By Tony Smith
23rd March 2006 13:19 GMT
Analysis Taiwan's BenQ believes Apple will indeed offer a mobile phone
product. One company executive this week said the 'iPhone' is
"definitely coming", claiming the iPod maker has been talking to
Taiwanese component manufacturers, some of whom also supply BenQ's
The BenQ staffer's comment comes courtesy of Australian website
Smarthouse. He said: "Among manufacturers in Taiwan [Apple's plan] is
common knowledge. The issue for many is the availability of parts if
the phone takes off."
He said BenQ was not in the running as a potential Apple partner: the
two companies would be in competition, as they already are in the
digital music player arena.
Telephony is an obvious direction for Apple's iPod enterprise,
especially as storage - be it Flash or hard disk - gets cheaper and
easier to integrate into a device that almost everyone already carries
Apple already has a relationship with Motorola, but it didn't get off
to a good start - Motorola's Rokr was criticised for its lacklustre
design and the 100-song limit its version of iTunes imposes. Motorola
has since said it is planning a line of music phones based on
Microsoft's Windows Media Player, which could be seen as a reaction to
Apple's plan to enter the market.
Apple has also had, in the past, a good relationship with Sony
Ericsson, particularly when it was promoting Mac OS X's
data-synchronisation technology. These days, Sony Ericsson is out to
win market share from the iPod using its Walkman-branded phones. The
strength of the brand and the success Sony Ericsson appears to be
gaining through it may also have persuaded Apple it's time to tackle
its rival head-on.