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Report: Softbank and Apple to co-develop iPod phones

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Softbank Corp. and Apple Computer Inc. plan to jointly develop cellular phone handsets that have built-in iPod digital music players and can download songs directly from Apple's iTunes Music Store, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun is reporting.

According to the report, Softbank President Masayoshi Son and Apple chief executive Steve Jobs have already met and reached a basic agreement on the cell phone partnership.

The two companies will reportedly first develop a 3G cell phone model that incorporate functions reminiscent of Apple's popular iPod, eliminating the need for consumers to carry two separate devices.

"These handsets are to be released in Japan sometime this year at the earliest," the report states.

Softbank, which became a cell phone service provider by acquiring the Japanese unit of British mobile phone company Vodafone Group Plc, was reportedly chosen by Apple because the overseas company plans to offer high-speed Internet access for cell phones in Japan.

Apple plans to later introduce similar media-enabled cell phones in the United States, the report adds. Details such as the fee for downloading songs is said to be up for discussion amongst the two companies at a later date.

The reliability of the report is unknown.
post #2 of 54
I knew you'd catch up. I also knew it was "Soft-" something! Good job once again, AI.
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post #3 of 54
Sounds awesome!!!
post #4 of 54
I wonder when this phone will be available in the US.
post #5 of 54
This sounds very realistic and will allow Apple to test the waters for this kind of product before rolling it out to the US at some future date... no rush.

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post #6 of 54
AI said: "The reliability of the report is unknown"

cheers, more rumors!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #7 of 54
Why does Japan always get the cool stuff first?
post #8 of 54
probably because they invent it..

on a side note--if the rumors were true about the iPhone, then maybe, just maybe a tablet really is being developed!
post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by mariofreak85
Why does Japan always get the cool stuff first?

Typically because their companies are the leaders in the area (which in this iPod related case they most definitely ARE NOT) and Japanese consumers are traditionally gadget obsessed (though with the long term slowdown there and falling sales of Macs this is also far from the case).

I think this story sounds like BS from a Japanese source. Apple would be mad to screw around with the US market (I'm not American by the way) which is by far and away their most important for Macs and iPods, not to mention a growth market for cellphones while Japan is already at saturation. Japan isn't the place to test the sure fire huge iPhone. However, it's perfectly possible Apple have plans well underway and for the talks mentioned are for the Japanese market which will not be the first.

So many companies waste their time pushing things onto the Japanese market. Frankly the Japanese economy needs some time to recover. My username might give away that I like Japan by the way so I'm not meaning to bash them.
post #10 of 54
The term "joint development" worries me a bit after Moto. I'm hoping that Apple retains control of the design areas. Definitely time for J Ive to show off his best work!
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Ken
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post #11 of 54
"These handsets are to be released in Japan sometime this year at the earliest"

Think about that for a minute.

The earliest that ANYTHING can happen is sometime this year.
post #12 of 54
I'm so ready for an Apple iPhone. I hate Nextel.
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Wings
"These handsets are to be released in Japan sometime this year at the earliest"

Think about that for a minute.

The earliest that ANYTHING can happen is sometime this year.

haha
post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
AI said: "The reliability of the report is unknown"

cheers, more rumors!

I can't imagine Apple would let a major product announcement like this just "slip out" in this fashion. Sounds a little bogus to me, even if the product concept itself is likely to materialize (and I'm sure it is) in the next 12-18 months.
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by kenaustus
The term "joint development" worries me a bit after Moto. I'm hoping that Apple retains control of the design areas. Definitely time for J Ive to show off his best work!

Joint development I'm sure is a must in an already somewhat mature arena such as the mobile phone one. The iPod too is somehow a joint development product remember, with Portal player. But if it means putting an itunes music store into a phone, that's just interesting news business wise... it would be nothing like an Apple phone though.

An Apple phone would be something extraordinary. All big players are just screwing around producing 10-20 phones a year, and yet no one is good... they're quite frankly just crap almost all of them. Apple could do it Apple style, make just one product in 2 configurations, then release a fresher one next year. Think of the iPod, its basic design has been around since the beginning of iPod, and it's still considered fresh design. Then think of Nokia, they're like "uh.. let's make 20 phones this year with like a 90's futuristic style with lots of crappy details on it.. uh.. and uh... leave the simple user interface we invented in the mid 90's behind us and use a new, slow, crappy 'advanced' one instead.. Yeah!"
Apple could really contribute on this arena, but I don't think they're ready until next summer at the earliest. And that is if they finally decide it's worth it.
post #16 of 54
By the way... How IS the 3G coming in the US?
post #17 of 54
There is no way that Apple would release a new product in Japan, but not in the US. Give me a break. Have they EVER done that?
post #18 of 54
*****HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?*****

-----------


Honda Motors and Apple plan to jointly develop hybrid vehichles that feature a built in iPod digital music player and a Mac mini mounted directly into the vehicles dashboard.

According to the report, Honda Motors President Kwan Houng and Apple chief executive Steve Jobs have already met and reached a basic agreement on the vehicle/music player/computer partnership.

