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View Full Version : The Big iSurprise...iCam or iCell or both?


iGod
Jan 5, 2003, 05:03 PM
Well iThink that if Apple is *definitely* going to start charging for its iApps...surely this mysterious new six-inch product would have to create or support a market for one of those iApps.

There's iPod for...iTunes
There's the Superdrive for...iDVD
There's _______ for iPhoto.
There's _______ for iMovie.
There's (yes, iPod, but not really)_______ for iCal.

Perhaps the new digital device involves digital photography and some sort of low-end video capabilities..."iCam"...this would justify people paying for iPhoto and iDVD updates in the future.

An iPhone or iCell would indeed dovetail nicely with iCal, iSync and could be integrated with the .mac service (i.e. more subscribers and more iApp downloaders).

Phone service compatibility issues aside - I have seen people walking around with a PDA to their ears - as a phone and (limited) music player (they're either Palm or Sony, I think). So PDA/Phone/Music Players EXIST already (and no, you don't have to be a 'phone company' to make phones - is Palm a phone company?).
I have also seen that one of Sony's (extremely thin) PDAs (Clio?) also has a small camera in it and a large touch-sensitive color screen. If people think that a color screen would be ridiculously expensive, consider the fact that the Gameboy Advance has a color screen and the whole product retails for about $69.

So a Phone+PDA+MP3 Player+Camera+Color screen may not be all that impossible - in fact, I think it is highly likely. Too many components to fit into a small, handy device? Perhaps it will be modular and detachable. Impossible you say? I say, remember the slot-loading powerbook superdrive.

However, iPod sales are good and the product is super-popular and hip - why mess with a winning product? Apple isn't going to kill the iPod as we know it - so if this new device has any mp3-playing facilities, they will be minimal and nowhere near the capabilities of the iPod (you couldn't fit a hard-drive into a phone anyway)- perhaps this product will sync with the iPod and download a few five-star songs for the day (maybe the new iTunes will automatically do this).

Just trying to think outside the Pod. Opinions, anyone? This product would fill in the blanks in Apple's Digital Lifestyle circle of products.

jaguarx
Jan 5, 2003, 05:31 PM
You won't see an Apple camera or Cam IMHO, it strays too far and would not benifit apple, they could not beat someone like Sony for Cameras in any market, any why wold they? I doubt the sales woudl even cover R&D. I'm thinking some kind of mini-tablet kinda thing, not really a PDA, not really a Laptop, kinda like a Sony VIAO except tablet, and more astheticly beautiful ;)

The pod is already a very, very crowded little device, i don't think they can fit that much more in there. A colour screen would make some sense though, the HDD is big enough to watch movies. But then you've got to give the Imac the capability to rip firlms which could get legally tricky.

As a 20G ipod owner i jsut hope they make them more scratch resistant, it needs it badly.

iGod
Jan 5, 2003, 05:56 PM
You're right - the MPAA would NEVER allow a product or software package that could rip movies - especially since Apple is pushing DVD-burning as well - it would be a copyright infringement nightmare. Even a 'set-top' device would be sketchy. However maybe a "don't steal movies" sticker on the display like the iPod one would get around the legal issues? Hmm. Unlikely.

So why the color screen, then? I can only think that it would be for photos and snippets of home video. Unless Apple does something revolutionary that enables one to download music videos or something...but that seems far-fetched. The iTunes visual effects thing just sounds like a very weak justification for a color screen.

And without a corresponding apple device, why would people pay extra for iPhoto when most digital cameras come with their own photo software?

pmcaleer
Jan 5, 2003, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by iGod
And without a corresponding apple device, why would people pay extra for iPhoto when most digital cameras come with their own photo software?

Oh, that's easy: iPhoto is good.

It's not perfect, but it makes the entire process simple (which is a huge plus - "I saved Christmas!") and, for most users, It Just Works. As an added bonus, in my experience the vast majority of camera photo software is terrible, just terrible.

iPhoto is good software, and I trust that it's only going to get better. Is it worth $50 on its own? Probably not. $13? Easily.

It's exactly the type of software Apple needs to bring folks over to the Mac.

- Paul

(edit: fixed typo)

Beej
Jan 5, 2003, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by jaguarx
As a 20G ipod owner i jsut hope they make them more scratch resistant, it needs it badly. I have a 10 GB iPod, and I agree. I love my iPod and look after it very well, but in a moment of alcohol induced stupidity, I put it in my backpack without putting it in it's case first. A quick taxi ride home, and there are scratches all over it :(

iGod
Jan 5, 2003, 06:30 PM
I kept my iPod in an XtremeMac leather case for months and I took it out recently to discover that it was hideously scratched all over (from the INSIDE of the case)! Now I've just given up and I'm going for the 'matte' brushed-metal look rather than the original polished metal!
They should sell replaceable snap-on back covers (perhaps with different designs and colors! how about a transparent one!) - has any third party thought of this...are the back covers even detachable?

jaguarx
Jan 5, 2003, 06:30 PM
It's true that most photo software is godawful but apple would be foolish to stray into the digital camera market.

