Early iPhone Rumors Give Insight into Apple's 'iSlate'

James Alan Miller at PDAStreet, October 5th, 2006:

According to ThinkSecret, Apple scaled back its ambitions a bit for the first iPhones: Instead of re-inventing the wheel, the company used some off-the-shelf parts and current iPod technology. In addition to the first model, there may be two or three others rolled out throughout 2007.

The first iPhone is said to feature a 2.2-inch display, 3.3-megapixel camera and an instantly recognizable Apple design, with the company’s usual elegant user interface. There will be iSync support and complete iTunes compatibly, of course. The idea is that people will go for this single device rather than both an iPod and a cell phone.

Unlike the widely panned Motorola ROKR E1 from last year, the first cell phone with iTunes compatibly, the iPhone won’t be limited to a 100 song capacity. The only limit should be the amount of storage available on the device. The same goes for photos.

No word on whether there will be support for video as well. Although one would think that since users should be able to take high quality video with such a high megapixel camera, there will be the capability of downloading movies and TV shows as well.

Reports also say that like the ROKR when it was first released, Cingular Wireless has signed an agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone exclusively for six months; which means other operators won’t be able to offer the device until mid-year.

Scorecard: The iPhone was far closer to a reinvention of the wheel than a modified iPod. 2007 saw only one model. It had a 3.5? screen, not a 2.2? one and a two megapixel camera, not a 3.3 megapixel one. It didn’t let users “take high quality video,” but did offer movie and TV downloads, and offered syncing and iTunes compatibility. Cingular (which later redubbed itself AT&T) got exclusivity for a lot longer than six months, and even AT&T didn’t get the phone until mid-2007.

Katie Dean at TheStreet.com, November 1st 2006:

Reports that wireless carrier Cingular will team up with Napster and Yahoo! go a long way to suggest it doesn’t plan to work with Apple on its music phone offering.

But rather than turn up the competitive heat on Apple, the move by Cingular, which is jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth, could turn out to be a plus for the digital music king.

ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes suggests that Apple might opt with its upcoming iPhone to become a “mobile virtual network operator,” which could be a better deal.

MVNOs, as they’re called, don’t own their own spectrum but enter into deals with carriers to use spectrum for their own brand-named services. Virgin Mobile, for one, is an MVNO.

And it might make sense for Apple to forge ahead on its own, Hoopes says. “If Apple just makes a phone and sells it, the carrier gets the recurring revenue of songs and data,” he says. “If they make the phone and deliver [it] in a MVNO, then they can potentially tap into a recurring revenue stream.”

Scorecard: Do you remember Cingular Music, powered by Napster, Yahoo, XM, and eMusic? Me neither.

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