Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mobile phone waves in Apple filings

The Chicago Tribune reports that according to recent federal trademark filings, Apple might launch a mobile phone venture. According to the article, last week, "Apple filed four applications for the trademark "Mobile Me" with the U.S. Patent Office and Trademark Office. They cover digital music, portable electronic devices and computer services.

One application specifically says "Mobile Me" would apply to "mobile telephone communications services" and "telecommunication services for the dissemination of information by mobile telephone, namely the transmission of data to mobile telephones."

Albert Lin at American Technology Research said, "I think they will have a device and an MVNO. They have to find a way to get over-the-air downloading of iTunes. They have to take a more proactive role in developing the (over-the-air) market."

Ed Snyder at Charter Equity Research believes if Apple goes the mobile phone route, "it will likely contract out much of the engineering to a firm that specializes in mobile phones." Snyder noted that "The mobile phone business is enormously complicated," and Apple proably wouldn't be a threat to other handset manufacturers.

Lin concurred and said, "I think Motorola would view it as positive." He hypothesized that "Apple might market an MVNO in tandem with a Motorola phone. And Motorola is likely looking for a better outcome from its Apple relationship than it has gotten from the first Rokr phone."