by CIO Staff

Apple, Cingular to Partner on Cell Phone, WSJ Says

Jan 09, 20072 mins

Apple Computer may finally end the rumors and announce its own cell phone on Tuesday, with wireless service from Cingular, a news report said.

The device, which will combine a cell phone with Apple’s popular iPod music player, is expected to be announced at the MacWorld show in San Francisco, according to the report in The Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources.

Any announcement is likely to come when Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs delivers his keynote speech at the event Tuesday morning. Rather than tie itself to a single service provider, Apple is likely to introduce an “unlocked” phone that can be used on different networks.

Cingular spokesman Ritch Blasi declined to comment to IDG News Service on the report, and Apple spokesman Steve Dowling did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Several analysts have predicted that Apple will launch a mobile phone with music playback capabilities, to take advantage of the strong position its iPod has in the music player market. Sales of Apple mobile phones could dwarf sales of the iPod, some analysts have said.

It was rumored at one point that the phone would be called the iPhone, but that seems unlikely after Cisco Systems released a family of Internet phones under that brand name.

Cingular has turned to music to retain and attract new subscribers. It introduced Cingular Music late last year, which offers subscription-based music services from leading online music services including Napster and Yahoo Music from Yahoo to the handset. Cingular said it teamed with Microsoft to incorporate Windows Media digital rights management into select handsets.

-John Ribeiro, IDG News Service (Bangalore Bureau)

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