All Hail the iPhone

One of the longest running rumors in the Apple community is the emergence of an Apple-branded cell phone. Apple has denied the existence of such a product for as long as the world can remember, and up until now, they’ve had legitimate reasons to stay away from the cell phone market. Poor data speeds, poor service, incompatible frequency standards, and lack of profit on handsets have all been sited as reasons to stay away from the cell phone business. With the emergence of several new developments in the cell phone industry, however, it is becoming rapidly clear that Apple is ripe to enter the cell phone market within the extremely near future.

Let’s examine what’s new:

The MVNO Market

As companies like Virgin, AT&T Wireless, and others enter the new MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) market, it is becoming clear that the key to success in the MVNO realm is branding. For those unfamiliar with MVNOs, they are a relatively new phenonemon in the wireless industry whereby a company like Virgin resells wireless minutes through a provider like Sprint PCS. A customer buys a Virgin-branded phone at a retail location, signs up with service through Virgin, and goes on to use the phone, receiving bills and notices as though everything was coming from Virgin. Behind the scenes, however, Sprint is doing all the heavy lifting. Their network provides the infrastructure for placing and receiving calls, they meter customers’ usage, and just about everything “technical” related to the customers’ use of the phone is handled by them. The deal is a win-win for both companies because Sprint fills up their network with more customers and Virgin’s brand does all the selling. Many MVNO operators have a special differentiating factor to them, and Virgin’s is pre-paid service… perfect for teens.

GSM and CDMA

It used to be impossible to design a phone which would work on most cellular networks. The U.S. market was so splintered with incompatible standards that service providers had to pay handset manufacturers to develop phones for their platform. Well now it’s 2004 and the world seems to have standardized on two basic standards for now — GSM and CDMA. In the U.S., Sprint PCS and Verizon use CDMA and T-Mobile, Cingular, and AT&T Wireless use GSM. What this means is that handset makers need only develop for two platforms to cover 90% of the market. Handspring currently offers its Treo 600 to customers of all five of the providers mentioned above. It is for the most part, an identical unit, save a minor color variance and a few internals.

Profitability in Handsets

Handspring is smiling all the way to the bank with the success of their Treo 600 smartphone. Even with a $600 price (near the top of the cell phone market), Treos are flying off the shelves faster than Handspring can manufacture them. While most people pay under $100 for their phone, or nothing at all, the pent-up demand for a true portable convergence device is so great that Handspring can sell a unit with a fairly low-resolution screen and no bluetooth for crazy prices. There will always be cheap little free phones around to coax customers into signing long-term contracts with service providers, but Handspring has proved with the Treo that the high end of the market is where the profit is.

The Success of the iPod

Apple has enjoyed the same sort of success with the iPod as Handspring has with the Treo. Both are very expensive devices which were eaten up by the public not because they filled niches, but rather because they created niches. There was no clamoring for a $400 portable music player before the iPod and there was no clamoring for a $600 phone before the Treo. Apple has turned the iPod into a cultural phenomenon by giving people all sorts of new freedoms they never had before.

The iPod and the Treo are about the same size, they both play MP3s, and yet the iPod only does a few things better. It has up to 40 gigs of storage, as compared to the 1 gig SD card you can stick in a Treo. That’s about 10,000 songs vs. 250 songs (albeit in removable form). The second thing is does better is provide a dedicated music-centric interface. The Treo’s interface must do 1000 things with the iPod’s does only do a few. And finally, the iPod looks a little better than the Treo, and that is a testament to Apple’s legendary design prowess.

Aside from those three things, however, the Treo dropkicks the iPod right off the playing field. It makes calls, organizes contacts, syncs with PCs and Macs, plays games, runs applications, gets email, surfs the web, checks blogs, has crazy-high battery life, and on and on and on. So if I only have room for one cigarette-pack-sized device in my pants pocket, which one am I going to pick? That’s easy. There is no good reason for portable music players to continue on as standalone units, and Apple, being a smart company, realizes this.

