iPod Phone Isn't Perfect, but It's a Start

David Pogue
September 8, 2005
IPOD phone. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
You'd better believe it. When Apple announced that it was about to
unveil something big, its stock price zoomed to a record high. The
Gizmodo Web site posted an exhibit of no fewer than 24 different faked
"iPod phone" photos that have circulated online. Gadget freaks
worldwide went foamy at the mouth.
Now, plenty of current cellphones can already play music -- but not
with Apple's sense of style and polish. They can't play songs from
Apple's iTunes Music Store, either, which is where 10 million people
-- more than 80 percent of the world's online song buyers -- get them.
So questions about the new iPod phone flew thick and fast in nerd
circles. Will it look cool, like an iPod? Will it have the iPod's
famous click wheel on the front? Will the phone have a hard drive that
can hold thousands of songs? Will you be able to download songs
straight from the Internet? Will it have a FireWire or U.S.B. 2.0
connector for superfast music transfer? Will you be able to use your
songs as ring tones, so that the phone bursts out in "You Make Me Feel
Like a Natural Woman" when your husband calls?
All became clear on a San Francisco stage yesterday morning when
Steven P. Jobs, Apple's chief, took the wraps off two new products.
One was a new iPod model - the iPod nano - that's so thin, it looks
like a traditional white (or black) iPod that's been squished by a
steamroller. Its two models ($199 and $249) hold 500 and 1,000 songs
in memory; there's no hard drive, which helps the nano crank out 14
hours of music on a charge.
The other new product was, yes, a new combination cellphone and music
player, a collaboration among Apple, Cingular and Motorola, called the
Rokr E1, which will cost $250 with a new Cingular contract. (Ever
since its Razr phone became a hit, Motorola's been on a roll with its
omitted-letter naming scheme.)
ALL right, now, about those questions: the answer to all of them is no.
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