Not the iPhone

by Robert Daeley

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A post I came across over on Slashdot said that the name of the new Motorola/Apple/Cingular phone was 'dumb' -- why didn't they call it the iPhone, which is what everybody has been calling this theoretical device for the past five years?

Dumb like a fox -- I think it is mighty clever of them. Here's why.

Of course, the ROKR name is in line with the other hot Motorola phone, the RAZR, which is also a Cingular Wireless exclusive. But check out how they refer to the phone on the Apple site: 'Introducing iTunes for your mobile phone. With iTunes on your Motorola ROKR E1, you can listen to music on your mobile phone, wherever, whenever you want.'

It's not an iPhone, it's a phone with iTunes on it.

Why is that important? Well, what happens if this phone tanks faster than New Coke? As far as Apple's reputation is concerned, there's a big difference between a Motorola ROKR (with iTunes) going down the drain and an Apple iPhone going down the drain. In the former's case, Apple can distance itself fairly easily; in the latter, the naysaying sharks would be circling.

And if the ROKR actually rocks, Apple gets the credit. It's a win-win. It also leaves the possibility open for iTunes bundled on other phones and mobile devices some day.

As for me, I'm more excited about playlist folders and a cleaned-up iTunes 5 interface than either of the other big Apple announcements. ;)

What's your take -- is no iPhone 'dumb' or clever?


2005-09-08 22:32:40
I'd Like a Little More Apple in my Phone
After seeing the ROKR in person at Apple's Special Event, I'm wishing that Apple had more influence over its design. My guess is that Apple is choosing its priorities carefully. And in this case, their best scenario to get the iTunes phone out was to partner with Moto. That's fine, and I understand priorities, but I'd like to see a little more Apple energy put into the design side of this project.
2005-09-09 00:35:37
Of course not
This is not an iPhone - just look at it. An iPhone worthy of it's name would have to be Designed by Apple in California, and would have to be innovative in every respect, not just music.
2005-09-09 08:27:21
Of course not
Absolutely -- and I'll admit to a measure of disappontment about the revealed product. Not that it isn't a fine example of what it is -- iTunes on a phone. But that it wasn't more, i.e. the iPhone. :)
2005-09-09 08:30:37
I'd Like a Little More Apple in my Phone
Agreed. For my own personal ideas, I think it's even more intriguing of an idea in the context of the 'Smartphone Suggestions for Text SSH Use?' story on /. yesterday...

...what would an Apple smartphone look like? Never mind iTunes -- what about text input? But since I spend a lot of time in the Terminal, I have a definite bias. :)

2005-09-09 14:22:21
Cellphone Market too fragmented...
I think that Apple is staying out of the phone business simply because the services in the states all require a different phone to work on the different networks. There is no cross-provider phone. So in order to have the broadest penetration, Apple would have to build a different model for each carrier.