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Portables (Apple) Communications Hardware

Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone 432

Posted by Hemos
chadwick writes "It seemed like a sure thing: the iPod mobile phone. What could be more irresistible than a device combining the digital-music prowess of Apple Computer (AAPL) with the wireless expertise of Motorola (MOT)? Motorola sent its buzz machinery into overdrive in January when it leaked word that the product would debut at a cellular-industry conference in New Orleans in mid-March. Well, hold the phone. At the New Orleans confab, a frustrated Edward Zander, Motorola's chief executive, stood before a roomful of analysts and reporters and said the handset's debut would have to wait. "
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Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone

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  • Pre announcements (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:32PM (#12041925) Homepage Journal
    At the New Orleans confab, a frustrated Edward Zander, Motorola's chief executive, stood before a roomful of analysts and reporters and said the handset's debut would have to wait. "

    Showing precisely why pre-announcement of products only leads to problems, frustrations, and customer dissatisfaction.

    Only announce products when they are done and ready to ship and you avoid this sort of garbage. Everybody is speculating on just what the hold-up is. It could be that the phone is not ready or that the wireless carriers are trying to extract every last cent out of somebody else's (Apple and Motorola) hard earned work. But the point is that there is now a consumer expectation and they are complaining to Apple and Motorola saying "why can't you get your $#!t together and release the product?" when it may actually be the fault of Verizon, Cingular et. al. The problem of course is that on sales of the songs themselves, Apple's profit is next to nothing. So having other companies try and muscle in on very thin margins means 1) either somebody has to take it in the shorts or 2) we all lose. Of course if the record labels would allow more access to the music for Internet delivery, it would be treated as the commodity it really is and there would be more room for profits from higher volume, but that is another post.

    Oh, and it would be nice if people who are submitting articles would actually summarize the story rather than posting verbatim what the writer of the referenced article says.

    • Re:Pre announcements (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tha_mink (518151) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:37PM (#12041971)
      "Only announce products when they are done and ready to ship and you avoid this sort of garbage. Everybody is speculating on just what the hold-up is. It could be that the phone is not ready or that the wireless carriers are trying to extract every last cent out of somebody else's (Apple and Motorola) hard earned work. But the point is that there is now a consumer expectation and they are complaining to Apple and Motorola saying "why can't you get your $#!t together and release the product?" when it may actually be the fault of Verizon, Cingular et. al. The problem of course is that on sales of the songs themselves, Apple's profit is next to nothing. So having other companies try and muscle in on very thin margins means 1) either somebody has to take it in the shorts or 2) we all lose. Of course if the record labels would allow more access to the music for Internet delivery, it would be treated as the commodity it really is and there would be more room for profits from higher volume, but that is another post."

      But then you forget how the market reacts. You pre-announce a product, or an idea, and when it makes sense and gets buzz, your stock goes up. But when you announce you need more time, nothing bad happens. (or at least you don't lose your previous gains) So, when you need capital to do such a thing, you pre-announce. Nobody gets hurt...you'll get your iPod phone soon enough, if of course, you can spend the dollars.
      • by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:43PM (#12042027) Homepage Journal
        Nobody gets hurt...

        But it is of course dishonest to both your customers and shareholders. For companies that want to build quality relationships with their customers, this is bad policy. You've heard of vaporware? Yeah, that's what your customers begin to expect and why companies like Microsoft, HP (under Carly) and others have lost the respect of many of their customers. Concept products are one thing, in that they are designed to get a feeling for how your customer base would react to such a product, but there is no expectation of that concept being actually produced in its current form. Pre-announcing is simply dishonest.

        • by soupdevil (587476)
          It's not "simply" dishonest -- it's dishonest in tricky and complex ways.
        • by ePhil_One (634771) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:35AM (#12043488) Journal
          But it is of course dishonest to both your customers and shareholders.

          But according to the article the problem isn't that the phone isn't ready, the problem is the carriers don't want to sell it unless they can charge $.99 each song you install. By announcing it, consumers can pressure the carriers to support the phone.

          Of course, this sounds a bit odd, as carriers still sell phones that don't support all those wacky pictures and backgrounds, and being the only carrier to sell the iPod phone seems like a great draw to me. So Moto might be playing the blame game as a diversion to buy more time, though I can't imagine there's anything complex about taping a cell phone to an iPod beyond where do the buttons go and how long do the batteries last...

        • Re:Pre announcements (Score:5, Informative)

          by mamahuhu (225334) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:47AM (#12043552) Journal
          The issue I have with this problem is that it is all so US centric.

          Guess why the US lags in mobile phone use? - stupid monopolies doing stupid things and the customers having to take it as it's the only game in town - literally sometimes.

          As an alternative consider Hong Kong where I live.

          There are something like 6 mobile phone companies (plus virtual operators) all competing for the same 7 million people. Almost everyone buys their phones at retail with no lock-in on the carrier that they use. I have bought subsidised phones but they are always cheap and nasty - I gave them to my parents to take back to the homeland as there's no carrier lock-in.

          The way all these carriers compete is on call cost and service. It is very cheap to make calls in Hong Kong, free SMS, voicemail, call forwarding. Free calls within the network for designated numbers (Girl Friend to BF for instance) - and most crucially - you pay to both make AND receive calls on your mobile phone.