Viable Cellular Data Speeds

The “wireless web” has long been a joke among those of us involved in web design and development. Who wants to develop for tiny screens and sub 14.4kbps speeds? Cellular service providers placed large bets on their data networks early and when the customers failed to come in, the public lost faith in the business. While the 3G speeds companies have been promising for the last several years still aren’t here yet, the data rates on the big five cell networks in the U.S. could now legitimately be considered viable for lite-duty digital communication. Reading e-mail is a snap, syncing contacts takes seconds, and even browsing the web is an acceptable experience if you don’t mind waiting a few seconds here and there. Were Apple to make waves in the cell phone industry, they would make waves on the data side of things, and the state of the industry suggests the timing may finally be right for such a foray.

Enter the iPhone

We’ve already established that the question is not “if” but rather “when” and “how”. We’ll keep the “when” as short as possible but saying “as soon as it’s ready and not a second later”, then we’ll move straight to the “how”…

MVNO strategy: Signing a deal like the Virgin deal would be both costly and limiting for Apple. Sprint and Virgin each paid about $180 million to get the system set up, and the deal limits Virgin’s customers to service on the Sprint network. A cheaper option for Virgin — one which some other companies are choosing — would have been to simply sell branded Virgin phones at retail and let Sprint handle all of the billing, customer service, and everything else associated with the service. This still isn’t good enough for Apple though as Sprint’s service may be unavailable or subpar in some areas of the country. It would also tie Apple’s customers to one company’s rate plan. What Apple needs to do is sell their phones directly (as Handspring does) and sign customers up with whatever provider they wish, reselling only the data part of the plan. Most service providers have data plans priced in roughly the same ballpark so it wouldn’t be hard for an Apple iPhone to come with a $10 per month data plan across the board. Apple keeps the $10 per month and the service provider gets the new customer and all of their talk-time minutes. Right now, .Mac is the only recurring revenue strategy for Apple… the iPhone will be the second. Furthermore, even if one only company decided to allow the iPhone onto their networks, that’s a huge group of possible users. The most obvious willing participant would be T-Mobile… a company aimed squarely at the hip youth market, and one Apple’s marketing and great product sense would jive well with.

Data Strategy: The two killer apps of the iPhone will be the music player and Mobile iSync. Many Apple users don’t use .Mac right now because there is no compelling reason to do so. With .Mac synching built into the iPhone via iSync, $99 a year doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Especially considering that Apple’s data plan could include many mobile browsing niceties like a mini-Safari-KHTML browser, Dashboard-like applications, and a nice native mail/newsreader. And if we ever see an Apple set-top box DVR of some sort, the iPhone could act as the Bluetooth remote. T-Mobile is again very strong in the data department, with by far the lowest prices among any other carrier, so they are again a great match here.

Music Strategy: Take the guts of the iPod Mini, replace the hard drive with an SD slot and shove it into the phone. Case closed. What more do you need? SD cards should be up to 4 gigs within a year or so, so all of a sudden you have solid-state storage which matches the iPod Mini in capacity. Jupiter Media Metrix came out with a survey several months ago which concluded that 4 gigs is the “optimal amount of storage” for a music player, so this size should satisfy most people. I listen to a lot of music and the current 1 gig chips are enough for me. It’s more of a music shuttle and less of an all-inclusive library.

Design Strategy: Although the wristwatch-style incarnation of the iPhone which appears at the top of this article (illustration by Kenn Brown — originally appearing in Wired Magazine) is a nice idea for the more distant future, I expect to see something more along the lines of an iPod/Treo hybrid, in order to save costs and also save thousands of people from wetting their pants. Anything roughly the size of a cigarette pack and carrying the famous Apple design touches will be just fine. Expect to see an I/O sporting only Bluetooth and SD. Wi-Fi would be great but is largely unnecessary at this point due to the massively greater coverage area of CDMA/GSM compared to the random smattering of 802.11 access points we have now.

“Apple has realized that the closer a device is to you literally, the closer you are to it figuratively.”

