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Apple in a partnership with Motorola have unveiled a new cell phone called the “Rokr” and a wafer thin new iPod mini called “Nano”.

The phone plays music downloaded from Apple’s online web site.Apple CEO Steve Jobs made the announcement in San Francisco, capping months of speculation. Also announced is a a pencil-thin iPod called “Nano” will replace the iPod Mini. It is one-third the size of the Mini and holds 1,000 songs.

“It’s impossibly small,” Jobs said at the Moscone Convention Center. “It’s thinner than a No. 2 pencil.” The Nano can store music, games, photos and a calendar. It also has a “screen lock” feature that allows no one except the user to access content.

Steve Jobs Launches The New Phone & iPod

A 4-gigabyte Nano will retail for around $399, and a 2-gigabyte model will sell for around $299. Music-playing cell phones could emerge as a competitor to the iPod, some analysts predict. By branching into phones, Apple would hope to secure its place as the kingpin of digital music regardless of what device is used to listen.

Typically, Apple keeps its new products tightly under wraps, but the new iTunes cell phone has been publicly anticipated for months by analysts and other observers who follow both companies. The phone should be available in Australia from late September through early October “through retail and operator channels”, the companies said in a listing of worldwide release dates.This will revive speculation that Apple may be close to launching its long-delayed iTunes operation in Australia.

Motorola has been known to be working on such a phone for more than a year and in July, company CEO Edward Zander told analysts that a music-enabled phone would be available to customers by the end of September.
Apple in a partnership with  Motorola have unveiled a new cell phone called the “Rokr” and a wafer thin new iPod mini called “Nano”.
Apple is hoping to extend its success with the stylish iPods, which are far and away the world’s best selling portable digital audio players, into the vastly larger but more competitive cell phone market. Sales of iPods and of songs through the iTunes Music Store now account for about one-third of Apple’s revenue.

Motorola, meanwhile, is hoping the Rokr iTunes phone carries on the success the company has found in the past year with the equally stylish Razr V3 cell phones, which since their release last November have become one of the hottest cell phones ever introduced.

Apple and Motorola are hardly the first companies to introduce a cell phone that stores and plays music. In fact, back in November 2000, Samsung launched a mobile phone with a built-in MP3 music player.

Microsoft executives earlier this week tried to blunt the impact of Apple’s announcement by calling journalists to point out that there are about 70 wireless Smartphones or mobile devices that currently on the market that are capable of playing digital music. The devices use Microsofts Windows Mobile or Windows Media software.

“We shipped our first Smartphone in 2002,” said John Starkweather, group product manager for Microsoft’s mobile and embedded products division. “Clearly, music and phones are nothing new.” And while Apple likes to control its own hardware and software, that style won’t work in a cell phone market splintered by numerous wireless carriers and cell phone manufacturers, Starkweather said.

“The challenge for them here is they don’t own the entire experience,” Starkweather said. However, Gene Munster, senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray Co., said Apple’s deal with Motorola could be just the tip of the iceberg. Apple has captured about 75 percent of the MP3 player market, which according to the research firm IDC will amount to 57 million units sold in 2005.

However, the cell phone market is about 13 times larger, with an estimated 774 million cell phones to be sold this year. A Piper Jaffray survey of consumers showed interest in a hypothetical Apple-branded “iPhone.”

 

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