your power consumptioon would go up, so there goes your stand by time on the phone half of the device, especially if you spend a lot of time listening to music, or conversely, talking on the phone. Both functions take a lotta power. Put a big honkin' battery in there to make up for it, and you'd need an auxilliary power pack on yer belt!

        I don't think it'll work. I do think tho, that the references to a phone in the iPod updates may refer to a bluetooth connectivity with the iPod. Didn't see what the references were, tho, so I could be off base.

        I think this is just pure speculation. Fun speculation, to be sure, but speculation nevertheless.

        Bring on the Reality Distortion Field! Its affect on me must be fading...
      • If Apple ever produced an iPhone it's pretty likely that they'd include a plane mode right from the start which disables the phone aspect.

        Which wouldn't make any difference whatsoever. A phone's a phone in the eyes of the airlines; they're not going to start up different regulations for different makes and models. "Oh, if it's an Apple model, *and* you can verify that "plane mode" is switched on, then it's ok." No way that's gonna work.

        An Apple phone will have the same problems as every other type of pho
      • Jobs already thought of this. Rumor has it the upcoming WWDC will see also the release of an iPlane. The plane is piloted by Jobs look-alikes, fitted with plush velvet seats with integrated cinema displays, and (most relevantly) a Reality Distortion Field generator powerful enough to keep the interference from iPhones from messing with the radar. It comes in translucent Tangerine and Blueberry.

    • Who'd turn off their iPod full of Rammstein just to answer a phone call from your Dümass friend? Seriously, though, if I buy a device for the purpose of listening to music, I don't want anything to stop it to answer a phone.

      Odds are it wouldn't interrupt your music, except maybe with a chime to let you know someone is calling. Then you could look at the caller ID to see if you want to interrupt your MUSAK to talk to whoever it is.

      What's with this whole "one piece stop shop" MP3 phone obsession a
    • Before I begin I must say that I really doubt that Apple would even consider forcing all new ipods to also be phones so you will be able to buy your plain old ipod to play music and have a seperate phone. Having said that ...

      Is it hard to imagine that someone could build an audio player/phone combo where the user would decide what happens to calls when audio is playing? From mixing the two to pausing/muting the audio to take the call to putting the phone on silent, preferably with tweakability based on w

    • "What's with this whole "one piece stop shop" MP3 phone obsession anyway?"

      Pocket space.

      "Throwing all of your eggs into one basket will only leave you eggless and unhappy if that one basket asplodes, or gets stolen."

      You'd have fewer 'stealable' items to keep track of.

      "I can also go camping with my MP3 player without having to be tethered to a cellphone..."

      Do you go camping a lot? The reason I'd want my phone to play MP3s is because I'm often at places where I have my phone but not my player. 90% of the tim
  • Is it a good unit? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drewzhrodague (606182) <(drew) (at) (zhrodague.net)> on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:06AM (#15846550) Homepage Journal
    If it is a good phone, I'll get in line. I have been extremely disappointed with modern cell phones. It seems like phone manufacturers (and the seriously evil Verizon) are on crack, don't understand what mobile phones are for, what they should do, and how sensemaking such a device can be.

    • What I want to know is:
    • Does it work as a phone (without an annoying interface)?
    • Can I run programs on it (without having to buy them only from Apple)?
    • Can I develop for it (without having to pony up for a dev license)?

      Nevermind syncing features, like Bluetooth or ir. I would expect Apple to want to give that to their users.

      So far, I have found few phones as functional as my (old) Nokia 3650, and it's broken. Is an iPhone a phone for me?
    • by Ryan Amos (16972)
      The Motorola RAZR is a good phone (interface sucks, but I'm used to Moto phones so it doesn't bother me so much.) It's small, works well as a phone with an actually decent speaker phone, and the interface is usable enough for the 3 things I ever do with a cell phone (make calls, text message, alarm clock.)

      Application development is not a symptom of the phone, but rather the network.

      Verizon/Cingular wants to charge you $5 for Tetris, and if they allow just anyone to develop an application which can then be d
      • I have to second that. I personally do not do text messaging and I don't use any of the internet features (I might use them if they didn't suck, but that is another story.)