Pricing: I’d pay $600 for a Treo, and to be embarassingly honest, if you did nothing more than slap an Apple logo on the outside and tell me it was made in Cupertino, I’d pay at least $700. Possibly a whole lot more, but I don’t really want to admit to that. Apple users are used to paying more for the finer things, and this would be the finest of the fine. As Apple has moved from the large desktop, to the sleek laptop, to the tiny iPod, it has realized that the closer a device is to you literally, the closer you are to it figuratively. Being that this lust item would be even closer to you than your iPod, the iPhone could command a huge premium. I’m going to go out on a limb though and predict the iPhone will sell for roughly what a Treo sells for. The hardware engineers at Apple are masters of production, and I believe they can manufacture the device we’re talking about for under $500. And even if Apple doesn’t make a penny on the hardware, they are getting $10 per month from you on the data service and possibly getting you to buy a new Mac.

So why haven’t we heard of anything yet?

Easy. It’s Apple we’re talking about. Loose lips are a quick ticket to unemployment and lawsuits if you’re an Apple employee. Then why does Steve Jobs keep denying such a product is even in the pipeline? Denying is not against the law and Jobs is just managing expectations until the time is right. It’s risky enough introducing an Apple-branded product and tying it to the unpredictable service quality of a cell service provider, but the company sure as hell isn’t going to have any hardware shortcomings on its watch.

I’m going to go on record as saying we’ll see this around the beginning of 2005. I’ll also go on record as saying if Apple doesn’t capitalize on this opportunity soon, the market for iPods will dry up and they won’t have a digital lifestyle leg to stand on.

Update: How’s this for timing? A day after I wrote this article, look what Apple and Motorola just announced?

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a dozen of your favorite songs with you on your phone,” Jobs said. “We thought it would be great if together Motorola and Apple could give them (consumers) a small taste of what this digital music revolution is about.”

Before Jobs appeared on screen, Motorola Chief Executive Edward Zander, holding up a Motorola cell phone and an Apple iPod digital music player, quipped: “It would be great if we could just figure out a way to bring these two devices together.”

Although this turn of events does not represent the product I am writing about here, it’s the clearest sign yet that Apple is waking up to the cell phone industry. With Cupertino handling the hardware design and UI and Motorola engineering the circuitry and infrastructure, we could have a real product on our hands pretty quickly here. On the other hand, I suggest Mr. Zander do the remainder of his talking on a secure line with Mr. Jobs. You wouldn’t want to anger the Steve…

Here come the stories now in droves…

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46 Responses:

  1. Interesting read. It’ll also be interesting to see what Apple will do, in the end.

    I’m curious about what Apple will do overseas, here in Europe. I don’t think we have the Treo 600 (yet) around here, but I may be mistaken on that. However, the real issue would be the different approach needed for each country in Europe. Any theories on that part, Mike? :)

  2. Andy Budd says:

    I’d really like to see an Apple mobile phone, however I think it would be sensible for them to wait at least another 18 months. At the moment, in the UK anyway, mobile phone manufacturers are beholden to the people running the networks. However in 18 months time we are going to start to see technologies like VoIP and long distance WiFi start to emerge which may finally allow mobile phone manufacturers the freedom they’ve been wanting for so long.

  3. Fred says:

    It definitely needs to include WiFi.. If Apple is going to be it’s normal self, it needs to leapfrog everyone else, especially if it’s expensive. It also needs to work well without a .mac account. Local iSyncing is a must.
    Even though I’d like to see an iPhone, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  4. I would like to see an Apple PDA before a phone. I think it would be easier to move to that than jump right to a phone. Much like Handspring did before they were bought out by Palm.

  5. Paolo says:

    Great piece. I take my iPod everywhere, and when in Japan recently with a cellphone it was a pain carrying two devices. Why not just have a cellphone module that plugs in (like the Belkin devices) to the existing iPod somehow? I can’t believe it would be too difficult to create, and then one just uses the familiar clickwheel to select a caller. (I suppose there would have to be a separate keypad as well.)

    Anyway I have no doubt they have several prototypes knocking about.

  6. Greg says:

    I don’t know … I think that a reason the iPod was such a success is that it did one thing very well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s next device followed that same principle.

    I would like to see an Apple e-book reader. It’s an industry that’s plagued with low-quality devices trying to sell as cheaply as possible. That’s the same thing that was going on in the MP3 player world before Apple stepped in.

    An e-book needs better screens than laptops, not old Palm V-style screens. Two paperback-sized 200 DPI displays, hinged in the middle. Apple is the kind of company to throw quality at e-books.

