September 7, 2005 11:06 AM PDT

Rokr iTunes phone, iPod Nano unveiled

SAN FRANCISCO--Apple Computer on Wednesday unveiled a tiny new iPod that will replace the popular iPod Mini and a cell phone capable of playing music downloaded from a computer running iTunes.

At an invitation-only event for journalists and others here, Apple CEO Steve Jobs pulled the new iPod Nano from his front pocket and declared: "1,000 songs in your pocket and impossibly small."

The fully featured Nano, which is thinner than a pencil and roughly the size of a business card, uses flash memory rather than the small, spinning hard drives used in Minis.

The Nano replaces the Mini line, which is located in the middle of Apple?s lineup--in size and price--between the diminutive Shuffle and the capacious iPod. The Mini is Apple?s best selling version of the iPod, and Jobs predicted the Nano will be a worthy successor. It "will instantly become the highest volume and most popular version of the iPod," he said.

News.context

What's new:
Apple Computer and Motorola teamed up on an iTunes-compatible mobile phone. Apple also rolled out another new music player, the tiny iPod Nano.

Bottom line:
With the Rokr, Apple hopes to extend the popularity of its iPod into a vast new market, while the Nano replaces the significantly larger and colorless iPod Mini.

More stories on this topic

iPod Nano comes in black or white and in two sizes: the 4GB iPod Nano holds about 1,000 songs and the 2GB iPod Nano holds 500 songs. They cost $249 and $199, respectively, and will appear in some Apple stores beginning Thursday.

The Mini line it replaces comes in four colors and in capacities of 4GB for $199 and 6GB for $249.

"iPod Nano is the biggest revolution since the original iPod," Jobs said. "iPod Nano is a full-featured iPod in an impossibly small size, and it's going to change the rules for the entire portable music market."

The Nano features the same 30-pin dock connector as the iPod and iPod Mini, allowing it to work with a wide range of accessories, including home stereo speakers and car adapters.

JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg said the iPod Nano would be just as popular as the Mini.

"This is the kind of thing that Apple loves to do--make a product and then turn around and try to make it better," Gartenberg said. "I think the Nano will be a big hit, especially with sports-minded individuals and younger consumers.

Extending the iPod/iTunes franchise into a new market, Apple and Motorola on Wednesday also unveiled the Rokr, a color-screen cell phone that can hold music downloaded from iTunes. The product had been expected since July 2004, when Motorola and Apple announced plans to collaborate on a music-capable phone.

"Today the talk ends and the music begins," said Ralph de la Vega, chief operating officer at Cingular, which will be the exclusive U.S. carrier of the phone.

The Rokr will be available this weekend in Cingular stores and sooner online at $249.99 with a two-year service agreement. It can hold only 100 songs, even if the consumer inserts a memory card larger than the 512MB card that ships with the phone. The Rokr has a color display and features built-in stereo speakers, as well as stereo headphones that also serve as a mobile headset with a microphone.

Rokr, nano

The Rokr could help Apple crack a potentially vast new market--hundreds of millions of cell phones are sold each year. In North America, Motorola is the largest handset maker and Cingular is the largest service provider.

As is the case with most Apple product announcements, the company employed star power to add to the glitz. Following Jobs' unveiling of the devices, rapper Kanye West took the stage to sing two songs. And making an appearance from London, via iChat, was Madonna, who touted her new album, as well as the just-announced availability of her vast library on iTunes.

iPod sales have propelled Apple into a leading market position, with a 53 percent share of all digital-music players, according to a report released Tuesday by Solutions Research Group. Sony and RCA tied for a distant second with 9 percent share each.

Apple's success has had a tremendous ripple effect on the digital-music player industry. D&M Holdings, which makes the Rio music player, said last month that it is shuttering its portable digital-audio division, in part because of Apple's domination.

Despite Apple's steps into the mobile-phone music player space, analysts are mixed on its effect on the iPod generation.

"I see the move as largely defensive," said Roger Kay, president and chief analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "A cell phone is not the optimal device for listening to music."

Kay noted that Apple should be concerned that other handset makers and network providers might try to bypass the need to work with Apple, given that cell phones are already exceptionally popular and increasingly capable of playing music.

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Gartner analysts estimate 780 million handsets will be sold this year alone with 1 billion cell phones sold every year by 2009.

Other analysts, such as Tim Deal with Technology Business Research (TBR), say that Apple's move into the cell phone market is a natural evolution of not only its iPod strategy but its iTunes store as well.

"The pervasiveness of cell phones in the world makes sense that there should be a relationship of these cell phones and iTunes," Deal said.

