Rumors and speculation about Apple’s plans for a new handheld or smartphone have been going around since shortly after Steve Jobs canceled the company’s first mobile device, the Newton, back in the 1990s.
More fuel was added to the fire today by the CEO of Motorola.
In response to a question from CNET News.com about the ROKR, the first mobile phone with support for Apple’s iTunes music store, Motorola CEO Ed Zander said, “We know that they [Apple] are going to build a smartphone — it’s only a matter of time.”
Apple’s Newton line was some of the first handhelds, and the company’s CEO John Sculley even coined the term “PDA”.
But the computer maker withdrew from the handheld market in 1998 and has showed no real interest in re-entering it since that time.
However, at least once a year a rumor circulates that Apple is going to release a new line of handhelds to replace the Newton. Obviously, none of these have ever turned out to be true.
Rumors persist, despite the fact that Apple has said several times it has no plans to enter the handheld or smartphone markets.
The Motorola ROKR can’t really be considered a change in this attitude, as all Apple did was take a device that had debuted a long time earlier and add to it some software that let this feature phone exchange files with a computer running iTunes.
Most people would say that the company would have to be much more involved in the design process for a smartphone to be a “true” Apple product.