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Apple, Cingular Bite Into Mobile Music

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An agreement between the two firms will see Cingular sell Motorola’s E790 iTunes phone.

This morning, the Wall Street Journal disclosed a deal between Cupertino-based computing legend Apple and wireless service provider Cingular. The forthcoming Motorola iTunes-compatible phone looks like it is closer to consumer availability.

A formal announcement could take place on September 7. Apple sent invitations to members of the media to attend an event in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. The purpose of the event was not disclosed, but hints at an announcement similar to that of the iPod a few years ago.

Other handset makers have been prepping music-capable phones. Wireless providers hope to tie over-the-air downloads to their offerings, rather than provide the PC-to-phone transfer capability of the Motorola E790. One report observed Sprint would charge $2 for a song downloaded over-the-air.

That price carries a hefty markup; iTunes only charge 99 cents per song, a figure that could change. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been facing pressure from music publishers in Japan and the US to hike iTunes pricing. The iTunes Japan store already has different tiers of pricing in place, a scenario that may play out in America soon.

For Apple, iTunes has been a gateway to sales of the iPod media player. The decision to make its iTunes software available on the Motorola E790 looks like it could pose some risk, and Mr. Jobs isn’t known for cannibalizing sales of Apple’s pricey hardware.

That could mean the Sept. 7th event would feature more than just the iTunes phone, assuming it would be part of the event in the first place. With Apple ordering up vast quantities of Samsung’s NAND flash memory, some rumors contend a flash-based iPod, perhaps even a video capable model, will debut too.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Apple, Cingular Bite Into Mobile Music
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