        As a phone, it is very small, it works well with blue tooth and my Mac. I have no problems getting pictures on and off. It was easy to make my own ringtone for it and get it onto the phone. It fits in my pocket really well. I like the charger. The battery life is great. And the phone looks cool. I've always kind of wanted a flip phone, bu
    • You're looking for a Palm Treo [palm.com]. The Developer Suite [palmos.com] for it is totally free. It's got a no-nonsense phone, and can do basically anything you want it to. A couple of my more financially well-adjusted friends have them and absolutely adore them.
    • I have the Nokia e61 [nokia.co.uk] which answers yes to all your questions.

      Here's a review [my-symbian.com] for it. You can run whatever you want on it. You can write your own programs in C++, Java or probably other languages too. At least my unit has no stupid lockings. I can install whatever mp3 songs I want as ringtones or for listening. And there's even a third-party internet radio player that you can install.

  • iPhone (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jhan (542783) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:07AM (#15846558) Homepage

    Well, the current iPod is not a video iPod according to Stephen, so maybe the next one will not be a phone?

    Makes sense.

  • Any idea which one is real? Any of them that do not have the numbers in a 3 x 4 grid with right angles should not fly. There's no reason for those odd angles which make you have to look to find every button.
  • by n-carro2 (670495) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:09AM (#15846579)
    ... I would randomy put in things like 'phone related code'. Imagine the fun of sitting back and seeing what rumors would start.
    • If I worked at Apple, I'd put in comments like these
      • // Reminder : Add this code after Steve Jobs resigns in the 4th Quarter.
      • // Purpose : This code was added to cover up the security hole we didn't report back in 05
      • // Reminder : Enable this worm when Apple files for bankruptcy in 07
      • When end users disassemble the code searching for clues, your comments wouldn't be there. You need to use hex codes that spell out secrets and use them as constants and magic numbers in the code.

        For example, you might use 0XA991DEAD as a magic number if you want to cast a pall over the future of the company and make money by shorting the stock.
  • by QuatermassX (808146) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:10AM (#15846584) Homepage
    It seems that Apple has something clever up their sleeve according to Robert Scoble: "Speaking of Apple," Mr. Scoble concluded, "they are readying a dizzying amount of new products. I wish I could camp out at an Apple store during the World Wide Developer Conference on August 7th. I wish I could say more, but that'd get me sued by Steve Jobs and I don't need that kind of heck right now." http://www.macobserver.com/article/2006/08/03.8.sh tml [macobserver.com] and http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/07/31/mclaws- is-right-on-windows-vista-ship-date [wordpress.com] Ok, ok ... so this isn't really news, but it is still fun to work oneself up into a lather about the latest and greatest from His Steveness. Now that I live in London I can't really attend these fab Apple confabs. I was there in NYC back in whenever it was when Steve said, "now reach under your seats" and found a lovely new Apple Pro Mouse. Those were heady days, indeed. As a wannabe photographer (http://homepage.mac.com/nevermore/), I keep hoping for speed boosts to Aperture ... though I'm sure it'll scream on the new MacPro's ... or is that Mac Pro sans article (as in, don't eat iPod, say hello to iMac)? And I'd really love to trade in my trusty olde iPod (10GB 2nd Gen - battered from falling into the cross-trainer at the gym, but still very much functional) for something with a wide screen that plays movies.
  • Yes- but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by manonthemoon (537690)
    I'm doubting its ready for debut yet. I also think its a big enough deal that when the *do* show it, they won't mix it in with a bunch of other announcements at WWDC. It will get its own, big time show.

    This is a market they will address. During their last earnings telephone conference they basically let everyone know that they are aware that the phone and iPod markets are converging and that they are not sitting still. So its a matter of when, not whether.
  • An iPhone makes no sense for Apple as a company. They are traditionally a high-cost, high-margin vendor who adds value to their products by marketing. There is no room for that in the cell phone market, which is oversaturated with low-margin Asian manufacturers/vendors whose phones are often given away for free.

    I think Apple is content to license iTunes to phone manufacturers themselves; indeed, the only reason Apple has to enter the cell phone market is to push iTunes. Mobile phone vendors are also notorio
    • I agree with you that Apple isn't into entering previously saturated markets so much. However:

      There is no room for that in the cell phone market, which is oversaturated with low-margin Asian manufacturers/vendors whose phones are often given away for free

      Saying phones are currently "given away for free" is hardly right. They're wedded to contracts with the phone companies. My Motorola got soaked this February out whale watching, and I can tell you it wasn't "free" to replace the thing with a much worse

      • Plus, we do have the RAZR market-testing as a toe Apple put in the water, very carefully.

