Apple Says Hello Moto
By Carlo Longino, Tue Jul 27 02:30:00 GMT 2004

The maker of the iPod will create a new version of the iTunes music player that will be installed on some Motorola phones.

The two companies announced Monday night that iTunes will go mobile on Motorola's "mass-market music phones" in the first half of 2005. Motorola's touted its deals with MTV in the past, but linking its brand to Apple's iTunes should establish it as the mobile music leader.

That's the real attraction here for Motorola -- to attach themselves to Apple and try to gain some cachet through osmosis. Plenty of handsets today are capable of playing mp3s, but presumably none do it with the ease and grace -- or inherent coolness -- of Apple's products. It's an interesting move for Apple, which has said in the past the iTunes music store is a loss leader designed to help sell iPods. Presumably, they want to take new Moto phone users and turn them into iPod buyers.

The addition of iTunes underscores Motorola's ambition and the drive of CEO Ed Zander to keep the momentum the company's gained over the last year going and avoid the yo-yo fortunes that have plagued Moto's handset business in the past. Signing up Apple would indicate that Motorola has some pretty intense music handsets in the pipeline -- it's doubtful Steve Jobs would be interested in associating iTunes and the iPod with products of poor quality.

That, or this is just the first step towards the much-clamored-for wireless iPod. The logical next step is being able to buy songs from the iTunes Music Store from the handset. Forget monophonic ringtones via SMS or hobbled "mobile mixes" -- get ready for 128k stereo AAC over the air.