Cingular and Apple may team on music download service

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier, hopes to team with Apple next year when it launches a service that will let users download music on their mobile phone, a senior executive said on Thursday.



The service would likely charge "slightly higher" than what consumers pay for songs on Apple's iTunes service, Ralph de la Vega, chief operating officer at Cingular, said on the sidelines of a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York.



Earlier this month, Apple along with Motorola introduced a new mobile handset called ROKR, which is the first cell phone to offer music playback through an embedded version of iTunes. Cingular is the first service provider to carry the phone.



Details regarding how the service would be run were still being worked out, according to Reuters, but de la Vega did say that he hoped it could be done in partnership with Apple.



Asked about demand for the ROKR, de la Vega said the company was making sales, but noted that "it takes a little while to build."



In the two weeks it has been available, the ROKR has failed to impress reviewers, consumers or the media. Fortune columnist Peter Lewis even went as far as calling the ROKR a "STINKR."



In his review of the phone, Lewis, like others, speculates that Apple may have intentionally crippled the ROKR.



"Apple has a good thing going with the iPod, and perhaps it didn't care to see the ROKR get good enough to kill that action."



If Apple and Cingular expanded their partnership to cover the new service, it would almost certainly yield the first mobile version of Apple's iTunes Music Store, allowing Cingular customers to shop for music from their mobile phone.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    This "report" completely flies in the face of this article from MacCentral, in which Steve Jobs apparently said the opposite:

    Quote:

    While the Motorola phone will work with iTunes purchased music, some service providers may be considering launching their own music service. In doing this, they would own the network and the music store, but Jobs isn?t sure that this type of service would work for consumers.



    ?I?m not convinced that it will be successful,? said Jobs. ?The network providers will charge a lot to download music to a mobile ? maybe US$3.?




    Jobs also reasoned that a computer would still be required even if a mobile user downloaded music directly onto their mobile phone.



    ?You will have to backup the music on your phone up using your PC,? said Jobs. ?If you lose a phone then you lose all your music. If you get a new phone you have to transfer it all. It?s not clear that buying music over the air makes economic sense.?



    I'm thinking I'm going to believe MacCentral here. Sorry Kasper.



    \
  • Reply 2 of 27
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    This "report" completely flies in the face of this article from MacCentral, in which Steve Jobs apparently said the opposite:



    I'm thinking I'm going to believe MacCentral here. Sorry Kasper.



    \




    I'm not convinced with Job's reasoning in entirety. Yes, if you lose your phone without synching, you lose the music, but if you simply damaged the old phone, buy a new phone that reads the same memory card type, then you should be able to swap cards.



    Personally, I don't "get" the mobile phone market. I understand the desirability of having mobile service, but the upscale stuff is weird to me. The amount of money carriers charge for backgrounds, ring tones, games and such is IMO absurd, and very often, they "expire" in 90-180 days.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    Sounds like Cingular and Apple are not seeing eye to eye on the future of music sales on mobile phones.

    No wonder steve biffed the ROKR demo. 'Oops I pressed the wrong button.'

    The ROKR is lame, no question about it. Motorola could have done better.

    It will be interesting to see what phones are next. Maybe the Laser?

    If it held a minimum of 500 songs it would be much better.

    Till then I believe people will be much happier with a nano in one pocket and there phone in the other.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    I've had the ROCKR for about a week or so. The 100 song limitation isn't the problem...think about it, that's like the same as a 6 CD changer one might have in their car.



    The problems are...



    1) The camera sucks (VGA resolution with poor imaging and compression).



    2) You can't play AAC files greater than 128kbps. This means that if you have higher bitrate AAC files, you have to select "convert to 128kbps AAC". The problem is that it will then convert *all* songs on the phone...even MP3s.



    3) It's USB 1.1 and as such takes about 1 hour to transfer all the songs.



    4) While you can make a iTunes song a ringtone, it's not an easy process (many people think you can't, but you can).



    5) You can't do different ringtones for different callers.



    6) The audio quality of the phone for music is rather poor. It does work great for phone calls on speaker phone, but for music the built in speakers suck, and the music isn't much better with headphones.