        I think you mean the ROKR. And I would have got a ROKR except for two things: it looks very lame sitting next to the RAZR (why couldn't they have put iTunes in the RAZR!), and it stores a paltry 100 songs. The whole point of the iPod (for me at least) is that it stores my entire music library. (I don't quite understand the appeal of the smaller iPods which proves I'm not perhaps the target audience.)
    • Look at how well something like the RAZR has done. That's not "free" by any means, nor cheap - it's cheap to consumers because phone companies subsidize the cost through long term service plans.

      Why could Apple not be the producer of the next RAZR, where different phone companies resell the hardware and Apple provides the same compelling hardware/software integration they have with the iPod, with Apple perhaps dictating terms to the phone companies so that they could not disable features.

      Also, Apple would p
    • They are traditionally a high-cost, high-margin vendor who adds value to their products by marketing. There is no room for that in the cell phone market

      Somebody should tell Nokia that. [vertu.com] Of course, those are completely ridiculous phones, probably aimed at the sort of folks who'd buy a Maybach [maybachusa.com], so that's a bit above what Apple'd probably be interested in.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:22AM (#15846677) Homepage Journal

    The time for Apple to release a cellphone was five years ago. Not because it would have been a roaring success - its success would probably have been identical then to a release today, moderate sales, sitting as an overpriced niche product next to the phone enabled Treos and the Nokia 9000 series. Maybe higher - the RAZR proved people still value aesthetics and will pay a premium for it. But what was then is not now. Today Apple has the iPod. The iPod is of critical importance to Apple's medium term future.

    And the iPod is facing a competitor, the MP3 playing mobile phone. They're not that good right now, but capacities are going through the roof, so they will be soon. Indeed, get something like a Motorola V635 (which has a transflash port) and you can get a gigabyte card for it today and store a significant amount of music with you, listening to it on bluetooth headphones. iPods in this environment become a way of playing iTMS tracks, and pretty much nothing else. As long as the interfaces in these phones are "good enough", and they have enough capacity, there's no compelling reason for someone to buy a separate MP3 player.

    Now, here's the problem. If Apple enters that market with a phone, they're fucked, because whether it's 2001 or 2006, their phone will be the niche - or at most "significant player amongst ten others" - product I mentioned. RAZRs are doing well, but they're not 3/4 of the market. So Apple's percentage of the MP3 player market will plummet. This has direct consequences for the long term viability of their multimedia business.

    Apple's one chance at continuing to control the market the way it does today is to license the technology. If they act as a neutral party (rather than a competitor), they can continue to profit from the lion's share of the MP3 players out there, and can continue to grow and control their multimedia business.

    If they sell a phone, they become a competitor. They will have problems licensing the technology, and they will become an also-ran.

    Everything you're seeing that "points" towards Apple involvement in cellphones points equally at licensing schemes, and often points away from standalone phones. Nobody's (Apple or anyone else) going to make the iPod nano firmware the basis of a mobile phone operating system, but they may be willing to incorporate an iPod nano's core into a mobile phone.

    Apple's one try out in this area was the ROKR. The ROKR was a stop-gap, and by all accounts Apple, not Motorola, deliberately crippled it (the 100 song limit, for example.) This should not be judged as "what Apple will do if they take licensing seriously", instead it should be seen as Apple trying to delay mass consumer acceptance of MP3 playing cellphones until the technology is good enough the things just can't be resisted any more.

    No Apple cellphone will come from Apple. You'll see cellphones "with iPod(tm) technology" from a variety of manufacturers, but Apple is not in a position to make cellphones and almost certainly doesn't want to enter that particular snake pit of a market. If Apple releases a cellphone over the next few months, an Apple designed and branded unit not mostly owned by Nokia, Motorola, or some other manufacturer, I'd advise selling whatever AAPL stock you have, because it'll be their XBox: a product they'll be subsidizing for years trying to get into a market they have little experience of.

