Apple started as a hardware company, selling desktop computers, then laptops. But in 2001, the company began its long journey to become a media distribution company – a journey from which Apple Music was born in 2015 and then Apple TV + at the end of the year. now on.
In 2001, Apple launched iTunes, and a few months later was the first iPod. These two products have revitalized the company in a period of decline and rapid growth. In 2005, Apple accounted for 75% of digital music sales and 80% of MP3 players.
With more than 20 million iPods sold, Steve Jobs decided it was time to step into the mobile phone market to expand the reach of iTunes (and to catch up with the trend of phones replacing specialized MP3 players). use). But it was two years before the iPhone came out, and at this point, Apple had formed a partnership with Motorola.
Motorola ROKR E1 became the first phone to be compatible with iTunes. Apple partnered with carrier Cingular to sell the phone for $ 250 with a two-year network contract. This is an important detail, because Cingular – which will later change its name to AT&T in 2007 – is also Apple's partner in charge of selling the iPhone.
But if Apple's own phone was a product of Jobs's ruthless perfectionism, the ROKR was less ambitious – Jobs described it as an iPod Shuffle inside an electric phone. phone. The company only allows you to store up to 100 songs in the machine, and you can not store more than that number even though the phone comes with a 512MB microSD memory card.
However, Apple's idea is to use the Autofill feature to automatically load a specific number of songs onto the iPod – or in this case, a Motorola phone. The songs retail for $ 0.99 / song, and the whole album costs $ 9.99.
Sony BMG and Warner Music Group are not happy about this, and want to go to war with Apple. They want a pricing mechanism in which the cost of each song will be calculated based on their popularity. Cingular doesn't care, because Apple doesn't share any music profits with the producer, even when the songs are downloaded to the ROKR E1.
However, some analysts see ROKR E1 as a desirable product, capable of enticing consumers to the network. Others are concerned that the phone will cost the iPod its margins. Surprisingly enough, both are wrong.
The smallest iPod Shuffle at the time could hold about 120 songs in its 512MB memory – exceeding the 100 songs of the ROKR E1. The phone supports memory cards up to 1GB, but the song limit is immutable.
Apparently Apple itself is worried that the ROKR E1 will eat away the profits of the iPod. After all, this is a Motorola phone, not an Apple device. Apple even introduced the iPod Nano on the same day as the announcement of the ROKR E1, prompting Motorola CEO to criticize Apple intentionally trying to sabotage its phones.
Motorola ROKR E1 is the E398 name changed. In fact, ROKR has a separate button to start the iTunes music player. Except for that, you can flash the E398 to run the same software as the other model.
ROKR E1 has stereo speakers with 16mm driver and headphone jack (2.5mm only). To enhance the experience, the phone is equipped with a vibration motor to simulate bass – a system similar to the Dynamic Vibration System on the Xperia XZ2 launched last year.
ROKR E1's external speaker is what makes it stand out from the iPod Shuffle. Meanwhile, the 1.9-inch 176 x 220px screen cannot threaten new iPod models with color screens (iPod gen 5 has a 2.5-inch 320 x 240px screen).
Motorola also has a few other iTunes-compatible phones, but it's clear that Apple doesn't put their hearts in it. ROKR was discontinued in 2006, but this experience must have influenced Steve Jobs as he developed the iPhone.
And when we say that, we are talking about the unpleasant things he has to go through. Things did not go smoothly on stage when Jobs launched the phone – he pressed the wrong button and the phone never played music.
"I pressed the wrong button. But you can continue playing from the previous position if you press the "- he said. He must have dreamed of a better user interface when he got home that day.