    --EDIT-- I forgot to add 7) The phone not only doesn't charge when connected via USB, but you can't connect via USB *and* plug in the charger at the same time.



    Originally I was going to return the phone, but I think I'll keep it and use it for podcasts.



    I'm hoping that with enough protest, they will release a better phone soon.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,657member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by macslut

    I've had the ROCKR for about a week or so. The 100 song limitation isn't the problem...think about it, that's like the same as a 6 CD changer one might have in their car.



    The problems are...



    1) The camera sucks (VGA resolution with poor imaging and compression).



    2) You can't play AAC files greater than 128kbps. This means that if you have higher bitrate AAC files, you have to select "convert to 128kbps AAC". The problem is that it will then convert *all* songs on the phone...even MP3s.



    3) It's USB 1.1 and as such takes about 1 hour to transfer all the songs.



    4) While you can make a iTunes song a ringtone, it's not an easy process (many people think you can't, but you can).



    5) You can't do different ringtones for different callers.



    6) The audio quality of the phone for music is rather poor. It does work great for phone calls on speaker phone, but for music the built in speakers suck, and the music isn't much better with headphones.



    Originally I was going to return the phone, but I think I'll keep it and use it for podcasts.



    I'm hoping that with enough protest, they will release a better phone soon.




    Motorola phones are hardly anything special -what was everyone expecting? Yes your concerns are more valid than most because you take into account that 100 songs isn't bad (the phone isn't designed for those with iPods remember). BUT Motorola always lack basic features which is why I didn't get the V3 RAZR and got the S700i
  • Reply 6 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    This "report" completely flies in the face of this article from MacCentral, in which Steve Jobs apparently said the opposite:



    I'm thinking I'm going to believe MacCentral here. Sorry Kasper.



    \




    I don't agree. I read both reports. Jobs DIDN'T say that it wouldn't work. He also didn't say that ALL carriers wouldn't do this. And he didn't say that Apple and Cingular WEREN'T in discussions about this. You know how he likes to misdirect until the last monent.



    Like "we won't compete in the low cost computer market", and out pops the Mini.



    Etc.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    ....Personally, I don't "get" the mobile phone market. I understand the desirability of having mobile service, but the upscale stuff is weird to me. The amount of money carriers charge for backgrounds, ring tones, games and such is IMO absurd, and very often, they "expire" in 90-180 days.



    jeff, do you mean "upsell" instead of "upscale"? but yeah, i don't get it either. people who use computers regularly don't get paying for all this background, ring tone, game stuff... by the time you pay for all this crap plus your text message and calls, bloody hell, your phone bill ain't fun to look at.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    Like "we won't compete in the low cost computer market", and out pops the Mini.



    Probably just picking here, but I wouldn't call the Mini a low cost computer solution. Yes, it's only $500 (or $600... or $700...) until you realize that it's only a box! Assuming you're wanting to buy all-Apple products, the cheapest display listed on the US Apple store is $800. If you're willing to go with other brands or have an Apple store nearby, you can probably pick up a 15" monitor for about $200. If cost is the issue, you'd probably be better off with an eMac (which also comes with the $30 each Apple mouse and keyboard), not the Mac Mini. Or pay the extra $200 and get an iBook. I've come to think of the Mac Mini as a transitional tool for the PC user who's not quite ready to switch but is curious what all the fuss is about.



    That and as a cooler looking desktop!
  • Reply 9 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jdbartlett

    Probably just picking here, but I wouldn't call the Mini a low cost computer solution. Yes, it's only $500 (or $600... or $700...) until you realize that it's only a box! Assuming you're wanting to buy all-Apple products, the cheapest display listed on the US Apple store is $800. If you're willing to go with other brands or have an Apple store nearby, you can probably pick up a 15" monitor for about $200. If cost is the issue, you'd probably be better off with an eMac (which also comes with the $30 each Apple mouse and keyboard), not the Mac Mini. Or pay the extra $200 and get an iBook. I've come to think of the Mac Mini as a transitional tool for the PC user who's not quite ready to switch but is curious what all the fuss is about.



    That and as a cooler looking desktop!




