Stakes are high for computer firm, partner Motorola
By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff | September 7, 2005
High-tech industry analysts say Motorola Inc. and Apple Computer Inc.
are likely to introduce today the first cellular telephone that can
double as an iPod portable music player.
"I think it has a chance of being a major product," said Roger
Entner, wireless phone analyst for Ovum, a Boston research firm. "It
just adds another tool to that Swiss Army knife we call wireless
Entner said he has spoken to executives familiar with the new device.
Longtime Apple-watcher Tim Bajarin, of Creative Strategies Inc, in
Campbell, Calif., said he also has heard about the new product from
his contacts at cellular telephone service provider Cingular Wireless,
which is expected to be the first cellphone company to market the new
Development of the iPod phone is no secret; Apple and Motorola
unveiled plans for such a device in July 2004. The stakes are high for
both companies. Apple's iPods are by far the most popular portable
music players, renowned for their beauty and ease of use. One-third
of Apple's third-quarter 2005 sales of $3.5 billion was generated by
iPod. But rivals continue to unveil products, including cellphones
with music players.
Meanwhile, Motorola of Chicago, the world's number-two cellphone
maker, is enjoying a rebound. After years of sluggish performance,
Motorola chief executive Edward Zander has rejuvenated the company by
launching a line of stylish cellphones like the wafer-thin Razr.
Adding an iPod phone to the Motorola stable could help the company
gain ground on cellphone leader Nokia of Finland.
Apple last week invited journalists to a major product unveiling set
for today in San Francisco, but the company has maintained its usual
strict secrecy about what it will say.