Friday, July 08, 2005

Forbes catches on to my Apple Wireless idea

Well it looks like Forbes by way of MacDailyNews has finally caught on to my Apple Wireless idea from March. They suggest Apple buy network access from Sprint, become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MNVO). I dismissed this as not viable since Apple would be competing with Sprint for big dollars. Yeah, Sprint already competes with Virgin Mobile US, which uses it's network and is successful. I can be totally wrong on this, but I think Apple wouldn't want to be at the mercy of its mobile network operator. They have the cash, buy one of the few remaining smaller carriers, like T-Mobile. I know, they can get most of the benefit by being an MNVO, but the scenario I am thinking of protecting against is when Sprint sees Apple significantly eating into their revenue, what happens then? Does Sprint prioritize their own traffic over other companies it resells bandwidth to? Does it cancel Apple's contract, leaving Apple high and dry? Buying T-Mobile solves these problems, but you do have a phone company to run. I don't think there is any question long term, the phone and iPod are going to merge. Phone makers are already trying to do it, but they are at the mercy of the carriers and an HD-based phone costs to much. The problem with integrating both is the UI. A keypad just sucks for music, the scroll wheel on the iPod is near bliss for navigating large list of information. The keypad has to be real buttons, or something that acts close enough to real buttons that it just works. One way is a keypad slids out of the bottom of the iPod, similar to what Business 2.0 was proposing. If I remember right, the print article had an image of a keypad sliding out of the bottom of the phone. There are other ways, but the sliding keypad seems the most economical and doable now, anything else involves bluetooth and disconnected storage, interface, and headphones, which just feels like it has to cost more.