Apple’s engagement with phones predates the release of the first iPhone. Take a look at the iPhone with the iTunes logo that came before it.
It seems as though such a revolutionary device only recently took over society for those of us who are old enough to recall significant portions of our lives before the iPhone. The Apple phone that existed before the iPhone is less well recognised to the general public.
Unbelievably, two years before to the debut of the first iPhone, in 2005, Apple and Motorola collaborated to develop and market an iTunes Phone. The Motorola ROKR, please.
The Apple Phone is the Motorola ROKR Ahead of the iPhone
Steve Jobs announced the arrival of an official iTunes Phone on stage during the September 2005 Apple Music Event. It turns out that the phone in question, the Motorola ROKR, was really manufactured by Motorola, but Apple pushed to make the first-ever mobile iTunes client the centrepiece feature.
The physical design, which was obviously influenced by Motorola’s previous candy bar phone designs at the time, appears to have been mostly independent of Apple. The ROKR was quite subpar by almost all standards because it wasn’t a smartphone and didn’t even have a keyboard.
Due to its 512MB capacity, it may sync with iTunes on your computer and add up to 100 songs from your collection. Apple compared the phone to an iPod Shuffle at the speech, which could store up to 120 songs but lacked a display and any phone-like features.
Initially available through Cingular for $249 with a two-year service agreement. Sales were so bad that the carrier reportedly reduced the price by $100 just two months after the device’s availability, according to RCR Wireless News. Additionally, Apple and Motorola worked together on a second-generation model, but as you can expect, neither one was successful.
How on the same day, the iPod mini killed the iTunes Phone
The timing of it was equally bizarre as the iTunes Phone itself. Apple debuted the first iPod mini during the same speech. Even though you might be unsure of what to do with your old iPod now, it was a major development for Apple at the time. It replaced the iPod mini, which the firm had unveiled a year earlier, with something even smaller and featuring a colour display.
The iPod nano, which cost $199 and could store 500 songs, was in almost every aspect a far superior device to the iTunes Phone. While it may seem obvious to listen to music on your smartphone today, people were still used to using different devices for music and calls in 2005.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the iPod mini conquered the market and significantly outperformed the iTunes Phone. If you already had a phone you loved, upgrading to the Motorola ROKR didn’t make sense because you could acquire a little iPod that could contain at least 500 songs instead, which can keep 100 songs in your pocket.
Was Apple preparing for the iPhone by testing the market?
A rather strange decision on Apple’s part was the Motorola ROKR. It’s unusual for the business to work with a third party on a product that will bear one of its most well-known brand names: iTunes. Additionally, given that the first iPhone debuted two years later, in 2007, Apple was undoubtedly already working on creating something far greater to the iTunes Phone.
Could it be that Apple’s partnership with Motorola was part of a larger covert strategy? Some have claimed that the iTunes Phone was a clever method for Apple to test the waters since the company never introduced its own phone before the iPhone.
It would be able to gather information on whether people were interested in such a device, how they were using it, what they liked and disliked about the iTunes on a cell phone experience, and how to best promote an actual Apple phone in the future. Despite being purely speculative, this is undoubtedly an intriguing hypothesis.
Since the iTunes Phone, Apple Has Made Significant Progress
No longer will you see someone out and about with a Motorola ROKR in their pocket. Apple’s primary focus has always been on the original iPhone, but this brief period with the iTunes Phone is an interesting one to consider in the company’s history. Credit belongs to Steve Jobs, who famously declared in 2007 that the iPhone will include an iPod built-in.
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