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New report sheds doubt on Apple-Cingular iPhone rumors

post #1 of 21
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Cingular is expected to begin partnering with some of the biggest online music services, including Napster, Yahoo Music and eMusic, to launch a music service on its cellphone network that would work with cellphones that double as music players, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The move, which could be announced as early as Thursday (subscription required), sheds doubt on published reports that the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier has agreed to an exclusive deal with Apple Computer to provide service for its upcoming iPhone.

Cingular's new music service will initially support transferring music from personal computers to cellphones using a cable, according to the Journal. But next year, the wireless provider is scheduled to add an over-the-air downloading component that will feature a menu item on compatible phones that will throw users into a virtual store (similar to the ones customers already use to buy ringtones).

The initiative by Cingular "sets the stage for a battle with Apple Computer Inc., whose iPod dominates the digital-music market," said the Journal. "Apple has sold more than 60 million iPods in the past five years and is rumored to be working on a combination music player and cellphone."

According to the publication, users will be able to transfer music acquired from "all you can eat" subscription services like Napster to Go, Yahoo's Y Music Unlimited or eMusic. Users will also be able to transfer songs ripped from CDs or downloaded in the MP3 and Windows Media formats.

"The Cingular service will include a feature called 'Music ID,' which will let a user hold his or her phone up to a speaker playing a song," the Journal said in its report. "It will then match the song against Napster's database and, if the song is available, offer the user the option to buy the song by clicking a link on the phone. The song will then be sent to the user's computer to be loaded on the phone later."
post #2 of 21
It has never been Cingular. The deal is going to be similar to what Disney is doing, providing their own celular space. I forget what they call it but the spectrum is leased from T-Mobile. Branded as Apple, but managed and supported by T-Mobile.
post #3 of 21
I was sort of hoping it was T-Mobile based, because they have pretty decent prices for the minutes.

Apple going solo would be nice, but that Music ID sounds like its just what is needed to get the cell phone/music store system off its feet!

And technically, it seems that cingular is trying to compete with the iPods, not iPhones...
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post #4 of 21
Interesting. So it seems Apple will be going the MVNO route after all.
post #5 of 21
thank god, Cingular is expensive. I can't wait till my contract is up.....
post #6 of 21
On the contrary, I think this helps confirm the rumors. Apple will be an MVNO, probably by contracting with Cingular for the airspace. Cingular goes its own way with its music stuff, and Apple goes its own way too. Let's remember Apple just bought a huge new data center for some reason..

Apple could never just make a phone and let other companies be the phone company. But when Apple itself is the phone company, then they can do what they do - integrate!!! Good Internet connectivity, good syncing, and so on.

Please see my article on what the What the iPhone Will Be and follow the news on www.myallo.com
post #7 of 21
tmoble and cingular are both gsm with edge, so why couldn't apple be on both networks and build it's own brand. you won't go to tmoble or cingular to get your service or phone you'll go to apple store.....way cool my 2 year contract with cingular is up at christmas. yobaby.
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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

...is rumored to be working on a combination music player and cellphone.

I love that, "is rumored"?
Havn't they been bragging about it for a while now?
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post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by revmark

It has never been Cingular. The deal is going to be similar to what Disney is doing, providing their own celular space. I forget what they call it but the spectrum is leased from T-Mobile. Branded as Apple, but managed and supported by T-Mobile.

And you know this because of ...
post #10 of 21
That is if it actually works. It could be more of a pain in the @ss w/ wrong selections and slow Napster access (aren't these guys dead yet?!). Still, that's the kind of technology that can make a difference in selecting a music phone service, but I doubt I'd use it to decide whether to purchase a music phone or an iPod.

Currently having a Nokia phone w/ decent music playing capability, I'm still not sold on using it as my exclusive music device. The whole battery life and dual usability issues are major roadblocks for me.

/
post #11 of 21
Yea, a lot of companies get confused and think if they can tout the latest technology, they are seen as "the best" or the winner but the reality is whether the technology is useful at the right price. just like people might ooh and aah at video broadband on a phone but you ask people to pay $79 a month, you have takers, you just don't have people knocking themselves over to add it - or even $15 a month so you buy music tracks while walking around on the streets - plus they're desperately trying to figure out why only Apple seems to be a huge success selling tracks - and they figure only technology can trump that so this is the latest try (and it won't be the last) - will hundreds, even thousands like this feature? Sure but will 10-40 million pay extra for this feature? No, of course not. Really, only a dorky music lover (like myself) would want it but yet, what geek of anything will admit they don't know anything - I'll steathly figure out what the track is. For casual music listeners, they'll just figure - if I hear it again, great but hey, it's just music. Look at it this way, did adding itunes change the ballgame for cell phones? Yes, the limitation thing played a part but the problem is it's a cell playing music and not an ipod - you really gain nothing by merging the two devices because of battery life & of course, it's not a real ipod ... what you couldn't afford a real ipod also? ... The iphone changes that presumably ... yea, it's looking like t-mobile & Apple.
post #12 of 21
Hopefully this does signal that Apple will be an MVNO... Then they'll have three major platforms that they'll control from top to bottom:

1. Mac/Mac OS X
2. iPod/iTunes
3. iPhone/Mac Mobile

All of which will interoperate, of course, and suck dry the bank accounts of everyone on this forum.
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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjayBot

Apple going solo would be nice, but that Music ID sounds like its just what is needed to get the cell phone/music store system off its feet!