Motorola is also banking on more sales of its handsets with Apple as a partner. Gartner ranks Motorola as the No. 2 global seller of cell phones behind Nokia, which recently released its own N91 handset. Capable of playing music, the N91 has a color screen, a camera and 4GB of storage that can hold about 1,000 songs. Samsung's SGH i300 and Sony's Walkman W800 also are similar to Motorola's Rokr.

Motorola's iTunes phone also has significant market potential for Cingular. According to Solutions Research Group, 14 percent of Cingular's customers have a digital music player. A larger proportion, 17 percent of those surveyed, report that they want to buy one within 12 months, the report said.

Also on Wednesday, Apple announced an upgrade to the iTunes software. Available now, iTunes 5.0 has a more streamlined appearance and enhanced search capabilities.

53 comments

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Add your comment
"thinner than a No. 2 pencil"
From that description, I was expecting the nano to be round, which didn't make sense to me. Yes, I misunderstood the description, but this is still the same rectangle, just thinner. More fragile?

Guess we'll find out.
Posted by pencoyd (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Revenue only $249,000?
From the article: "Apple said it sold nearly 6.2 million iPods
between April and June of this year, representing 616 percent
growth in iPod sales compared with the same time last year.
Revenues totaled just $249,000 but included the introduction of
the flash-based iPod shuffle, which sells for as little as $99 at
many large retailers."

That has to be a typo, right? How could Apple sell 6.2 million
iPods and only make $249,000? That would be an average price
of 4 cents each! If it is accurate, where can I get my 25 iPods for
a dollar?
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dude, think Net, not Gross
Net Profit is what you get after you subtract the cost of materials,
inventory, buildings, advertising, people, designers, shipping ....
and on and on.

But you are right about one thing. I hope it is a typo. Guess i'd
better re-read the article.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Article Changed On Refresh
The news article changed after I went back and even the stock
quote changed. I should have known there was something
wrong when I saw it say the stock price was at 40.nn (nn = some
decimal amount).

Hmmmm ... very interesting. Apple stock hasn't even come
close to 40 all day. The lowest so far (today) was 48.09 at noon.
Seems to me that CNET just can't seem to keep the ball in their
hands.


Bad job CNET
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Thanks
Thanks for pointing that out, Jonathan. It's been fixed.
Posted by LeslieKatz (143 comments )
Link Flag
Have the Minis been Replaced?
The iPod Minis no longer appear on Apple's store. Have they done away them by the iPod nano?
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes
the nano does indeed replace the mini.
Posted by NeverFade (402 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, minis replaced
This is really weird. The minis are replaced - by two devices at the exact same price, but with significantly less storage!

That doesn't seem, to me, to be a way to get new customers.
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Link Flag
Mr. Kay do your homework...
Apple, Motorola & Cingular have all stated that the iTUNES ROKR
phone has auto-pause feature upon incomming calls and that the
headphones are ALSO a cellphone headset with built in
microphone. ONE headset does TWO things. So, as you misstated,
you simply do not need two headphones as you seem to think.
FUD, typical C/Net sources.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
analysts!
Analysts are so full of it. Do they get paid for sharing this kind of
"wisdom"?
Posted by Thrudheim (306 comments )
Link Flag
Captivating coverage
It took three people to write this breathless article, and you tell me things like "Motorola is also banking on more sales of its handsets with Apple as a partner." THAT'S the kind of cogent analysis we count on from News.com, yeah. How many writers did it take to write THIS: "...handset makers and network providers might try to bypass the need to work with Apple's iPod hardware, given that cell phones are exceptionally popular." So Steve Jobs isn't the boss of everyone, AND the cell phone is "exceptionally popular"? Well, I hope you follow a daring claim like that with statistics to prove the point. Oh, look ...

But the article did provide valuable product info. It told me how to pronounce "Rokr" (lest I confuse it with a TV weatherman) WITHOUT resorting to the obvious: "It's pronounced 'Rocker.'" Kudos to the entire armada that squeezed around the keyboard on this one.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unimpressed
I've yet to see any reasons to ditch my 4thG 20GB iPod.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
*yawns* x 2
Lets see....100 songs max on the phone and its a Moto phone at that.

and

another iPod that is nothing more then a smaller version of its big brothers with flash as the storage medium.

Color me completely and totally unimpressed. I mean at the very least Apple could have reinvented the design of the Nano. I saw this cool idea for a tube shaped iPod where you scroll through the track via a ring that runs around the tube. Not the best design but its better then a 4 year old model that pretty much has stagnated. I thought this was the company known for innovation. Guess not. They seem to be the company that is now just reinventing the wheel with a fresh new coat of paint.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When creativity was being handed out ...
... where were you? John Doe???? LOL!!! I'm FDL!!! (falling down
laughing)

One thing we don't have to argue about is the popularity of the
iPod. In terms of sales and marketshare, Apple blows everybody
else away. Why? Because the ARE innovative. People are voting
with their dollars.