    • Also, a few years ago Apple could have offered a seriously better UI experience over existing phones. These days, manufacturers like Sony-Erriccson seem to be getting their UI acts together, so Apple would have to come up with something seriously magical to differentiate themselves.
    • I think we'll see a phone from Apple, with dedicated hardware - possibly they will sell it with service bought from other companies kind of as Virgin Mobile does it today, or possibly Apple will be more like motorola and offer a phone that other carriers will then directly provide service for.

      That could make a lot of sense because then Apple would be able to control design of the total device and software, which is really the thing that Apple could bring to cell phones that would be comeplling to buy.

      Simply
      • Virgin Mobile has what share of the market?

        In this case, bear in mind that Apple has to retain market share. If it doesn't, services like the iTMS no longer become relevent to the rest of the music industry.

        There is no way in hell Apple is going to be able to make phones and be the maker of MP3 playing phones that has a higher market share than everyone else put together. They can license the iPod/iTunes names, and software to present an iPod experience, and even hardware, to all the other phone manufa

        • Marking words (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)
          There is no way in hell Apple is going to be able to make phones and be the maker of MP3 playing phones that has a higher market share than everyone else put together. They can license the iPod/iTunes names, and software to present an iPod experience, and even hardware, to all the other phone manufacturers and have that hold on the market. But there's no way they can make and sell a cellphone that would end up being the most popular cellphone in the US, let alone the rest of the world.

          That comment is probab
          • However, why would the phone alone need to surpass all other phone sales? It would not, it would simply have to continue to grow the space ITMS audio and video could be sold into. If the combination of standalone iPods plus iPod phones is still the lions share of MP3 players in the market, Apple has succeeded - even if the iPod phones are not the leader in that single segment of the market.

            You're so close. So very close. And yet you ignore all the facts that answer your own question for you.

            As I said

  • iphone h4cks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajgeek (892406)
    I think iphone is out of the scope of Apple, personally. But not to go too off topic, here's something I don't think phone companies, MPAA, RIAA, and god knows how many other acronyms would like to see at all. Think of it this way. You have the latest release from . You really like it. In comes a hacker who finds a cool method to phone a friend, let them listen to the latest tune, and the friend, who also happens to have this new program, record the data streaming to them, which btw wouldn't have inter
  • The Motorola SLVR L7, the ROKR, the V3i w/ iTunes. Apple doesn't need to make an "iPhone".
  • by dougman (908) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:43AM (#15846804)
    If you haven't seen the iTalk spec commercial [devilducky.com] for by award winning filmmaker Christopher DeSantis (design by Gregory DeSantis) you should check it out. In past speculative posts on /., it seems that the biggest reason "Apple will never do this" is that "the people" don't want a device like this. With the success of the iPod, I don't see how people *wouldn't* want a device like this. Millions of people want an iPod... I'd guess that most of those people are also cell phone users. Why wouldn't I want one device that does both assuming that Apple does it right?

    I think it would be a huge success should Apple decide to build an iTalk that is a high quality phone, maintains everything we expect in an iPod, has decent battery life, and has the popular Apple style. I haven't had a decent cell phone in years. I find most of today's phones too small, lots of plastic and very lightweight. Count me in the camp that hopes they build one at some point.
  • by DaveM753 (844913) on Friday August 04, 2006 @11:48AM (#15846832)
    My phone plays music, and it's not even DRM protected:

    Dial:

    6,5,4,5,6,6,6
    5,5,5...6,6,6
    6,5,4,5,6,6,6,6,5,5,6,5,4

    :P

    (By the way, I am not responsible for any long distance or airtime charges you may incur)

    • Couldn't you have chosen a tune with more international notoriety - say "Smoke On The Water" or something like that?

      Being a Brit and having just tried that on my phone, I recognise it as "some American ditty the tune of which I recognise but can't put a name to" and now I'm racking my brains trying to remember the title and it's going to stay in my head all evening - i just know it!

      • Being a Brit and having just tried that on my phone, I recognise it as "some American ditty the tune of which I recognise but can't put a name to" and now I'm racking my brains trying to remember the title and it's going to stay in my head all evening - i just know it!

        "Mary had a little lamb"?

        Obviously, being British you need something far closer to your heart. So, I present Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the anthem for our glorious European Union!