Music recognition services have been available for some time through different providers around the world.

eg. http://www.fido.ca/portal/en/support/dj.shtml

In fact, it's already available on Cingular.

http://www.cingular.com/musicid
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post #14 of 21
I wonder if the original Cingular/Apple story on the WSJ wasn't planted by Cingular itself, hoping to generate publicity when it's found that they are going the other way.

I don't see it as newsworthy that some cellphone carrier gets some deal with some online music stores, it happens all the time.

I guess that the ROKR/iTunes Phone was such a non-event that Cingular needed to remind the world their previous ties with Apple so news outlets would make a fuss about the switch.

Now we get news headlines like "Cingular sides with Microsoft against Apple" on ComputerWorld.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

According to the publication, users will be able to transfer music acquired from "all you can eat" subscription services like Napster to Go, Yahoo's Y Music Unlimited or eMusic. Users will also be able to transfer songs ripped from CDs or downloaded in the MP3 and Windows Media formats.
][/url][/c]

I have my doubts about some of the statements made in the above post. I mean, can't they even check their facts? eMusic is not a "all you can eat" service. People presently are given a limit as to how many MP3's you can dowload a month (40, 65, and 90).
Jeez.
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post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER

tmoble and cingular are both gsm with edge, so why couldn't apple be on both networks and build it's own brand. you won't go to tmoble or cingular to get your service or phone you'll go to apple store.....way cool my 2 year contract with cingular is up at christmas. yobaby.

That's my guess, that Apple will make a GSM phone. It will work on Congular, T-Mobile, and most other providers around the world. But I also guess Apple will provide service itself in the US, and if you subscribe to it, you will get wonderful services like music diwnloads, great net browsing, great iSync, and Apple Remote Access across the Net! Now that will be cool!
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post #17 of 21
Apple did trademark "Mobile Me" awhiler ago. Among possibilities for many other things, this could be the name of an Apple MVNO...
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post #18 of 21
I guess asking to apple to just release a phone(s) and who gives a damn about network, just be able to buy the phone(s) and use it as you like is too much to ask is it?
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post #19 of 21


On October 16, I said (you can look this up!):

"'I've got news for you: Apple's phone will be GSM, and an exclusive with T-Mobile ............"

I am still sticking by my post!

post #20 of 21
I have decided to be purposely vague about myself but here goes..

Apple have conducted a viability study into being an mvno, i know this because i work for a startup mvno in the UK and one of our consultants was part of the initial scoping group. They have been in talks with T-mobile but as i understand it as an international partner so i do believe that in the uS for sure we could see Apple go it alone.

I thought i would add some juicy details that w know here at the consultancy about the upcoming unit. That ichat will be fully scaled and part of the hardware from the off, enabling isight to iphone conversations through a IP transmission protocol built in Leopard.

The quality was not fantastic on the clone handset Apple has running the 4th beta of the phone software but the speed fps is extremely smooth due to the compression rates of the software.

Also the phone was reviewed internally in April 05 when significant changes were made and some 70% reworking was comissioned.
post #21 of 21
It seems this MVNO thing may not be such a great opportunity. If ESPN can't get it to work and there isn't a great example of an MVNO success, perhaps as an idea it hasn't hit primetime, ie the economics aren't favorable for the MVNO operator.

Unless...
What if Apple just made GSM phones with multiple bands so that you could drop your sim card from T-Mobile, Cingular, Deutche Telekom, wherever, and it would just work. Just be in the unlocked phone business. Of course, everyone would still want it because it is still a good phone, sexy in that apple sort of way, and of course leverages the iPod thing as well. You sell a ton, also enabling VOIP, a fast way for people to fill up their SIM cards with addresses via sync software if they decide to use their other (carrier-provided) phone from time to time, other goodies BUT NOT INTEGRATION AT THE CARRIER LEVEL. ie NO Integration for music purchases, NO Music ID (yet), just the hardware at this point. You sell a heap of them (Ipod function + RAZR looks = $$$)

Then...
Apple has bargaining power to
a) start selling these things directly through the carriers, although I doubt they would surrender this much control over the user experience, or
b) form an MVNO or other cozy relationship with a Mobile carrier on MORE FAVORABLE ECONOMIC TERMS.

This timeline seems favorable, because although people are craving a decent and dominant (ipod-leveraged) music experience, I don't think the downloading/streaming majorly carrier-integrated experience is desired yet. When this latter product is about to catch fire, Apple may find itself in better position if they do the above steps.
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