          You pay for the convenience of receiving calls when you're out and about. Or to make calls when you're out. But interestingly land lines do NOT pay a toll to call a mobile.

          Best yet is that you can call divert your phone to a landline and no one pays to make the call to your mobile number... unless the calling party uses a mobile.

          What this does is encourage people to make lots of calls on their mobile and use it for their main number as no one cares that it is a mobile number - no cost to call it. Hong Kong was first to allow number transfer between carriers resulting in a market that is hugely competitive.

          So we have low call costs, lots of value added services, everyone using mobile phones for most of their calls, many people have more than one phone (work, family and mistress :) and we get fancy phones with lots of features.

          It is a totally different economy for mobile phones in Hong Kong. But there is a way to change the game for the US.

          So to the iPod phone... In this HK context the choice of phone comes down to what people want to buy - usually the latest and greatest fashion phone. An iPod phone would be hugely popular here. It would be another fashion phone, the coolest must have toy. And as most people get their phones from suppliers other than the carriers there is no subsidy and nothing stopping an iTunes phone for Hong Kong.

          But think of it in reverse: If Apple released an iPod with phone functionality at a slight premium over a standard iPod - say like the iPod Photo is a premium iPod... then it would not need subsidy. It's an iPod not a phone.... no one buys subsidised iPods.

          But what has been spoken about is a phone with limited iTunes support - so you enter the realm of carrier subsidy. Wrong way to look at it totally.

          I'd buy an iPod 40GB with GSM phone like a shot. And I'd pay HKD$4000 to do so. That's around $500 USD.

          I would NOT pay HKD$800 ($100 USD) for a shitty subsidised phone with iTunes that locks me into bad expensive service from one carrier.

          So what does Apple want to do? Sell iPods or license iTunes to phone manufacturers? There's no option to my mind. Screw the US carriers and change the game!
          • Re:Pre announcements (Score:5, Informative)

            by Keeper (56691) on Friday March 25, 2005 @03:45AM (#12044159)
            The way all these carriers compete is on call cost and service. It is very cheap to make calls in Hong Kong, free SMS, voicemail, call forwarding. Free calls within the network for designated numbers (Girl Friend to BF for instance) - and most crucially - you pay to both make AND receive calls on your mobile phone.

            You pay for the convenience of receiving calls when you're out and about. Or to make calls when you're out. But interestingly land lines do NOT pay a toll to call a mobile.

            Best yet is that you can call divert your phone to a landline and no one pays to make the call to your mobile number... unless the calling party uses a mobile.

            What this does is encourage people to make lots of calls on their mobile and use it for their main number as no one cares that it is a mobile number - no cost to call it. Hong Kong was first to allow number transfer between carriers resulting in a market that is hugely competitive.

            So we have low call costs, lots of value added services, everyone using mobile phones for most of their calls, many people have more than one phone (work, family and mistress :) and we get fancy phones with lots of features.


            You haven't actually looked at cell phone plans in the US much lately have you?

            The only difference with what you describe is that in the US is the contract bundle phones (if you go that route) aren't complete utter crap.
          • Re:Pre announcements (Score:4, Interesting)

            by tbone1 (309237) on Friday March 25, 2005 @06:30AM (#12044660) Homepage
            • Guess why the US lags in mobile phone use? - stupid monopolies doing stupid things and the customers having to take it as it's the only game in town - literally sometimes.

            Actually, the real reason is that the land line infrastructure in the US isn't the complete crap it is in other countries. I've been to a lot of countries overseas and worked with quite a few foreigners here in the US. I know that, at one time, it would take up to six months to get a land line phone in Germany. The union got the government to make it illegal for anyone else to hook up a phone, and they would dig a new trench from the box to your house for every new hookup, then dig it up when you had it disconnected.

            And from what I've heard, the situation in India was dire.

            So if you're blaming government monopolies and stupid monopolies, you're partly right, but probably not in the way you thought.

            • Re:Pre announcements (Score:4, Interesting)

              by hey! (33014) on Friday March 25, 2005 @08:54AM (#12045065) Homepage Journal
              That's a good point about the land lines. I should point out to be completely historically accurate though, that the land line system was already excellent in the US under the AT&T monopoly. If anything, once the break up was in full swing, the network suffered slightly in my opinion, although that was a temporary thing.

              The thing that the breakup was supposed to do was to take an excellent phone system and make even more excellent. The idea was that providers would introduce digital services to compete with each other. In point of fact it was probably the worst thing they could have done to promote digital services. There was very little effort to promote digital services, since supporting them was expensive. People who insisted on getting ISDN soon found the telcos were terrible at provisioning and supporting the services because they hadn't made the investments in training and staffing needed to do a half way decent job.

              The choice for a telco was simple -- spend money convincing people to buy into an expensive service they didn't understand and then spend tons of money to support it, or compete on price. Well, the rest as they say is history. We've had over a incredibly low prices on phone calls, and only recently had telcos competing to bring digital services to the home through DSL.

              The thing is, while we clearly benefit from cheaper calls, and Internet technology is probably more flexible than ISDN, it has come at a price. Life is more complicated. Nobody had to understand anything like a "calling plan", unless you were a government regulator. The cost of figuring this out and managing telephone use in business has to be set against the direct cost savings. This is not to mention the horribly pushing telemarketers trying to get you to switch to some fly-by-night telephone company, which was the spam problem of the 80s.