    The one problem I see is that there’s no real “MP3 of the e-book world”. The best bet is probably the PDF format, which Apple has been ruling in Preview. But, there are plenty of others out there, ranging from crappy plain text to crappy proprietary.

  7. larry says:

    I think Apple should make a VOIP handset. If they could make it work with bluetooth and cellphones it would fly off the shelf.

  8. Carl says:

    This could be a great use for all those Newton design specs sitting on someone’s desk. I’ve been hoping for the Newton to be reborn, and this would be a great way to do it.

  9. Johnathan says:

    Virgin doesn’t send out bills! It’s pre-paid, as you mention later in your post. They do have a rough equivalent of a “bill” that can be checked online (it’s a detailed statement of all calls, charges, credits, etc.) but since all fees are paid in advance, there is never a bill. I think not sending paper bills to anyone is probably a relatively important part of their business model.

    As for Apple – I agree that I’d rather see them make a decent eBook reading device than a phone. There are so many phones already; maybe by the time you predict, there will have been a bit of a shakeout in the market, creating room for a new introduction.

    Really though, an eBook reader with associated “iRead Book Store” wouldn’t be bad. It’d also be nice though if they offered some free (RSS? Atom?) news feeds to be loaded onto the book (and let us add our own).

  10. Mike D. says:

    Faruk: I believe the Treo 600 is available in Europe through “Orange”. Of course this may not cover all of Europe, but it’s a start. I’m not as familiar with the international cell phone market as I am the U.S. market, so it’s tough for me to comment further, but it’s really just a matter of frequencies, I believe. A Cingular Treo works on T-Mobile, and vice versa, so as long as your providers are using some form of CDMA or GSM, getting such a device to work on your network shouldn’t be hard. Also, I should note that the iPhone could succeed with or without international support. It would sure be nice to see the thing worldwide, but look at the iPod Mini. Demand in the U.S. alone was enough to make the product a hit.

    Fred: Wi-Fi and VOIP would be nice and it’s possible Apple is waiting for this to be viable, but right now, the reach of Wi-Fi simply isn’t good enough to provide for a wide calling area. I was able to make phone calls and use the internet from a remote Hawaii beach thanks to T-Mobile’s GSM network, and I just doubt we’ll see that sort of Wi-Fi reach for awhile. Eventually yes, but the GSM/CDMA stuff is viable right now.

    Blake: Ahhh, but the iPhone (and the Treo) IS a PDA! That’s the beauty of it. I didn’t even own a PDA until I got my Treo. It’s a PDA/phone/music player/etc all in one.

    Greg and Johnathan: Yes, the iPod succeeded because it did one thing very well, but that doesn’t logically lead to the conclusion that if it did two, three, or four things equally as well, it wouldn’t be an even bigger success. Concentrating on getting the music part perfect was a smart move, but now that they’ve gotten that down, why not expand? eBooks are a nice idea and I agree with both of you that we’ll eventually see some nice ones, but the market for that sort of device clearly has not proven to exist quite yet. Millions of people have cell phones which they routinely replace every few years. Barely anyone has an eBook reader yet. Besides, the technology to do the iPhone right exists today, whereas eBooks need a lot more maturing in the display and DRM space before they hit it big.

  11. steveman says:

    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=technologyNews&storyID=5778386

  12. Bruce McL says:

    In June Jobs publicly stated that Apple is not interested in the PDA or smart phone market.
    http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=484

  13. Mike: Ah, thanks for that bit of technical explanation. Yes, it does sound like it’ll work without a problem, I’ve just not seen it around here in the Netherlands (yet) and the last time I went looking into phones was a few months ago, when everyone here was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Sony P900.

    As for Apple products not requiring European success, this is true, but it’s more fun when they ship their stuff here as well – the various iPods are becoming quite a big hit here, I think.

  14. Joe says:

    Apple just posted a press release about future motorola phones including a version of iTunes as the standard music player. Seems it will have both bluetooth, and a usb connection, but no word on the amount of space

  15. Al Abut says:

    And here’s the Washington Post article on it.

