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Wednesday, August 24, 2005, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Motorola mulling NYC venue for early Sept. iTunes phone launch

Exclusive — Motorola is planning to introduce the first of its much anticipated ROKR iTunes music phones in New York City early next month, AppleInsider has learned.

According to sources familiar with the wireless company's plans, Motorola is preparing to unveil the phones at a special media event currently scheduled to take place Wednesday, September 7th at a venue on Manhattan's West Side.

The phones will be the first product of Motorola's strategic partnership with Apple Computer, announced last July and aimed at enabling music aficionados to transfer their favorite songs from Apple's iTunes jukebox software to Motorola’s next-generation mobile handsets.

Although representatives from Apple are expected to be in attendance, information suggests that Motorola is handling the majority of the preparatory measures for the product launch.

Through one of its production affiliates, Mack Industries, sources say Motorola is arranging for the launch and after-party to take place at Splashlight Studios on West 35th Street in Manhattan.

The 23,000 square-foot location can accommodate up to 1,500 people, but as of Tuesday evening neither Motorola nor its affiliates had completed and signed the necessary paperwork to secure the venue.

In addition to seeing the new music phones up close, sources said attendees will also be treated to live music from a band that will perform at the event. Sources say the event will be invite only for media and analyst.

A spokesperson for Motorola declined to comment on an iTunes phone launch in early September, saying only that the company had yet to make any official announcements on the subject.

Though it's unclear whether Apple's Steve Jobs will fly cross-country for the launch, Motorola chief executive Ed Zander is already scheduled to be in Manhattan on the morning of the 7th to deliver a keynote speech at the Eighth Annual Kaufman Bros. Investment Conference.

According to sources, Motorola plans to hold a similar event to launch a versions of its iTunes phones in Europe, but details of that event are unknown.

In prior comments to the media, Motorola said its ROKR line of iTunes phones would be unveiled during a special event dedicated to the phones on or before September 30th.