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Mobile Telephony + iPod

MotopodApple has sent out invitations for a special event to be held September 7th at their favorite venue, San Francisco's Moscone Center.

"1000 songs in your pocket changed everything." notes the invitation. "Here we go again."

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has reached an agreement with Cingular, the nation's largest wireless carrier, to carry the Motorola-made product. The image shown here is a creative imagining of what the phone might look like and is in no way authorized by either Apple Computer Inc. or Motorola.

As Apple faces its own battles with the recording industry over song price - and as significant new players like HMV and Virgin provide more distribution options - Apple might find its hands full.

Apple will need to change its song price strategy. I've been a strong advocate of simple price models - as I've noted before, Sprint's Dime-A-Minute strategy years back was brilliant in cutting through complex multi-state tarriffs to provide a simple, understandable value proposition. The problem is the need for legal music is far greater than the typical iPod target market. Not all songs on a disc are equal, and there are millions of businesses who should be iPod users but at ninety-nine cents a song, the economics - and the appropriate licensing - might as well be on Mars.

We are just seeing the beginning of how touch-tone phones are intersecting with music - not just ringtones, but services like Shazam and others that let you know what song is playing right now (call 703/286-6454 for a slightly different take on this same concept). I think Apple needs to rethink the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) model that ESPN, Boost, Amp'd and so many others have begun to popularize. I think Apple is still too proprietary ... and this market, like before, may just slip through their fingers if they don't find a way to accommodate the major labels.

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