    Favorite quote:

    Before Jobs appeared on screen, Motorola Chief Executive Edward Zander, holding up a Motorola cell phone and an Apple iPod digital music player, quipped: “It would be great if we could just figure out a way to bring these two devices together.”

  16. It definitely needs to include WiFi is right. It HAS to work with Airport. To much invested.

    Like Bruce said Jobs isn’t interested in a PDA. We’ll see an Apple smartphone before a PDA.

    It was a pain carrying two devices is right. See above.

    I think Apple should make a VOIP handset. This is where Apple innovation may shine.

    I’ve been hoping for the Newton to be reborn. This is their SUCCESSFUL experience.

    Working with an iBox is the right thought. On demand access to ALL your files. Again, this is where Apple innovation may shine.

    The Apple/Moto partnership will bring a smartphone. Hopefully sooner then later.

  17. The e book/mobile internet device solution, as Johnathan described in his post, is really interesting, and matches, I guess, Apple’s quest of simplicity in the use and design of their products.

    Have a look at Sony’s Librié, down size it, remove the control buttons, add a symetric touch sensitive screen and some rss feed news as Johnathan suggested, a silver cropped apple, and here we are. I would love to use such a thing to read my mail and news while having breakfast or in the train, don’t you ?

    I’d rather have a simple phone that does only phone calls (might be cheaper then), and beside it another device giving me good reading and writing quality. Audio there, and video here. The PC is where they merge.
    This simple phone could be a GSM enabled iPod with a freehand set plugged in the minijack plug, and the ipod wheel would control the dialing, as on our old phones.

  18. Excellent, insightful article. I wish the iPhone comes true in the near future.

  19. Interesting stuff. For myself I hope for something a bit different based on the gapping hole that is the lack of a remote control for AirTunes; namely a Wi-Fi enabled mobile client that could be:

    • an iTunes remote control in the home,
    • provide ‘web’ access to contacts/email either at home or in the office via a .mac account,
    • a VOIP handset in the house/office and
    • maybe an environment capable of running a subset of Dashboard gadgets.

    More words at a remote control for Christmas

  20. sloan says:

    Will the iPod develop into something pod-like instead of a music player with some extra software features? Adding wi-fi or bluetooth would allow for it to act more like a pod for storing information than simply a music player. With the iPod providing a base, add-ons could be minimized to their bare essentials. But right away you would have a “remote” to control your AirTunes setup because it could act as the iTunes jukebox (if it could do Apple lossless compression on the fly).

    Cellphone size is largely dictated by the need to push buttons, a screen and have a distinct distance from the ear to the mouth for speaking. If you have an iPod with an addressbook, all you would need is a bluetooth headset with cell phone connection tech. The iPod would be the dialing device and the headset would be truly just a communication device and could be collapsable to something smaller than a lighter or integrated into a new type of headphones.

    A PDA needs much more screen real-estate to be effective. Couldn’t the click-wheel on the new i-Pods flip down or something to reveal more screen? Put a nice, hi-res screen on there and a bluetooth pen and you have your entry device (no need for touchscreens). You could always add a keyboard too. In the end though, I think data entry is better suited for when you are at a computer, the small size of a PDA makes them awkward for data entry, but fine for displaying stored information.

    Using the iPod more like a pod might be where they are headed in the future. Solid state memory and low power wi-fi/hi-bandwidth bluetooth may be the keys they are waiting for if they are interested in this sort of thing at all. For there to be real a real convergence device I think there is still some time to pass and Apple will wait until then.

  21. I’m one of those who wants WiFi in my cell phone, and not because I want to use it at Starbucks.

    Rather, I want to use it as a VOIP handset when I’m at home or in my office, and a cell phone when I’m on the street.

    The first vendor who does that gets my $700! Extra points for making it switch–incoming AND outgoing–when I go in and out of range of known WiFi networks.

  22. carsonfront says:

    You simply can’t compare an iPod and a Treo.

    iPods are suceesful because they DON’T do a thousand things. They’re designed to be simple and intuitive, so much so that you can choose your favorite song in the dark. It’s popular because it’s friendly, easy to use and “just works.”