              There's a net benefit of course, but I suspect that most of us when we are on our deathbed would probably like to have the time we spent comparing calling plans back. Heck, I'll probably want my /. posting time back, I suppose.
      • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:00PM (#12042143)
        It depends on the product. In this case, I think Apple is right. Motorola doesn't have much experience with releasing consumer products that people lust for... Apple does.

        If you announce an iTunes / Motorola Cellphone before it is ready to hit the market, you adversely affect current sales of iPods and Moto phones. People like to have the next best thing, and they hate buying something that's outdated in a month. Consumers will usually hold off on purchasing a new device if they can get a cooler device in a few months / weeks.

        This is precisely why Apple usually announces hardware and sells it the very same day. If they don't do that, they have to liquidate a load of outdated hardware. Consumers won't buy a 15 gig iPod if they know a 20 gig with more features will be on sale for the same price next month.

        The only time Apple doesn't do this is when they have a future product that doesn't directly compete against what they are currently selling.

        Apple has one of the best inventory records in the tech industry. Motorola should listen them.
        • by Kiryat Malachi (177258) on Friday March 25, 2005 @05:09AM (#12044415) Journal
          Motorola doesn't have much experience with releasing consumer products that people lust for...

          I don't know. They did pretty well with car radios, televisions, and then later on the cell phone (a Motorola invention), then the StarTAC, and now the Razr.

          Apple does alright too, but Motorola has a pretty good track record with making stuff people want to buy.

          Also, what kind of crack are you smoking?

          This is precisely why Apple usually announces hardware and sells it the very same day.

          Apple is infamous for announcing a product they know they won't be selling/shipping for months.
    • Re:Pre announcements (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lowrydr310 (830514)
      I thought the wireless companies make enough profit by passing on their fees and surcharges directly to the customer. Imagine buying something at Target and having them charge you an electricy surcharge, security surcharge, paper surcharge (to cover the cost of the paper your receipt was printed on), etc.

      Ok, maybe it's not exactly the same, but wireless companies seem pretty greedy and I read an article somewhere that said they make a hefty chunk of change by passing telecom fees directly to the consumer.

      • Re:Pre announcements (Score:3, Informative)

        by mp3phish (747341)
        " I thought the wireless companies make enough profit by passing on their fees and surcharges directly to the customer"

        Actually, cellular companies make a hefty profit by reselling the phones. They only "lose" money on the free phones. All the "discounted" phones are still above their costs. They just jack them up significantly and then drop them back down to a reasonable level when you buy the 2yr contract.
        • Re:Pre announcements (Score:2, Informative)

          by BasilBrush (643681)
          My word, you do come out wilth a lot of bullshit. All phones that come with a contract are subsidised, not just the free ones. The operators do not make any profit on any of them, quite the contrary. If you didn't know this already, again you'd heve learned it by reading TFA.
  • Say WHY (Score:5, Informative)

    by mr100percent (57156) * on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:32PM (#12041928) Homepage Journal
    Why can't the poster include a one-sentence explanation of Why? He even copied the headline. From the article:
    Verizon, Cingular, and other wireless operators want customers to pay to put music on phones [instead of copying them from a computer.] They think getting a full song should be like getting a ring tone.
    This isn't a first. Verizon modified the firmware on the Treo 600 and Motorola v710 camera phones to prevent the images from being copied off via Bluetooth. Instead, they wanted you to send the photos through their pay service.

    • Re:Say WHY (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jonwil (467024)
      Thankfully that cant happen in a country like Australia with REAL compeition in the phone market and REAL choice of phones.
      • Why are we putting up with this kind of thing in here in the US, anyway? I mean I'm not, personally -- I don't own a cellphone. But that's because there's no way in hell I'd pay someone to cripple the device for me, just to force me to pay them more money! Why are there so many sheeple here to let them get away with it?
        • by metlin (258108) on Friday March 25, 2005 @06:00AM (#12044576) Journal
          Well because to most people (and that includes me) a cellphone is nothing more than a tool and an instrument.

          I'm a student, and since I'm simply not grounded enough to have a landline, I have a cellphone. Helps me when I take weekends off and shift apartments and dorms every other semester.

          Quite honestly, while all the features sound oh-so-cool and and wonderful, I do not honestly care - I have a very basic phone that lets me do ONE thing properly - TALK. Any phone with decent battery life, good signal reception and a clear channel is good enough. Often times, the base model does suffice and that's more than sufficient for me.

          Hell, who cares? If I wanted to send images and stuff, I'd get a good enough PDA for that. A phone is primarily a communication device. Any fancy stuff merely eats up battery.

          And oh, as someone who does a lot of outdoor stuff, I've come to realize that battery life is quite important, and more features just eat up more battery life real quickly.

          So, to answer your question - the kind who pay to buy crippled stuff are mostly the dumb folks (and usually with cash to blow for spending just $2.50 per MMS or whatever) or the folks who want the latest cool thing (the Oooh! Lookie there! Shiny, shiny! My phone can do _this_! That makes me _so_ proud of my manhood). Very few have a genuine need to see a movie on their cellphone or have any use for any of the quintillion features that the phone may have.