    As you know, it's not meant for the new buyer as a low cost unit. It's meant for the user who wants to upgrade from an older Mac but can't (or won't) spend the mony, and so has a monitor, keyboard and mouse already.



    The same thing for the PC switcher who has the above items.



    Low cost is relative. An $800 Dell is low cost. you can do that with this if you want even if you get the $600 model. A 17" crt is less than $100 today. The Apple keyboard is $50. And you can pick up a scroll mouse for $15-25.



    It doesn't mean that this is competing against the cheapest stuff out there. Just the low cost stuff.



    It's like a few years ago with cars. you could buy a low cost Hyundai, or you could get a Yugo.



    Apple is competing against the Hyundai, but not the Yugo.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    already straying from topic so i'll be quick: i wonder if anyone has anywhere the stats on what percentage of people buying a mac mini already have an existing KDM to BYO. such stats/lies/damned-lies would shed insight on how apple is positioning tha mini.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    Maybe we should look at this deal another way. There is no mention of Motorola in the mix. If Cingular can pursuede Apple to DESIGN and build a cell phone and retail it thru their stores it could be a big hit even IF ITUNES DID NOT EXIST. Apple has the buzz. More importantly it could be a hit with young people. The viral marketing alone may make this worthwhile. Having music is icing on the cake.



    Digital music players were complicated. Apple made them user friendly and won the market

    Cell phone extras are complicated and awkward to use. Could Apple design a phone that has the bells a whistles the public wants and make it user friendly? If it got out that Apple was designing a phone their stock would jump 10 percent because of the established maket for mobile phones
  • Reply 12 of 27
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,657member
    The important thing to remember is that phone was over-hyped. It was just, as Jobs has said recently, dipping their toes in the water. They're trying something out before investing more money or abandoning the project. I bet Jobs would love to team up with Sony Ericsson...
  • Reply 13 of 27
    *sigh* apple and sony, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n---

    no wait. apple and sony are like mulder and scully. they'll take forever to get together even though it is so damn bleeding obvious that the attraction is there......



    ^i just realised how weird my analogy is. mmm... ah nevermind, i'll leave it as it is. x-files hmmm retro... it's all 'bout "Threshold" (CBS) now...
  • Reply 14 of 27
    It usually takes three minutes to download a song through boardband. I am not sure how long and what's the cost to download a song from air. In here, Hong Kong, it may piles up to more than us$3 for the service.



    Indeed, 60% music download to cellphones from air is still ringtone. If there are something, say service in iTune store, automatically turn you favorite song into ringtone and download it to you cellphone through telecom wireless, is this service worh $1.2 or 1.5?
  • Reply 15 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sunilraman

    already straying from topic so i'll be quick: i wonder if anyone has anywhere the stats on what percentage of people buying a mac mini already have an existing KDM to BYO. such stats/lies/damned-lies would shed insight on how apple is positioning tha mini.



    I'm not sure that knowing that would tell us how Apple is positioning it. Often the intended audience is not the one that responds best.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MacCrazy

    The important thing to remember is that phone was over-hyped. It was just, as Jobs has said recently, dipping their toes in the water. They're trying something out before investing more money or abandoning the project. I bet Jobs would love to team up with Sony Ericsson...



    That exactly what I've been saying as well. If the media had not hyped this to the extent it did the expectations wouldn't have been as high.



    Several reviewers have given this good reviews. They seem to understand that this is just a phone with iTunes capability. And despite one fellow here, it's been said that the sound is good; even through the speakers.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    If the media had not hyped this to the extent it did the expectations wouldn't have been as high.



    More than a few people around here and elsewhere in the Mac community had a lot of expectations of their own.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    More than a few people around here and elsewhere in the Mac community had a lot of expectations of their own.



    That's true too. Let's call it rising expectations.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    That's true too. Let's call it rising expectations.



    I don't know, the current "iTunes phone" doesn't satisfy many expectations unless you mean "well, it's a phone, and it does happen to play music".
  • Reply 20 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    I don't know, the current "iTunes phone" doesn't satisfy many expectations unless you mean "well, it's a phone, and you can play music on it".



    what were you expecting?!
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