    All-in-one devices are a neat trick, and consumers may claim to like the idea of them… But the concept is flawed. The more things a tiny device (and they do have to remain tiny) does, the less things it will do well. And the more problems consumers will have navigate an increasingly confusing interface. The genius of the iPod is that it’s a departure from this line of thinking.

    Why should Apple enter this market, anyway? It’s crowded, and it’s a huge gamble. Most phones are given away with service plans. As for the PDA, it’s going the way of the DoDo as the fad fades as many of us realize we don’t really need them. The iPod may not even need a successor, not for a while.
    The popularity of the Walkman took almost two decades to subside.

    And you’re wrong about Virgin, you don’t sign up for a plan, it’s all “pay as you go.” The lack of simple research on that topic makes the whole article suspect…

  23. Mike D. says:

    Carsonfront,

    Unfortunately, most of your post is dead wrong.

    1. You don’t just “pay as you go” without signing up first with Virgin. That is silly. Your own lack of research, in your words, “makes your whole post suspect”. From the minute you start using the Virgin MVNO service, you have an account with them, with which you can log in to check usage or request paper statements. Just because it’s a pre-pay system doesn’t make it as anonymous as using a public pay phone.

    2. No, the iPod didn’t succeed because it doesn’t do a lot of things. It succeeded because it did things no other device at the time could do. By concentrating on music only, Apple was able to get the interface near-perfect, and that is some of what people love about it. To say that the device couldn’t be made even better with the addition of more well-implemented features is to assume everyone wants as little from a device as you apparently do.

    3. 90% of the time you’re using an iPod, you aren’t even interacting with it at all. You are simply listening to it. You don’t pull the thing out of your pocket when every song ends — you more or less just let it do its thing most of time. I think you overestimate how much interaction is actually done on music players.

    4. I can change my favorite song in the dark on a Treo.

    5. It’s obvious from your post that you’ve never even touched a Treo 600, nor any other well-designed all-in-one device (granted, there aren’t many others). You speak from the perspective of someone who perhaps tried to use an iPaq a couple of years ago and couldn’t figure it out. Before you go and dismiss an entire class of devices, make sure you use the best of the class.

    6. You say that most phones are given away with service phones, which is totally irrevelant to what we’re talking about, because high-end all-in-one devices are not given away at all. If you want a little piece-of-crap flip phone which does nothing but make calls, sure, take a free one. But Handspring, as mentioned in the article, is profiting very handsomely from the Treo right now. They are eating Apple’s lunch. The market for high-end phones like this isn’t crowded at all. Only a few companies do it right.

    Palm/Handspring has given us a model of how a device like the iPhone should be, and that is one of the reasons Apple tried to buy it years back.

  24. Scooter says:

    I wrote a description of a similar device on Spymac some time ago (http://www.spymac.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=32899). With recent developments in related technologies and products, I think my concept is still valid.

    Though mine was more of a household bridge between conventional telecommunications and the superior functionality of iChat, it blends well with your vision as well.

    In summary, I see a single device that can provide iChat A/V functionality when online and can operate on conventional communication networks when out of WiFi range. The key is bringing as many forms of a/v communication as possible together under a single elegant interface.

    Very Apple, no?

  25. Sean Andrews says:

    I think that it be nice to some day have one device to carry around, instead of the three I carry now. The iPhone should be a phone, a pda of sorts (calendar, alarms, appointments, maybe some basic note taking/spreadsheet programs), and a music player. At night you plug it into a recharging/syncing dock with speakers next to your bed, and it wakes you up to the first alarm you have set for the next day.
    It’d be nice also if it was the size of an iPod and was really customizable. It’d be real nice if, when plugged into a firewire/usb port on your computer, it looked like a hard drive with all sorts of subdirectories that you could alter:
    - Don’t like the default font; change it (something maybe PNG-based that you could make in PhotoShop or something as opposed to a TrueType vector version).
    - Your contact/appointment/alarm list should be some open compatible XML or something that could be copied over to you PC and hand editted or copied to a new device.
    - There should be a directory for icons, one for wallpapers, ui elements that you can edit (or download from someone else).
    - I’d be nice if you could make images to display on the screen when an incoming call is coming in. Like when your mother calls, you could have an image on the screen of the precious giver of life instead of some 7-digit number.

