Is Apple getting ready to launch a cellular-enabled iPod?

Is Apple getting ready to launch a cellular-enabled iPod?

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Apple has filed not just one, but FOUR trademark applications which mentions terms such as digital music, communications and cellular for the phrase “Mobile Me”. This development has the whole industry abuzz with speculation that Apple is preparing to launch a cellular-enabled iPod. For one, Shaw Wu and Albert Lin of the American Technology Research predict that an iTunes phone similar to the Motorola Rokr will be coming soon.

So is Apple really planning to be a cellular reseller buying bulk minutes from carriers and then reselling them to its loyal consumers? Not everybody believes it. Jupiter Research’s Julie Ask states that “Apple sells hardware and software… They don’t have an existing subscriber base like cable companies, and they don’t have content like ESPN that people have an affinity to.” Furthermore, for Apple to launch an iPod mobile phone with such technology, the device would have to have enough browsing capabilities to handle secure micropayments.

That’s a good argument but will it be reason enough for Apple not to venture into the cellular business anyway? We’ll see.

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