The two companies will reportedly first develop a prototype that incorporates functions of Apple's wildly popular iPod and Macinstosh computer systems into the vehicle eliminating the need for customers to purchase three separate devices.

"These vehicle/music player/computers are to be released in Japan sometime this year at the earliest," the report states.

Apple plans to later introduce similar vehicles in the United States, the report adds. Details such as the fee for wireless internet and whether the keyboard and mouse will be mounted onto the steering wheel, or if the Mac mini will rely solely on spoken audio commands are said to be up for discussion amongst the two companies at a later date. However, early information indicates that the stereo interface will resemble Apples soon to be released 6G touch-screen iPod video device.

The reliability of the report is unknown, but if you're reading it, it must be true.
post #19 of 54
That's another huge problem with this hoax, as Mossberg said, Apple doesn't want to damage teh sales of their lower end iPods by releasing a cell phone that eliminates the need to carry both.

When apple DOES release a cell phone, whenever that might be (this article gives no clues about that), It will have to be inferior enough to the nano so as not to hurt it's market. Maybe give the nano a touchscreen widescreen with video and that'll work
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
When apple DOES release a cell phone, whenever that might be (this article gives no clues about that), It will have to be inferior enough to the nano so as not to hurt it's market. Maybe give the nano a touchscreen widescreen with video and that'll work

While I would file this under "hoax", I think that sort of thinking is a little short sighted.

I understand that the odds are stacked against Apple in a mature market, but I think they are missing their ship if they hold out too long. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the number of music playing phones currently in use exceeded that of number of iPods sold. There will always be people that won't buy a dedicated portable audio player, and as a converged device, it has to be competitive with other converged devices, not made subservient to a different product line, because that is a different market.
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
There is no way that Apple would release a new product in Japan, but not in the US. Give me a break. Have they EVER done that?

Pippin
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by mikehackman
if the rumors were true about the iPhone, then maybe, just maybe a tablet really is being developed!

The rumours of a large touchscreen that could simulate a click-wheel are equally valid for a numeric keypad on the touchscreen. It certainly solves the ease-of-use problem.

Most 3G phones allow you to browse the web, and to do video calls. A phone that looks something like a full screen iPod-video would essentially be a tablet, in many ways.

Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
Apple doesn't want to damage teh sales of their lower end iPods by releasing a cell phone that eliminates the need to carry both.

When apple DOES release a cell phone, whenever that might be (this article gives no clues about that), It will have to be inferior enough to the nano so as not to hurt it's market. Maybe give the nano a touchscreen widescreen with video and that'll work

Hopefully Apple won't try to protect one product from a separate (more popular) product. The cell phone makers are already adding music & video - Apple must react.

Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
I understand that the odds are stacked against Apple in a mature market, but I think they are missing their ship if they hold out too long. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the number of music playing phones currently in use exceeded that of number of iPods sold. There will always be people that won't buy a dedicated portable audio player, and as a converged device, it has to be competitive with other converged devices, not made subservient to a different product line, because that is a different market.

If Apple goes into the cell-phone business, I'd expect them to aim to be a top cell-phone provider like Nokia. To do that they'd need to be technically great, and amazingly user-friendly - so a partnership with a Japanese group might allow that combination (hopefully they learned from the Motorola issues too!).

If they go down this route I'd expect them to use 8GB flash memory instead of a hard disk - and use the freed-up space for 3G/bluetooth/camera/battery hardware.
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
There is no way that Apple would release a new product in Japan, but not in the US. Give me a break. Have they EVER done that?

Remember the PowerBook 2400c?

Nice computer back then for it's small size. We eventually got it in the US.
post #24 of 54
Apple was the first computer maker to stop having a floppy-disk - among other firsts.

It would be interesting if Apple was the first cellphone provider to not have a microphone, earpiece, or keypad on their cellular phone.

ie: The only way to talk to someone would be using the "handsfree" headphones.

( Not sure if that would work )
post #25 of 54
Ugh. Vodafone is notorious for featuritus and not-so-sleek design...basically the exact opposite of Apple, just trying to cram in features and attract the 14~18 age bracket. AU has been a bit classier, and Tu-Ka is the most simple. Vodafone for Internet? Maybe, I guess. But in terms of advertising, target group, service, and appeal, I would have chosen AU. After all, if one provides Hi-speed Internet, the others cannot be far behind....
post #26 of 54
If Apple made a phone, I figure it would look similar to Japan's AU Design TALBY (which is NOT functional in the US):



That thing already looks like a nano. If its true they are partnering with a Japanese company, I expect something sexy like this!! They would take the market by storm in both UI and style.
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by GregAlexander
The cell phone makers are already adding music & video - Apple must react.

Exactly what the fuzz is keeping them!! IMHO they have no choice because the demand for these devices is starting to skyrocket.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #28 of 54
"McHuman" Where did you hear about that thing? I hope it has an influence on apple's final iPhone design!





Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
Now that's just plain stupid. If they come out with a phone that has a memory of 8mb they will be publicly laughed at!!

hehe... Ooops!!!!

Think I better fix that MB/GB error.... damn!
post #30 of 54
This report is just too odd. It's out of left field.
post #31 of 54
I'd be inclined to believe something is happening because Mossberg's article yesterday about the Apple end-to-end way vs. Microsoft platform way specifically said Apple is working on a "cell phone and digital hub".

I thought it was odd since the WSJ would not print such a thing unless it was pretty sure it was happening, ... and possibly Mossberg even got clearance from Apple to say so.

So Softbank is a possibility...
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post #32 of 54
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ireland
[B]"McHuman" Where did you hear about that thing? I hope it has an influence on apple's final iPhone design!


I spent time in Japan where I saw them debut. Interesting thing is that it was designed by an american. I fully expect something like this from Apple.
post #33 of 54
Originally posted by palegolas
...All big players are just screwing around producing 10-20 phones a year, and yet no one is good... they're quite frankly just crap almost all of them. Apple could do it Apple style, make just one product in 2 configurations, then release a fresher one next year. Think of the iPod, its basic design has been around since the beginning of iPod, and it's still considered fresh design. Then think of Nokia, they're like "uh.. let's make 20 phones this year with like a 90's futuristic style with lots of crappy details on it.. uh.. and uh... leave the simple user interface we invented in the mid 90's behind us and use a new, slow, crappy 'advanced' one instead.. Yeah!"



I agree. I find the cell phone market to be bloated, bizarre, saturated, full of "me too" stuff and each tries to outdo the other by adding more and more features that make the phone harder and harder to use rather than simpler and more pleasant to use. Then there's the whole ringtone and download some tunes (short clips or actual tracks like sony walkman phones) onto the phone of which the interface and loading of material onto the phone seems confusing and complex. Not to mention then web browsing on a tiny screen on the phone-PDAs and what nots, Windows Mobile crap, and don't get me started on rubbish Java games. And to round off my rant, all these bloody cell phone freaks are responsible for the Crazy Frog phenomenon. Ummm.... okay who knows what is responsible for Crazy Frog but my rant still stands. Nokia and Sony Ericsson and Samsung and Moto and all the other smaller gadget makers, *sigh*, WTF I just don't get the cell phone market.
post #34 of 54
Let's not forget the Motorola phones "with iTunes" would be considered by Apple to be a complete collaborative failure. Just a reminder \
post #35 of 54
[QUOTE]Originally posted by McHuman
[B]
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland
"McHuman" Where did you hear about that thing? I hope it has an influence on apple's final iPhone design!


I spent time in Japan where I saw them debut. Interesting thing is that it was designed by an american. I fully expect something like this from Apple.

I rteally DON'T want something ike this from Apple. While it's pretty, it looks just like any other phone, very uninspiring.

The full, or almost full screen mock-ups we've been seeing are more to my taste.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
This report is just too odd. It's out of left field.

That's where I am with the "report"... It seems quite strange, especially when we've been hearing "iPhone" rumors for months, so it would seem any partnerships would be well-past designed.

Further, I find it hard to believe that Apple would release a product in the Japanese market before the US market--the US market has traditinally been the one they've focused on for introducing new products. It may be that this is more a Motorola-type partnership, with Apple putting their software on phones for Softbank...

I'd almost wish these reports wouldn't surface like this (not only do are MacNN and AppleInsider carrying the story, but Reuters has got it as well)... it leaves one with more questions than answers.
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post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun is reporting.

It's "The Nihon Keizai Shinbun" (Shinbun = Newspaper).

Anyway, why not in europe, too? At least, we have some very decent 3G Carriers, like 3, who have the infrastructure to make downloading songs with 50kbps a snap (On the other hand, other carriers are still in the stone age...).

I can't wait to get my paws on an "iPhone".
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post #38 of 54
I must say that this is definitely more than a rumor. Softbank/Vodafone Japan have been implying they are going to change the Japanese mobile market for some time now. Also, this story is being carried by all of the major news agencies here in Japan (NHK, Japan Television, etc.) Although the Japanese mobile phone market looks to be saturated, people here tend to change phones quite often, sometimes two or three times a year. There is always a market for new, innovative products.

Ipods and Apple computers seem to be everywhere in Japan right now.

I would be surprised if the new phone is not out by the end of the year.

Also Vodafone Japan does not make phones. They sell phones from NEC, Sharp, Toshiba, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. They probably do have some input on design. Almost every phone available in Japan at this point can play music, including unprotected AAC. One or two have small hard drives, but most use Flash memory. Japan is the perfect place for Apple to jump in with a new phone.
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
There is no way that Apple would release a new product in Japan, but not in the US. Give me a break. Have they EVER done that?

Macintosh Color Classic II (Performa 275). It never did make it to the US market, either.
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post #40 of 54
(My blatant cross posting as usual )
The GRAND MASTER of THE PRIORY OF THE iPHONE will REVEAL ALL

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