          What bloody difference does it make? It's a thing for talking, for cryin' out loud. Bah!
    • Well then. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mcc (14761)
      If that really is the problem, then why deal with Verizon and Cingular at all? Release the thing in Europe, or somewhere (if some such place exists) where consumers have enough of a choice of cell phone providers that the provider can't stop the customer from doing what they like with their own phone. Once it's been out awhile, quietly try to make the public aware that the people in Europe have access to this phone iPod thing and that the only reason why Americans can't use it is because the American cell p
      • Re:Well then. (Score:5, Informative)

        by tim1724 (28482) * on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:00PM (#12042139) Homepage Journal
        Isn't Motorola supposed to be German anyway?

        Huh? What are you talking about?

        Motorola is a US corporation, traded on the NYSE (ticker symbol MOT). Its headquarters are in Schaumburg, Illinois. How does that make it German?

        • I think he's confusing it with Philips or Nokia (which are European, at least).
      • Because the story is exactly the same in Europe. All operators are unwilling to see other people making money for services on phones that they have subsidized. In fact the European operators are probably more hard nosed on this one because they overpaid for 3G licenses a few years ago and are still struggling to make the money back.
    • This isn't a first. Verizon modified the firmware on the Treo 600 and Motorola v710 camera phones to prevent the images from being copied off via Bluetooth.

      I was lucky to get my T616 before Cingular started on the Verizon kick, crippling phones. Luckily hardware companies are more than happy to sell their products directly.

      I remember going into a Cingular store and the guy behind the desk didn't even know what firmware was. I asked if there was anyone that worked there that could actually do more than

  • by dwipal (709116) * on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:37PM (#12041967) Homepage
    I visit India and other contries, and i must say that the phones and technologies people use there is WAAAY superior than what we use in US.

    Synchronizing the phones with computer is standard there, and so is "SMSing" ringtones. If one person buys a ringtone from the carrier (which is around 8 cents), that ringtone can be SMSed to all the friends. There is a nominal charge for SMS also, basically its a huge market which people simply love.

    What sucks here is iTunes sells whole song for 99c, and the f**** cell phone carrier sells the MIDI file for that song for 3 dollars, that expires in 3 months!!!! No wonder people use sites like 3guploads.com or PitPim to put ringtones on their phones. The carriers are simply killing the technology by locking too much stuff.

    • by ezthrust (564219) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:55PM (#12042120) Homepage
      You don't have to go to India to get a fair deal. I am on Fido in Canada using a SE T610 I got for $25. It has the most recent firmware, BT is active, I can use .midi files that I make myself as ringtones. Text messages 10 cents, Picture 25 cents. Data, 3 cents a KB (I don't have a plan for that)

      Am I happy with my carrier?
      Damn straight!

  • by ZipR (584654) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:37PM (#12041970)
    Will you dial by twirling your fingers in a circle on the rotary sensor like an old pulse dialing phone?
    I could get behind that.
    • Nokia has a weird phone that works in a manner a bit like that. It's a bit bigger than a lipstick, and numbers/letters are scrolled onto the screen using some sort of joystick. Only saw an early model of this phone at a convention so I dont know if its still on the market. Looked sassy at first, but failed with the impossible to use interface.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:41PM (#12042009) Journal
    Basically there are two opposing parties in any cellphone you see on the market. The first is the obvious one, the handset maker. The other is the operator (Vodafone, Sprint, etc). While it may seem like these two would normally be a happy bunch. But they aren't.

    Handset makers want to stylize their phone as much as possible. Adding features and making their phone stand out from the rest of the pack. Operators want all the phones to support a certain set of basic functionality and fit into a certain form factor. They don't want to allow the handset maker's trademarks overshadow their own. On the other hand, the makers want it to be obvious to the user who the maker of that phone is.

    Apple, and to a large extent Microsoft too, have very strong brands. They love branding. That's why we're talking about an iPhone and not an Apple-produced cell phone. But operators don't want that kind of power shifted into the hands of the makers.

    So you get what we have here, which is the way he wants it.
    • "Apple, and to a large extent Microsoft too, have very strong brands. They love branding"

      The problem is, with Microsoft branding, the experience is a lot like what a cow feels at the end of the roundup. "Yeeha! Dogies. Stand still so we can brand you with the MS of the Billygates Ranch. The brandin' irons are heatin' up."

    • In India, the handset and the carrier are pretty much detached. Lot of people by the handset they like separately and then simply buy the SIM card from the service provider. Allows them to change carrier/number etc pretty easily as there is no network locking or anything. Of course, we don't get the handset for free, tho.
  • uhhh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Illserve (56215) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:44PM (#12042039)
    A phone in my MP3 player? That's pretty easy to resist. I beat the living tar out of my phone. Most people do.

    The ipod is pretty tough yea, but it wouldn't last a week in the chassis of my mobile phone.

    Nor would I want my phone to have a net worth of $400 either.

    Can we get over this fixation with phone/mp3/toaster oven/breadmakers already? Their day has come and gone. I want devices grouped by how I use and abuse them.

