Latest On Apple's Phone: Cingular Out, MVNO In?

Cingular officially announced today its new mobile music service, deciding to partner with Microsoft, Napster, Yahoo! Music, XM Satellite Radio and eMusic for a subscription-based service model.

Many have seen this event as an essential death-sentence to the rumor that Apple would be launching the 'iPhone' as Cingular-only initially. However, the possibility still exists that Apple could operate as a "mobile virtual network operator" (MVNO) on Cingular's network.

Early this year it was discovered that Apple was seeking RF engineers with EDGE experience (EDGE is a relatively high-bandwidth mobile network for GSM carriers such as Cingular). Around the same time, Apple acquired a large datacenter in California that was originally designed for MCI WorldCom.

A release date concerning Apple's phone has notoriously been a moving target for rumor sites to pin down. The latest consensus has appeared to pin down early 2007 with an introduction perhaps at MacWorld San Francisco, however some unconfirmed rumblings from MacRumors sources have been indicating that a spring release may also be in the cards.

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