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iPod chief not keen on iPod and cell phone convergence

Apple senior vice president and executive team member Jon Rubinstein does not believe in digital device convergence theories, which suggests that the iPod, cell phone, and digital camera are on a collision course with each other and a single unified device.

\"Is there a toaster that can also brew coffee?,\" quipped the iPod chief during an interview with Germany\'s Berline Online. Answering his own question, Rubinstein explains that no such device exists because it would not provide any benefits over an individual toaster and coffee machine.

\"Many companies believe in [the convergence theory], but I personally do not,\" said Rubinstein. \"It\'s important to have specialized devices.\"

In fact, Rubinstein believes the iPod, cell phone, and digital camera will all continue to thrive in their individual markets for at least another decade. \"Most people still take photographs with their digital camera rather than their cellphone,\" he says. \"And there\'s a simple reason: digital cameras take better pictures.\"

Asked whether Apple has considered a reentry in PDA market by evolving the iPod into such a device, both Rubinstein and Apple vice president Phil Schiller (who also sat in the interview) seemed strongly opposed.

\"PDA\'s would not be good business for Apple,\" Schiller said, explaining that PDAs are a niche market for specialized applications. Basic functions of PDAs, such as date planners and address books, have long been available on most cell phones \"and now the iPod,\" added Rubinstein.

Likewise, Rubinstein and Apple appear weary of investing their energies in the cell phone handset market beyond the iTunes phones being made available from Motorola. \"It\'s a concern,\" said Rubinstein, \"because the Motorola phone is no replacement for the iPod.\" Instead, the company plans to wait out the response to the first iTunes phones to see the market\'s reaction.

Recently analysts have called for Apple to consider its own foray into the cell phone market, which stands 13 times larger than the digital music player market, with an estimated 774 million cell phones to be sold this year.

\"On the iTunes phone I can load 100 tunes,\" said Rubinstein .\"However, with the iPod my whole music collection becomes mobile.\"

One thing Rubinstein is not concerned about is iPod market share suddenly eroding like that of the Sony\'s Walkman, which sold over 340 million units in the 80s and 90s.

\"The iPod is substantially more difficult to copy than the Walkman was,\" he claims. \"It\'s a whole ecological system of different elements which coordinate with each-other precisely: the iPod, iTunes, iTunes Music Store and Internet.\"

Humorous update: It took our lovely readers only minutes to locate several toasters which, yes, actually do brew coffee as well.