    • I agree.. Mine phone has some nice gouges out of it.. Add to the fact how many times i've drop it on the ground getting out of my car and the holster breaking twice and sending my phone tumbling.. I don't think a HD based MP3 player is going to be a very good idea.. Now the flash one would be another story.

      Ignoring this, who the hell is going to pay to download a song to their phone when they have already legally purchased it? I have camera phone and its rediculus how much they charge you to email/uploa

    • some info on the phone did leak out, including that it was flash based. it's not huge capacity or anything. they showed it to the press a day or two before the cancelled release and i guess from there some info came out about how many songs it can hold and whatnot. i don't remember the capacity, because they always talk about it in terms of number of songs (grr) and not MBs.

      i don't think it's iPod + phone as much as a phone with a built in flash drive and some slimmed down version of the iPod's software. i
    • This is why I use a Lyra HD. Its a gigantic, ugly MP3 player. Its incredibly cheap: when I bought it two years ago it was just 180 dollars for a 20 gigabyte player (when iPods were 400!). Now you can get them for hardly 100 bucks. They're big, ugly, and heavy, but damnit they can take a beating. At one point a small piece of plastic got stuck in the display and wouldn't move--I solved it by banging the thing about 100 times against a hard wooden table. Kept playing the whole time too without skipping.
    • Sounds like you don't even have an ipod.
      Further, since you don't want a $400 phone (newsflash: if you pay $200 for a phone with a new contract, it's worth probably about $400) that means you're not interested in having a phone that can play mp3's.

      The toaster-oven idea really is the holy grail of mobile devices. Don't compare it to software toaster-oven (say, Mozilla suite) because I don't have to physically carry around Firefox, Sunbird, and Thunderbird.

      Integration is sweet. Stop the hating.
    • I want devices grouped by how I use and abuse them.

      Sure you do, until the price/performance/convenience reality hits you. Would you pay $100 for a phone, plus $300 for an iPod, plus $200 for a still cam, plus $400 for a camcoder, plus $300 for a PDA, plus $20 for a USB keychain disk, etc etc, or $300 for one device that fits in your pocket and does all of this?

      Today, you might prefer separate devices to do each of these things because the multifuction devices are all shitty at any given function.

      However
      • I want devices grouped by how I use and abuse them.

        Sure you do, until the price/performance/convenience reality hits you. Would you pay $100 for a phone, plus $300 for an iPod, plus $200 for a still cam, plus $400 for a camcoder, plus $300 for a PDA, plus $20 for a USB keychain disk, etc etc, or $300 for one device that fits in your pocket and does all of this?

        You mean "and does all this poorly." It's not like a Swiss army knife; these combo phones are like a cheap, flimsy, tradeshow swag knockoff.

      • Re:uhhh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Illserve (56215) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:39PM (#12042395)
        Convenience? The more you cram into one device, the worse job it will do at all of them. Don't even try to convince me that the picture quality from some integrated widget is going to be within a mile of the quality of a $300 camera or $400 camcorder.

        And I don't to have to push a few buttons to get my pda/phone/camera into phone mode to make a call. Nor do I want some kiddie to hack into my pda/phone/camera and download everything about me.

        I want a phone that calls people, it should be lightweight, very very tough (no 5 inch touch screen!) and not have a camera lens that I have to worry about. Nor do I want to recharge it every day. Integrated devices sacrifice in durability and longevity.

        I want an ipod with many gigs of storage so that I can just grab it whatever mood I'm in, and find a suitable playlist. Integrated devices sacrifice in storage (at least right now)

        I want a camera that takes good pictures and has a big honkin lens to capture lots of light for decent night time pictures. It should have a variety of features that allow me to tailor my pictures to different techniques (exposures, focus settings, etc). Integrated device sacrifice in picture quality.

        You get what you pay for.

  • by [cx] (181186) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:48PM (#12042065)
    Now instead of hearing a crappy sounding ring tone you can hear the most annoying 50 cent song in CLEAR digital quality.
  • by StimpyPimp (821985) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:48PM (#12042067)
    A person walking down the street with some white ear plugs, talking to themselves, about the mac cult taking over the world... or some such, I will assume they are just on the phone.
  • by SteveXE (641833) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:49PM (#12042072)
    The problem isnt the feature rich phone, the problem is carriers have some how got people to pay $1-4 for STUPID RINGTONES!!!! Itunes charges me $1 for a song whether its 1 min or 10 min, but a 3 second repeating ringtone costs me $2 or a 12 kbps 30 seconds clip of a song cost me $4...wtf is all I can say.

    The phone companies wont let people do what we want with our phones until we stop letting them rape our wallets! $1.50 for a 32x32 pixel background image! Why cant i just send myself a custom made BG for free? Easy because stupid people pay, and they keep paying.

    Change wont take long, if we all stopped buying ringtones and bullshit for our phones then change would happen pretty quick, its a broken buisness model made to screw the customers out of even more money, dont fall for it!
  • by LokieLizzy (858962) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:49PM (#12042076)
    Perhaps you'll only be able to talk with other iPhones, and not with real phones, you know, so you'll be able to communicate with the hippest trendwhores...err...hipsters.

    Yeah. Hipsters. That's what I meant.

  • by Trillan (597339) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:50PM (#12042079) Homepage Journal

    ...is that nobody cares. Honestly, who's in the market for one of these phones? Phones have a short enough battery life.