        336996321123322336996321123211 !!!
  • iPhorOne... (Score:2, Funny)

    by TechDogg (802999)
    welcome our speculation overlords!!
  • What is this obsession with Apple branded phones? I am sorry but I have a RAZR and a nano and they are suffice to what I need. Both are small enough to carry together (I usually have 2 or more pockets) or I can leave iPod if I don't need it. Moreover, both invidually are great at what they do! When Moto try to converge the cell phone and the ipod (ROKR), it looked awful, had limitations, and was expensive. Personally, with WWDC around the corner, I am more interested in Leopard (Vista killer?) and the new M
  • quotes (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "I felt a great disturbance in this pointless discussion, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced."

    Hacker1: Something WAS in the iPod. The code leads off in this direction.
    Hacker2: [holding up a print-out of a code] "Look, sir: iPhone!

    Apple lawyer: Don't act so surprised, your highness. You weren't on any mercy mission this time. Several transmissions about iPhone were beamed to this site by Apple workers. I want to know what happened to the plans they sent you.
    Inter
  • I predict they will team up with Nike to produce an iShoePhone
  • IT Focus at WWDC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xorowo (733585) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:10PM (#15846999) Homepage Journal
    I work as a Director of Technology and I find it interesting that my Apple reps have been courting me so much these last few months. So much that they have not only given me a free pass to WWDC, but have invited me to sit in the VIP section at Jobs' keynote and to attend a special reception for IT professionals Monday evening.

    Now, it may be that Apple always does this sort of thing to convince people like me to buy Macs. And we surely know that the Mac Pro will debut (as well as 10.5). But the full court press that I am getting suggests that this year's WWDC is as much about people like me as it is developers. Does this indicate anything about the content of Jobs' keynote? Probably not. But the treatment that I am receiving when I have almost nothing to do with development suggests that they are trying to garner as much interest as possible, and as much buy-in as possible.
  • It was announced months ago that Apple was partnering with Softbank, a Japanese phone company. I can't believe no one remembers this.

    http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/05/12/1648586.h tm [tmcnet.com]
  • I really never have stood behind the iPhone idea, I think it might be kind of interesting, but it seems very unlikely, since Apple tends to concentrate on simple, elligant, and effective devices that do one thing, and one thing well. I think any increase in Apple's involvement in phones will be through their continued partnership with Motorola.

    On the flip-side, it's hard for me to believe that the WWDC will go by without any iPod announcement. It's been nearly 9 months since any change in the iPod lineup,

    • We're likely to see a lot more concentration on mass marketting. XServe means nothing to most of their audience.

      Bear in mind what the "D" in "WWDC" stands for - this is a somewhat more narrowly-targeted conference, so it would probably be used for a number of announcements that would mean nothing to much of the Apple customer base (an announcement of a new Core Fillintheblank facility coming in Leopard would probably go over the head of most Mac owners, for example).

  • And it's manufactured by SonyEricsson of all companies... More on that later though.

    The iTunes phones will never gain critical mass acceptance as is because of the 100 song limit. That was Apple imposed as to not to interfere with iPod sales. One would have to believe that any iPhone that Apple (may) implement would have that in mind, that it would be not to interfere with its current Cash Cow, the iPod (and the Nano). So, if there would be an iPhone, I wouldn't see any Memory Card Interface and be limi
  • I say no iPhone for one simple reason: Too many cellphone companies means too many deals with too many ones specifying restrictions. It took Apple 2 years negotiating with the music industry just to get the ITMS up and running. Imagine negotiating with all the various cell phone networks on what the iPhone can and won't do?

    You think Verizon will allow users to download songs directly from ITMS, and bypass their network?

    Of course, I was wrong about the Apple stores and Apple switching to the Intel processor.
  • If Apple ever does produce a phone, it will be a Wifi phone, not a cellular phone.
  • Will you people ever give up on a stupid apple cell phone?
    for christs sake this has been going on for years, its not gonna happen get over it.
  • Read an editorial in the current issue of Sound & Vision magazine. (yes, actual print on dead trees!)

    The writer pointed out that the old Sprint telephone ads for their land lines suggested they were so clean, you could hear a pin drop. Now, Cingular is advertising they drop the fewest calls for cell users. (they don't say they don't drop ANY, just fewer than the competition)

    He states that most cell call voice quality is AWFUL and that he thinks the "culprit" is convenience. Typical consumer will choose

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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