Apple/Motorola ROKR, iPod nano and other Apple News

Well, according to the various live blogs, Apple and Motorola officially announced their iTunes phone: the ROKR.

It’s a camera phone, holds 100 songs, doesn’t have a clickwheel, does have one button access to the iTMS, it’ll pause playback if the phone rings. Songs are transferred to the phone via USB cable. Basically an iPod shuffle merged with a phone.

I dunno, pretty underwhelming so far. More news could be forthcoming, but this isn’t very appealing to me at the moment.

Oh, yeah, they also announced iTunes version 5.0, which doesn’t sound all that different (some UI improvements, some synching with Microsoft applications for contact and appointments).

And the Harry Potter iPod and audio books. How could I forget those?

[EDIT UPDATE] And now news of a new iPod nano to replace the mini. Holds 1000 songs, thinner than a #2 pencil, and 62% smaller than a Motorola RAZR phone. Apparently has a nice high rez colour screen and some sort of lap counter? I’m assuming it’s flash based.


More iPod nano updates:


Jobs calls the iPod nano “an entirely new ground-up design, that also has 1000 songs in your pocket.” The white device features a color display and can support photos, uses a grey click wheel to navigate, and is 80 percent smaller in volume than the original iPod – thinner than a number two pencil, said Jobs. The iPod nano weighs 1.5 ounces or 42 grams.

Compared to the iPod mini, the iPod nano is half the thickness and 62 percent smaller by volume. It uses a 30-pin dock connector, so the iPod nano plugs in to existing iPod accessories, and can also connect using USB 2.0. It features a 14-hour rechargeable battery. It achieves its small size by eschewing a hard disk drive in favor of flash memory.

The iPod nano also features a new graphical clock, games, stopwatch and lap timer, and a screen lock that uses the click wheel like a combination lock.

“White is our signature color for the iPod … but we decided to so a second color, and we tried it because it looked so cool,” said Jobs, “so we’re doing a black model as well.”

The iPod nano ships today in 2GB and 4GB confiugurations for US$199 and $249 respectively. Apple is also offering customized iPod nano accessories including a $29 dock, $39 lanyard with built-in headphones, color-coordinated armbands for $29 each, and “nanotubes” – green, purple, blue and pink slipcases, sold in boxes of five, for $29 each.

[EDIT] and finally some pics of the nano:

The Nano is just. Wow.

Apple has definitely learned the lesson that the only company you should allow to cannibalize your sales is…yourself.

The interesting thing that nobody is talking about concerning the ROKR is the very very tough time Apple is going to have selling them. The telcos do NOT want this thing in circulation. The telcos want you to pay them for songs on your phone, and for ringtones, and for other things that they currently monetize but a USB cable could easily do for free.

So far it looks like only Cingular has picked this thing up in the U.S. and I bet the other telcos are going to watch the phone very carefully. They don’t want to fall behind competitively while Cingular has a way more popular handset, but they don’t want to lose the ringtone/song download revenue either.

The telcos do NOT want this thing in circulation. The telcos want you to pay them for songs on your phone, and for ringtones, and for other things that they currently monetize but a USB cable could easily do for free.

What he said. Verizon at the top of this list too. They can go fuck them selves though.

Yeah, the nano is really sweet looking. If I didn’t already own both a waterproof MP3 player with which I swim laps, and a 20GB U2 iPod (a birthday gift) I’d definitely want one.

gives a much better pespective on just how tiny this thing is.

Hats off to Apple on the nano, I think they’ve done it again – they’ve made a gadget that people will just lust after once they see it.

As for the ROKR, I remain unimpressed. It’s not even a good looking phone, and the fact that you can’t download songs over the air on a whim is just weird to me. It’s a freakin’ phone! I don’t think it’s going to do all that well, but maybe that’s just me. A friend of mine says that he’d like one because of the convergence advantage. He regularly curses Nokia for screwing up the N-Gage, and sees this as a good step forwards.


If I could buy / download songs via itunes from it I would be sold.

I thought you could, but I didn’t read it very closely.