    Everyone's excited now, but wait until it ships.

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:51PM (#12042086)
    ring ring ring
    Mabel: "Henry!"
    Henry: "What, dear?
    Mabel: "It's one of those calls again.
    Henry: "What calls, dear?"
    Mabel: "Every 20 minutes or so, the phone rings and I pick it up and I hear some of that damn rock music"

    Meanwhile, somewhere 5 states away, Jason is grooving down the streets, buds in ears, with one hand on the iPod phone as he hits the controls and surfs through his really impressive Led Zep collection. Every once in a while, he presses a button and the song does not change. No idea why.

  • by jkeyes (243984) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:55PM (#12042116) Journal
    The Wireless services are being stupid on this. They could just add a 'iTunes Phone Access Fee' that's $5.00 to everyone who gets the phone. Then no matter how many songs they add they get their $5.00 and I think that if meant you got the phone for free most people who read the terms after they sign wouldn't care or would just want the shiny new phone.
  • by Valthezeh (870251) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:58PM (#12042135)
    I love this idea. I hope things keep going in this direction, because I like the idea of my phone doing everything. Acting as my TV remote, my car door opener, my camera, my ipod, my palm pilot, my mobile stock/email/sports scores report... As well as the ability to interface with other technology to keep me updated on things like whether my oven is on...

    I read a few weeks ago about a cell phone company in Japan working on this, and despite my reservations due to privacy concerns, I really can't wait until this kind of technology becomes widely available.
  • So? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @09:59PM (#12042137)
    I've got a Samsung Uproar cell phone that plays MP3's which is several years old (and which I don't even use any more). Seems to me combining a cell phone and MP3 player isn't exactly a novel idea... but wait, it's Apple, so that makes it special?!?
    • Re:So? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Admiral Llama (2826)
      I had one of those. The documentation that came with the USB drivers stated that you weren't supposed to do anything on the computer while it was transferring files. Even then, the thing would BSOD half the time anyway. Opening notepad while moving songs to the phone was a guaranteed blue screen.

      And no, there was no updated version of the software that you could get.
  • by gjh (231652) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:00PM (#12042140)
    It was idiotic even trying to launch this thing in the USA. Carriers have a strange-hold over this market. Nokia has a range over over 100 handsets - you can buy about 6 of these on US carrier contracts, not including decent phones with WLAN and Bluetooth [nokia-asia.com].

    I cannot understand why Apple is sodding around with Motorola on this. They should have partnered with Nokia.

    As an aside, Apple should also partner with Shazam [shazam.com]. The best thing that an iPod/phone combo could do is recognize music from an online database and buy it for you.
    • Well aside from the technical standpoint that apple and motorola have been working togeather for years. The whole other reason to partner with them over _ANY_ other celular phone maker is that much like Apple, Motorola makes the sexiest damn cell phones around. So why not combine that with the sexiest mp3 player in town?
      Think from a design/marketing point of view.
      I know you've been thinking about Motorola's M3 razor or whatever that damn thing i don't need but severly want is.
    • by Phleg (523632) <stephen AT touset DOT org> on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:24PM (#12042303)

      I cannot understand why Apple is sodding around with Motorola on this. They should have partnered with Nokia.

      I couldn't agree more. My Nokia ended up breaking after about four years, and I ended up getting a Motorola. I've regretted every minute of it. Whereas Nokia seems to have a smiliar mindset to that of Apple (a focus on usability), my Motorola is the most unusable piece of crap I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

      I can store something like five minutes of voice on the cell phone, but I'll be damned if it runs out of space with twenty text messages. You can't turn the volume off without making more noise. Even when the volume is off, some buttons still make noise (and are conveniently on the outside of the phone, so it can beep in your pocket) making the vibrate feature nearly useless. The "Accept" and "Cancel" buttons are on different sides at different times. The dial and hangup buttons are permanently juxtaposed. The "Memory Meter" shows you a representation of how much memory is left on the phone, but you have no way of telling whether or not a full bar means it's full of space or filled up. Assigning a one-touch dial number to contacts is a pain in the ass. The power connector features two microscopic hooks which are so easy to break it's unbelievable. The phone takes five minutes after "booting" before I can place a call, view my contact list, check messages, etc. Switching the phone to "Silent" or "Vibrate" does not necessarily turn the volume off.

      I swear to god if I ever meet the man who designed this worthless piece of shit, I am going to bludgeon him with a tractor.

    • I cannot understand why Apple is sodding around with Motorola on this.

      Apple has had a partnership with Motorolla for over 20 years on the Macintosh. Right now it looks like they're going to be getting their chips from IBM for the foreseeable future, so they have to do something to stay good business partners with Motorolla in case Motorolla comes up with something good again (like they did with Altivec). Nokia is a competitor to Motorolla. It is a BAD idea to partner with your partner's competitor.

      Th

  • by HairyCanary (688865) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:04PM (#12042169)
    I see nothing but dark clouds in the future of cell phones in America unless we take back control from the corporations. We must divorce the hardware from the service, just like we did for wired telephone service. You should be able to buy whatever phone YOU want, with whatever feature set YOU want, and connect to whatever carrier YOU want. Verizon in particular has already shown us exactly how they want to control us.
    • But but but ... you CAN already do that! At least with the GSM carriers, you can already buy any phone you want, from any source you want, stick in your SIM card, and away you go.