A "tube" iPod??? With a ring??? Rolling on the floor laughing!!!!

Thanks, JohnDoe. You provided a fleeting moment of
entertainment with this post. Keep up the good work!!!
Posted by randytucker (1 comment )
Link Flag
Yawns at John Doe
Seems to me that you post this any time Apple announces
anything.
Posted by Thrudheim (306 comments )
Link Flag
Re: creativity
I'm a pretty big Apple advocate - in 20+ yrs of computing at home, only 2 non-apples ... one from work for accessing the corp. environment, and one a gift to one of the kids.

However, despite being a bit prejudiced towards Apple, I had a rather discouraged reaction about this announcement. I am surprised that Apple has kept the current format, given the physical and software patents awarded this summer that govern these interfaces.

But even more surprised, as I mentioned in an earlier thread, about the fact that the 2 new ipods have less storage, but have the same price.

How often do you see tech devices introduced with less storage and the same price? Usually it is less storage and less price, or more storage and the same price. And occasionally more storage and less price!
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Link Flag
Wait and See
The biggest news of this event is what we already knew; specifically that Motorola and Cingular are joining Apple in a wireless play. The big question is whether or not consumers will go for an iTunes phone AND an iPod. If so, Apple wins big. If not, even if the phone is a smashing success, then I'm not so sure Apple wins (unless there is another wireless shoe to drop, e.g. video).
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple Wins Either Way
With iTunes/iPod, Apple has created and owns a new music
distribution "platform". The more common it becomes, the stronger
it becomes. Just like Windows. Despite endless malware and many
lacking features, Windows is still the dominant standard.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
minis gone; major mistake?
I'm a little concerned about the iPod nano replacing the iPod mini.
The mini was by far the most popular of the iPod line, and Apple
goes and chucks it out the window. In addition, looking at the
pictures of the nano, the scroll wheel is quite a bit smaller, which
could make it more difficult to use. Since I haven't actually seen one
in person, I can't say for certain, but hopefully Apple hasn't shot
itself in the foot by eliminating the mini.
Posted by iKenny (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Seems better than the Mini
It's smaller (the whole point of the mini), it's more rugged (no
moving parts), has a color display with more features, and it has
more capacity (on the 8GB model) for the same price.

What's not to like?
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
...
well what ever the critics say, I'm getting mine in the mail in a few days. It'll be my first iPod. 500 songs... that's more than enough for me. Besides, when I do travel, I have my laptop with me plus an external hard drive (for music, videos and everything thing else I need on my travels)
Posted by (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mp3 cell phones- Why is this news??
They've been around for a while already, why is this such ground breaking news? Maybe if they brought some decent phones over from Europe or Asia...

All you are doing is being a marketing slave to Apple by touting this as some "new" innovation.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
it is nothing new
Back in the day (maybe 2000 or so?), Samsung released a phone that played MP3s. It had around 64mb of storage which is next to nothing, but technically they were the first phone to play MP3s. And then much later came the Sony Ericsson which could play MP3s and with a bit of software fun, OggVorbis as well. The point is - playing an MP3 on a phone is nothing new and has been done before. The difference here is that Apple is bringing to the masses with a bigger bang.
Posted by David Dudley (446 comments )
Link Flag
Exactly - this is not news
My phone which I've had for a year now already plays mp3 and wma and no limit of 100 songs!
Posted by anand_dh (12 comments )
Link Flag
iTunes for Windows Mobile + Nano.. no
I like the idea of iTunes for Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Blackberry. I am not about to change my PDA phone that already plays video in wide screen and ACC files thanks to the Real player just to have a phone with iTunes. I am also not going to run out and get a new Nano. My iPod mini plugs into an FM transmitter and car charger and my Doc at home. Plus I use all 6Gb of my unit. Plus my phone also handles pics. Enough to show a friend through my holiday. So as much as these products will do well to new commers I can not see people changing to the Nano from their Mini or changing their phone earlier for tunes.

On another though. Have they solved the radiation issue where the earbuds act as an antenna to the head for all radiation. Just imagine. They worry about maybe a couple of hours use of a phone this way. Imagine what 8 hours continuous play will do.
Posted by (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Rokr?
Was that the best name they could come up with? Sounds like a 1 year old that can't pronounce Razr. Motorola could not get LamR.
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hahah!
I totally agree and your comment had me laughing out loud at work. The phone's name is indeed pretty lame, but they have a theme going where they like to skip letters and make everything 4 letter words, like their new walkie talkie - the RogR.
Posted by David Dudley (446 comments )
Link Flag
One thing for sure ...
I am going to go out and buy one of those color 6Gb mini ipods I've
wanted to get (to replace my 4gb one). I noticed the prices
dropping in the stores and I am going to see if I can still get one at
CompUSA or Circuit City.