    Yes cost is an issue, but who wouldn’t gladly put down $800 for something that does all this and more from one haldheld device. I have three devices that cost me more than that in pocket right now!

  26. Brian says:

    This would be absolutely insane. But you are forgetting something. What about those toshiba .8″ 4gb hard drive. You stick that sucker in there, and make a cable so you can connect to an iPod, than you use the iTunes on it to get songs off the iTMS and they will be directly fed to your iPod. Now this sucker will not only sell googles of itself, but massive amounts of iPods.

  27. Twink says:

    Was just bored and thought I would post

  28. JohnnyLab says:

    Hey so you know back in July sometime Apple and Motorola announced that sometime early next year Motorola would shipping with iTunes… hmmm that should be interesting. Probably won’t make it to the US, nice phones take forever to get here… Oh well.

  29. Brad says:

    Well, apparently Apple just ordered 12 million “iPhones”. (See link)

  30. Brad says:

    Whooops…Here’s the link:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20061118/tc_cmp/194500001

  31. ryan says:

    you are incorrect, mike.
    AT&T Wireless was not an MVNO
    although Qwest Wireless is.

  32. Mike D. says:

    ryan: This article was written in 2004, when AT&T Wireless announced their plans to start an MVNO service.

    It is now 2007. Adjust your viewpoints accordingly.

  33. Hmmm….

  34. mike smith says:

    is that a wristband cell phone? if so how much and where can i get 1 @?

  35. samuel says:

    is it a cellphone? and where can i get it and how much doesn it cost

  36. Apple iPhone?

    Why hasn’t Apple released a cell phone? Maybe they don’t think it fits into their “digital hub” model……

  37. iPod? That’s SO 2004.

    Mike Davidson is calling out an Apple iPhone announcement sometime in 2005 (complete with a sweet mock-up–see left). Let the drooling begin.

  38. flex-mx says:

    Are You Ready For The iPhone?

    We all dream, and blog often about those dreams, so I enjoyed Mike Davidson’s post (via Hot Links) on why Apple should develop a phone on steroids. He even has an illustration….

  39. Your iPhone is ringing

    According to Mike Davidson, the time is right for Apple to turn the smartphone world upside down in the same way it did for music with the iPod. He argues that all the foundations and business models are in place,

  40. Metacosm says:

    iTunes on Motorola Phones

    From MacRumors:iTunes on Motorola Phones:
    Apple announced today that Motorola and Apple are partnering to bring iTunes Music Player to next-generation Motorola phones.Listening to iTunes songs on a V3 with Bluetooth headphones sure would be nice! A f…

  41. One Step Towards A Real iPhone?

    I made it six days without directly talking about Apple. That’s an accomplishment. It was just last night when Mike Davidson made some pretty heady predictions about Apple’s entrance into the cell phone market. With no definite plans or rum…

  42. Beautiful website, spot-on opinion.

    Seattle-based art director/designer/consultant Mike Davidson weighs in with All Hail the iPhone, a piece on why Apple is/should be developing a Treo-killer. Good points all around, and the guy’s website is drop-dead gorgeous. Go check it out….

  43. Apple’s IPhone For Real Dude

    Okay with all the idle chatter about Apple’s IPhone, there might be something in the works. Type IPHONE.ORG and guess where it takes you. Actually the domain name is registered to Apple. The domain name was registered in 1999, and…

  44. Mike Davidson: All Hail the iPhone

    Na so ein Telefon hätte ich dann doch auch sehr gerne. Bisher ist mein (existierender) Favorit das Nokia 6260, da ich vom Siemens S65 nicht so 100% überzeugt bin.

    Naja, auf jeden Fall wäre so…

  45. [...] Most service providers have data plans priced in roughly the same ballpark so it wouldn?t be hard for an Apple iPhone to come with a $10 per month data plan … More Info… [...]

  46. [...] often times getting bold, unpopular, against-the-grain predictions mostly right but being a little early on timing. So here’s my crop for this [...]

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Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.

“More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”
- Tim Kreider’s denunciation of the cult of busyness is excellent. (via jimray)