      Of course - and this is the part you won't like - you'll have to pay full price for the phone. But that's fair - if Cingular doesn't like a particular phone then why should they pay more than half the price of it for you?

      Darn - it would be convenient if this was a "big nasty corporation vs little guy" story. But it's just an "
  • uh, me for one. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uncadonna (85026) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (sibotm)> on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:06PM (#12042178) Homepage Journal
    From the linked article; "Who wants the $500 iPod phone when you could buy a phone and an iPod for that much?" says analyst Tole Hart of researcher Gartner.

    Does anybody else not understand the question? Is this guy saying I'd rather carry two gizmos than one because, I'd have, like, more stuff?


    • Yeah, I was thinking "What does this guy research? Climate change?".

      Ever hear of a "Smart Phone" Mr Hart? It's where they combine a phone, and a PDA and charge the customer 500$ for it.

      I'm am truely astonished at how some people can keep their jobs.
  • Steve Jobs continues to revolutionize the modern world, combining the marvels of both the telecommunications industry and that of the digital music revolution.

    SJ: It will change the iPod as we know it.

    /.: But you've already got the iPod, the iPod mini, the iPod photo...isn't that enough?

    SJ: It is never enough.

    /.: But...

    SJ: Hold on a sec...(whips small white device out of pocket, attaches 103-key USB keyboard ). It's the latest device in the iPod family.

    /.: What is it? A Powerbook with a 64-bit p

  • Motorola (Score:3, Insightful)

    by diggory (264503) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:21PM (#12042283) Homepage
    I've seen a lot of mobile phones - I'm in the UK - and they've been prevalent for over a decade now. One of the things that amazes me about them is this: 1 - Motorola can't make good ones. 2 - That doesn't seem to stop people buying Motorola phones. I always warn people not to buy Motorola - they are always buggy and frequently crash completely (i.e. lock-up and require rebooting.) Yet they always buy them, and regret it a few months down the line. I think it has something to do with the form-factor - people couldn't get enough of the star-tac and that was awful. I'm not surprised that they're having problems with the phone - I bet it'll be a dog once it's released as well.
  • by ReadParse (38517) <john AT funnycow DOT com> on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:29PM (#12042332) Homepage
    It seems their biggest problem is getting a wireless carrier to support it. So how soon until Steve Jobs just buys a wireless carrier? That's an impulse buy, right? :)

    RP
  • this is good. (Score:2, Informative)

    by recharged95 (782975)
    It's actually good this will never come about when Sony, Nokia, and DoMoCo are releasing phones with better than ipod shuffle capabilities (2GB) come this fall.

    And with Bluetooth or WiFi, just sync your tunes from your desktop. There only needs to be one repository for your music, not many--and having iTunes on a phone seems a bit self defeating in that scenario. As for downloading, I rather download at home--when I'm not on the go. When I'm 'mobile' I rather be listening to my tunes than buying, surfing

  • If apple gets right down to it and doesn't let motorolla spoil the "simplicity" of the interface, the other carriers will have no way stand up to this partnership. People still buy 500$ ipods, like photo ipods. If the product is really good people won't hesitate spending money on it. With most cellphones , interface is at best rather difficult, besides dialing the number. So compared on ease of use most cellphones suck compared to how iPod compares to all other music players.

    I for one would be worried to d
  • Just a thought (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zapraki (737378)
    What could be more irresistible than a device combining the digital-music prowess of Apple Computer (AAPL) with the wireless expertise of Motorola (MOT)?

    Cell phones and mp3 players aren't exactly a match made in heaven. One is used to talk to people, the other is used to AVOID talking to people. :)

    So ya, imho, stick to your iPod (or, if you're *really* cool, iRiver) for music, and whatever you prefer for a cell phone.

  • I have a MP3 player, I have a mobile phone. I don't need a product which costs twice as much ans is twice as easy for a pick pocket to get
  • If they throw in the dog bark translator [inq7.net] I'll buy two! No, make that three!

    When is the useless feature creep in cell phones going to stop, and the research on actually making the batteries last longer going to start?

  • Back during the tech boom companies tried to do the convergence thing and it did not work. I just dont see the need for your mobile phone to play music. What use is your phone if the battery is dead from playing music when you need to make a call.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:01PM (#12042515) Homepage Journal
    " Motorola and Apple would let customers put any digital tune they already own on their phones for free."

    "Verizon, Cingular, and other wireless operators want customers to pay to put music on phones. They think getting a full song should be like getting a ring tone, snippets for which customers now pay from 99 to $3."

    So the mobile carriers are screwing us, because they think they can force us to pay the phone company to put music we already own onto phones that we own. They have absolutely nothing to do with this transaction, except that they can force the phone maker to skip the feature. They don't even have the usual fake cartel argument that this transaction between you, the phone and the copyright holder somehow competes "unfairly" with anything they're trying to sell. No, it's just greed and monopoly, pure and simple.