I am a mac-head, and yet I think they may have jumped the gun on
eliminating the mini. It had to be the most popular version,
because it was the best ergonimically, and sturdy designed iPod of
them all. .... oh well.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Follow-up
... however, I DO HATE my current cell phone. This new one will
be something to look at. It will all depend on how "friendly" it is.
We know that the iTunes interface (iPod software) is the same.
But I am more concerned about ALL of the phone.

One thing is definite though, it is BETTER than my current phone
(d-ng POS)

I was hoping they were going to keep the mini body, make it all
flash, and include the color screen. To me, that would have
been better than a smaller device.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good point.
They may have been better off keeping the Mini size and filling up
the extra volume with batteries. Below some point (not sure what
that is), smaller is not better. But longer battery life is always
better.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Colourless iPod mini. That's funny!
"...while the Nano replaces the significantly larger and colorless
iPod Mini".
? am wondering if the writer of this article has ever seen an iPod
mini. If he has how maybe he is colorblind.
Obviously he is confusing the iPod mini with the iPod shuffle
wich is not replaced.

I was waiting something more accurate from c|net.

Charis Tsevis
Athens, Greece
Posted by tsevis (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think you may have misunderstood
By "colorless" the author meant that the small video screen on the mini is only black and white, while the nano uses a screen I have to assume is similar to the ipod photo - capable of displaying colors.

On the other hand, you are right - they went from colorful bodies of ipod minis to black and white bodies.
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Link Flag
Um...
Um. Mini's are colorless... colorless screens.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
What a joke. Apple is overhyped
You call this a revolution?
It a natural evolution and expected.
Flash + color has long been anticipated.

5 years on.
And all Apple did is make everything smaller.
Smaller ipod and imac.

Apple is way too overhyped.
Posted by rslc (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It will amost be worth it
just to harvest the 4gb CF card out of it since they run about $300.

the only thing that confuses me is why do they market high-storage players for sporting types? 1000 songs would be about non-stop for 3 days. while the typical 'sporting' person is going to use it when they go for their daily 20 minute jog.

if i wanted to buy a player to listen to while jogging i'd just get whatever is the cheapest. sound quality wouldn't even be that important since you'd be moving around anyway.
Posted by Sam Papelbon (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wow apple i hate you.
Arrogant
People
Pissing
Like
Elephants

why does apple charge 2500 dollars for their macbook pro???
What does it cost them 400 dollars to make tiger? COME ON U
*****! thats a lot of money!! HEY ASUS MAKES UR COMPUTERS!
LOOK HOW NICE AND INEXPENSIVE THEIRS ARE. U ***** u waste
all your money on advertising. i hate U! why can't u make the
same computers but make the price normal. The x1600 isn't
that great- who the hells going to run doom 3 on their macbook
pro??? come on dell has you at 300 dollars less and has a 7800
(non gtx), and i hate dell. WHY!?!!?!!? and with all this stupid
automated everything applications.. WOW i can make music by
clicking some buttons! Learn to play the piano! And as this is
supposed to relate to ipods- i love ipods, but itunes and ipods
are like venus clashing with mars. HOW ABOUT U LET ME PUT
MY SONGS FROM MY IPOD ON MY COMPUTER. THANKS AGAIN
*****!
Posted by zenzulu (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sry
-all the cursing.. sry about that.
U know i bet a company would make soo much money if they just
put normal software that allows u to do whatever u want, and made
the same kind of thing a little bigger than the nano with lik 6 gigs
or whatever. Then just sell it for a reasonable price. And don't
advertise. How about that.
Posted by zenzulu (7 comments )
Link Flag
But he is right!
He is right - Apple *is* overhyped.

The MP3 phone - it has been done before. Small mp3 players - it has been done before. Flash mp3 players, well duh.

What is different about all of this is that Apple is the de facto standard in the portable audio player industry and therefore can garner greater attention for creating something. Yes, they are not making anything truly revolutionary, but the difference is that they can take something that is not necessarily revolutionary, repackage it and then market and sell it better than anyone else has done to date.

Just for comparison - the Creative products all look terrible, have absolutely no marketing energy behind them and are therefore largely ignored by the general populous (their marketshare, er lack thereof is proof enough). Even if somehow, through some magical phenomenon Creative made an altogether better, more elegant product than Apple, it would still largely be ignored by the masses simply because Creative has no clue or insight on how to market anything and their loss of 32$ million reported in June proves it.

Given the sheer number of iPods sold, they absolutely will own the market for the forseeable future and garner all the accolades and attention from the press.

I mean - look at Sony. They release a bunch of new portable audio devices and the only people really covering are niche blogs like Engadget.
Posted by David Dudley (446 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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