Consumer Electronics Show reporter's notebook
Technology reporter and Tech Buzz columnist Eric Benderoff files from the show floor in Las Vegas.
Apple Inc.'s decision to enter the mobile phone business was announced hundreds of miles from here--in San Francisco--but the news certainly reverberated in the Nevada desert, where the International Consumer Electronics Show reaches its conclusion Thursday.
Executives at the companies that already make mobile phones said the introduction of Apple's iPhone is bound to have an impact.
"We've known for a while that Apple was going to enter the phone market," said Chris White, Motorola's senior director of multimedia experiences. "And I think others will follow suit," he added, noting that he would not be surprised if Microsoft and its Zune team come out with a similar product.
But when asked if the Schaumburg company would still be working with Apple on an iTunes phone--there are still two Motorola phones that use iTunes for their music software for sale at Cingular stores--all White would say is, "I can't comment on that right now."
At Nokia's CES booth, Johan Eidhagen, head of North American marketing, welcomed Apple.
"I think it's good for the industry," he said. "It's confirming what we've been trying to do at Nokia. We've been saying for the last eight years this would change from a phone market into something else. It has become an Internet industry and Apple is just confirming that with this phone."
And LG Electronics' Jon Maron, senior director of marketing for the mobile division, said: "We always welcome innovative competitors into the market."
Apple's entry is "a perfect indicator that music on mobile phones is here to stay," he said. "We have music players in our top-end phones like the Chocolate and even on our low-end phones."
Regardless of whether the well-wishing was serious, one observer was very pleased about the news.
Said Doug Brendamour, vice president for Tune Belt, a Cincinnati maker of workout accessories for the iPod and music phones: "We'll definitely be making one for the iPhone."
Press room view
Not everyone was happy that the biggest gadget news of the week wasn't made at the world's biggest gadget fest.
In fact, the timing of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' introduction of the iPhone--at the Macworld show in San Francisco on Tuesday--was a little annoying to some.
Khalid Hosein, who writes for GizmosforGeeks.com, said the product looked cool, and it was a classic example of the Apple buzz machine in full force.
"It makes sense for something like that to be announced here" at CES, where there are more than 4,000 members of the media and analysts already in place. "But Steve Jobs has figured out that this is a strategy (introducing products at his own show) that works in his favor.
"There are 100 products right here [in Vegas] more worthy of the coverage Apple is getting," he said as this reporter showed him that the Apple news was the top story Tuesday afternoon on the Chicago Tribune's Web site.
Actually, the coolest thing at this show--and sometimes the most frustrating--is the technology in the press room.
As I wrote this, a French journalist was chatting to someone in Paris through a VoIP-enabled laptop. She also has a Cannon digital SLR camera plugged into the laptop, where she downloaded photos from the show floor to e-mail back to France.