    The carriers are also stopping Palm from putting Bluetooth and WiFi support either into the phones, or in the SDIO slot specs. Because that could somehow allow unlimited use of your phone with your network, which conflicts with their plans to make you pay for every bit transacted. These people are standing in the way of the entire telecom future, as if the RBOCs stood at the gates of the Internet in 1990, forcing PC makers to cripple motherboards to pay the RBOCs for every bit transacted, over a modem or otherwise. The sooner they're destroyed, the better.
  • by Humorously_Inept (777630) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:04PM (#12042536) Homepage
    People wanting MP3 playback and advanced telephony in a package that doesn't sacrifice one for the other needn't worry. This product will surely exist in a highly marketable form within the next year and if it's no thanks to Apple, then that's all the better for consumers because you won't have to deal with iTMS copy protection and you won't have to install special software to copy music to your MP3 phone.

    We've heard from all the major manufacturers where next-generation MP3 phones are concerned except Nokia, who just so happens to have a publicly announced contract with Loudeye. Loudeye, in turn, has signed a deal to provide a music store to O2. Read the press releases these companies have put out in the past few months and connect the dots here, people! The fact that the most powerful mobile phone manufacturer in the world isn't saying much probably means that it's coming to the party with sleeves full of aces!

    Samsung is already on its second generation hard drive MP3 phone. The first was an unmitigated disaster and the second's not too bad! You can bet that the third will be a winner.

    The world will move forward without Apple and Motorola.
  • by soft_guy (534437) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:21PM (#12042648)
    Less space than a Nomad - no support for Ogg Vorbis. Lame!

  • by metamatic (202216) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:22PM (#12042662) Homepage Journal
    What could be more irresistible than a device combining the digital-music prowess of Apple Computer (AAPL) with the wireless expertise of Motorola (MOT)?

    A device combining the digital music prowess of Apple, the user interface design of Apple, the build quality of Apple, and the wireless expertise of Nokia.

    Frankly, Motorola's user interface is a hideous piece of crap that doesn't seem to have improved since the 80s: menus that SHOUT AT YOU, and a phone book that still can't cope with people having more than one phone number (duh!). No matter how good the RAZR looks, it's the same craptastic software on it, and that's why I'm not gonna touch it.

  • Worst.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by One Childish N00b (780549) on Friday March 25, 2005 @12:36AM (#12043060) Homepage
    Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone

    Worst.. pun... ever.

    (well someone had to say it... and at 200+ posts it was looking dangerously like they wouldn't)
  • by andreyw (798182) on Friday March 25, 2005 @01:00AM (#12043261) Homepage
    "Wireless expertise" my arse. I have a Motorola phone, unfortunately. I have an i60 (an iDEN phone), which is a formidable brick, which by now is about two years old. Naturally, had my service provider been anything OTHER than Nextel, I would be using something likely top-of-line, but this is Nextel... and I don't want to cough up dough simply to upgrade to another unstable and buggy Motorola contraption.

    Some bugs with the actual software of the phone...
    1. Inability to correctly switch cells. Holy shit, batman. It's a "CELL" phone, yet it can't even do *this* right. Everytime I board my Metra train home, I *have* to turn the phone off and back on in order to get a 100% signal, else its near 0%. Checking information gleaned from the diagnostidc mode reveals that the problem is caused by the phone's whatever lack of desire to switch to a nearer tower. Ridiculous.
    2. Occasional lack of missed call and voice mail notification when coming back in range. SOmetimes these notification just simply never appear... sometimes they arrive a couple of hours *after* my phone is in range. Dumb.
    3. Occasional missed rings. Is this really so terribly hard? Is there any reason why the phone occasionally fails to ring/vibrate?


    Physical defects and horrible design.
    1. The phone power adapter plug. This one gave out on me after 4 months. Taking the plug apart - the culprit was a cold solder joint. Go figure. Well, I resoldered it.
    2. The phone must have been designed for midgets. I am 18 years old and hardly a giant. Unless you're mashing the phone hard against your cheek there is no way in hell your mouth will be on the level of the microphone. This is terribly annoying.



    Nickel-and-diming by Motorola/Nextel: Want to use a cradle? Better get a different power supply, since the one that comes with the phone will be rejected. Service issues: Nextel has got to be the only vell provider with 100% reception in the middle of a freaking corn field (Illinois Math and Sci Academy, Aurora, IL) and 0% reception in the middle of a bustling metropolis. (Chicago, IL).
  • by fsck! (98098) <jacob DOT elder AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 25, 2005 @08:13AM (#12044932) Homepage
    I'm sure the delays are due to software or hardware issues on Moto's part. Their platform is insanely awful, and no amount of insanely great from Apple is going to be enough to bring it back to just mediocre. Come on guys, why does everything having to do with the contact list get exponentially slower with each entry over a dozen? Why do your cameras suck so bad? More to the point, why couldn't Apple found a less horrible cell phone maker to join up with, like Nokia or LG?
  • by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Friday March 25, 2005 @08:42AM (#12045010) Homepage Journal
    And I'm sure this won't be moderated up due to how late I'm posting, but I've never been more dis-satisfied with a piece of hardware than with my and my wife's v600's. They've got stability issues that rank right up there with windows 95/98. (I was on my fourth phone in less than a year...Now I'm using a Nokia with _no_ issues.)

    Svelte is good, features are good, but they're worthless without stability.

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