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iPod cellphone: out today?

We know, we know, you really love your iPod. You loved it so much you decided to fuck it. But did you really have to talk to it, too?

About that long-rumored iPod/Motorola hybrid mp3 phone: there has been speculation that Apple would unveil the phone as early as yesterday, or perhaps at a media event this week. Some background:

When the latest version of iTunes was released late last month, techies immediately started whispering that Poscasting wasn't the only new feature. Here's where MacObserver explains why iTunes 4.9 confirms the existence of an iPod phone. And here's where Gizmodo shows you what it looks like maybe:



Though this thing has been rumored, confirmed, and then delayed (with both Motorola and Apple pointing fingers at each other), it all comes down to an argument, possibly worth billions, over how to sell the music you're going to listen to on your cell phone. The big cellphone carriers, who've gotten kids (especially European kids) to pay $3 for a ringtone, want to sell you mp3's over their networks and (presumably) mark the shit waaaay up. Apple wants to keep the iTunes/iPod business model: break even on the music, make money on the hardware.

Apple's problem is that it needs the carriers' help. When you buy a cellphone, even if you don't realize it, the cost of the handset is being subsidized by the carriers: they're willing to eat money on the phone and make it back from you in two-year service contracts. But if a major carrier refuses to subsidize the iPod phone, well -- how many people are gonna buy a $500 mp3 playerphone that has the hard drive of an iPod shuffle? Which is why the rumor that Cingular is willing to play ball on the Motorola/iPod phone was such a big deal. Not like we trusted the French or anything, but Le Fig was reporting as fact that Apple would release this thing last Tuesday. Then again, it might be Thursday. Some sources claim Motorola has confirmed a July launch. Then again, who the fuck really knows?
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