Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a special “music event” Wednesday unveiled the iPod Nano, an “incredibly small” sequel to the iPod Mini, as well as the anticipated iTunes-enabled ROKR cell phone from Motorola and an update to iTunes.
The Motorola ROKR cell phone, which Jobs called the “iTunes Phone,” will be available in the United States to Cingular Wireless customers. The phone will come with a 512 MB memory card, which can hold approximately 100 songs, or the equivalent size of audio books or Podcasts.
The ROKR also features stereo speakers, stereo headphones and a camera. The phone will use a USB cable to connect to iTunes on a PC or a Mac and will work with iTunes Autofill feature.
No mention was made of the rumored ability to purchase songs from the iTunes Music Store through a wireless network.
“Its an iPod shuffle right on your phone,” Jobs said.
Ron Garriques, president of Motorola Inc.s mobile phone division, said at the event that his company and Apple were “getting ready to reinvent mobile music.” He said 700 million new phones were sold a year, and that there is an installed base of 1.2 billion mobile phone users worldwide.
“Its neat, but less of an event,” said Gene Munster, the managing director and senior research analyst on technology for PiperJaffray & Co., of the ROKR announcement. He noted that this product would provide no new kind of revenue stream for Apple.
“Its a teaser,” he said, predicting that Apple would “go its own way” in the next few years with an iTunes-based phone product.
Still, Munster said, the ROKR could be a strong branding move for Apple, in that the phone market is 13 times larger than the MP3 player market.
The iPod Nano, which Jobs said would start shipping Wednesday, uses flash-based memory to keep its size to one-fifth the volume of the original iPod and its weight to 42 grams.
This new addition to the iPod line comes in two configurations. The 4 GB version, which holds approximately 1,000 songs, will sell for $249, while the 2 GB version will go for $199. Jobs said the iPod Nanos battery will hold a 14-hour charge. The iPod Nano will be available in both black and white.