I thought you could, but I didn’t read it very closely.[/quote]

Nope, you can’t. You download songs via iTunes on your Mac/PC and then transfer them to the phone via USB. It really just is an iPod Shuffle shoved into a phone with a screen.

It’s the ROKR E1 though. I’d guess the E2 might allow direct iTMS downloading.

I thought you could, but I didn’t read it very closely.[/quote]

You can if you use your PC to access iTunes and dl the songs. Then you transfer the songs to the ROKR via USB cable. Technically speaking there is nothing preventing the phones from accessing iTunes directly and downloading songs directly but the telcos want a BIG cut for that sort of thing so Apple would have to charge more for cell phone customers which would just end up pissing people off.

Technically speaking there is nothing preventing the phones from accessing iTunes directly and downloading songs directly

Thats what I would like. I mean how it normally works is I hear some song or someone is talking about it and I forget 2 hours later. If I could get the song right then that would rule.

I don’t get this.
Afaik you guys are way behind Europe and Asia in sales of newer mobiles and mobile service. Europeans buy more games, more ringtones and more crap for their mobiles than Americans. So our telephone companies should really hate this idea - but no, the Sony Ericsson W800i Walkman phone with 512 MB memory and NO DRM support just came out, and every telco has it - why would they be scared of this?

More importantly, why would anybody buy this over the W800i? It looks like shit, only has room for 100 songs and the great feature is… that is supports iTunes?
Where’s the Clickwheel? Where’s the tight Apple design? It’s just a phone with DRM. Colour me unimpressed.

The Nano is nifty, though.

European telco operators are scared of this too, they just have less control over handsets than US operators. In the U.S., the vast majority of cell phone consumers use a phone subsidized by, provided by, and approved by their telco. Usually the subsidy is variable on the length of the cellular contract. 2 year service agreements offer more phone subsidy than 1 year agreements, etc.

So the bottom line is that in the U.S. the telcos CAN control to a large extent which handsets are on the market, simply by which they choose to subsidize.

ROKR sucks.

iPod Nano, on the other hand, is cool. It’s a great replacement for the iPod Mini.

It’s still the same over here.
95% of mobile phones sold are subsidized by telcos - and they all offer the various MP3-enabled phones. In Denmark it used to be, they could only tie you to that telco for 6 months, now they can offer 1 year contracts too. Other European countries have similar rules.

You can buy the non-subsidized phones but the price difference is so big, that very few do. Still the phones on offer with or without contracts are the same.

So I still don’t see why US telcos fear this, when their European and Asian counterparts make tonnes of money, and still offer the phones, that might cut into their business model.

It’s not the same. GSM phones are easy to switch between operators due to the magic of SIM cards. American CDMA phones are much harder, and telcos can put a lot of red tape in the way of someone wanting to use a non-telco approved phone.

All telcos fear the MP3 player phones, they just can’t do anything about it in Europe. The resistance in America has been more effective, but if Cingular makes a big splash with the ROKR the other providers will probably have to follow suit.

For that much money I’d get a Razr instead. The Nano is cool though.

So what’s the benefit for Apple on the iTunes phone front? Hasn’t iTunes always been about pushing iPods, not making money on its own? I don’t understand why they wanted to pursue this any more than the phone companies wanted to let them.

aha, got it.
Now I learned what CDMA is. Seems to be worse than GSM but improving rapidly and good for the telcos - and that our GSM operators will switch to a version of CDMA when they go 3G.
Well, the phone is still ugly. What happened to this concept phone:

by Robert Brunner. This I would consider getting.

I like the Nano… and I really like that it comes in black.

Some shitty details to go with all this…

the iPod nano replaces the iPod mini… So, less capacity, no higher capacity iPod minis coming down the line. iPod minis are gone.

the ROKR is a piece of crap. It IS a shuffle built into a phone… BUT - it uses the phones memory card (512mb) and has a nice hardcoded DRM restriction to 100 songs max… So even if you don’t fill it up with 100 songs, or put in a bigger mem card… tough luck for you.

Apples starting to drop the ball usability-wise. It’s like Jobs looked at the GBA micro and said he wanted an iPod as small and unusable as that!