Set top doesn't do it for me, and doesn't fit into the digital hub strategy in any way i can think of. I still think we're going to see something tabletish.

iGod
Jan 5, 2003, 06:55 PM
How about this: (I posted this on another thread too)

http://www.jandr.com/JRProductPage.process?RestartFlow=t&Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=1652&pcount=&Product_Id=3027398&Sort=Mfr_Name,Current_Price,Product_Name

e-coli
Jan 5, 2003, 07:29 PM
APPLE IS NEVER GOING TO MAKE A CELL PHONE! The profit margins are extremely low on phones and it's not what apple does. there's no room in that market. too many companies.

it's never going to happen.

just my $.02

neilt
Jan 5, 2003, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by e-coli
APPLE IS NEVER GOING TO MAKE A CELL PHONE! The profit margins are extremely low on phones and it's not what apple does. there's no room in that market. too many companies.

it's never going to happen.

just my $.02

quick search on etrade shows the following Profit margins:

Nokia: 9.49%
Apple: 1.13%


nokia makes primarily mobile phones (they also make some network equipment)

seems their profit margin is quite a bit higher than apple's.

rdas7
Jan 5, 2003, 08:47 PM
No iCam, no iCell.

I don't think it'll be a PDA/tablet either, since this would draw too much attention away from current Apple products. The PDA market is saturated with reasonable options (from the Palm Zire to the Tungsten, or Compaq, etc.)

At best, it'll be an enhanced iPod. Adding just a few "basic" features to the existing iPod would benefit Apple tremendously. The color screen would open up the iPods use to video and images (no ripping DVD's, but portability of iMovie-produced-videos). If they put in a USB slot, then you could theoretically connect it to your digital photo camera while on the road and effectively increase your camera's storage capacity to 20GB (instead of 64MB internal, etc.)

If they enhance the software on the iPod to allow MP4 decoding, then the iPod becomes both a video playback device AND an MP3/MP4 player (using MP4, you could store even MORE songs in the same space). Perhaps add a video-out socket to the iPod and you have a portable movie player.

The question remains how big the screen will be. Possibly bigger than the current iPod screen, taking up the whole front-face, however I don't expect Apple will introduce any new operating system and so it will most likely function with the same operating system as the current iPod (ie. no pen, no handwriting recognition, no installable apps, etc.). I believe that Apple will want to differentiate this device from a standard PDA, and market it as a "digital video assistant" or something to that effect.

The current iPod site already has a logo saying "more than just music". This is probably what they are talking about.

Such a device would push demand for Mac hardware, since you'd need a Mac at home in order to load up this thing with files (just as an iPod is useless on its own).

The device may have bluetooth to sync with your phone, etc. but I suspect that Apple are still trying to push the digital hub strategy with a Mac at the center to connect all devices, rather than a "digital web" where devices can talk to each other. After all, if you could sync your iPod with your cellphone then you wouldn't need a Mac would you? Well, you get the idea.

Just one more day!

kansaigaijin
Jan 5, 2003, 09:45 PM
a phone,

still and video camera.
260,000 colour screen like my Toshiba T08
3 minute movies like my Toshiba
Bluetooth and iSync ability that my Toshiba doesn't have.
some phones here in Japan have card readers, can use 512MB SD cards. who needs are hard drive? they also play music, but generally by subscription service.

my Toshiba,http://www.j-phone.com/english/products/images/jt08_pic01.jpg

e-coli
Jan 6, 2003, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by neilt


quick search on etrade shows the following Profit margins:

Nokia: 9.49%
Apple: 1.13%


nokia makes primarily mobile phones (they also make some network equipment)

seems their profit margin is quite a bit higher than apple's.

Nokia makes all their money on network equipment. trust me, i used to work with ericsson 3 years ago. they hardly made anything on the phones. they were a loss leader to sell their network routers, switches, and receivers, which are considerably more expensive and expansive.

dubbelhund
Jan 6, 2003, 10:41 AM
Apparently Amazon has an offer where they pay you $ 25 to get the Ericsson T68i bluetooth phone. Curiously enough the offer ends a day before Apple announces their new "device". Could there be a relation here? Also I find the quick iCal updates a little curious too.

An iPhone would make complete sense. Perhaps because I really, really, really want Apple to make one. :D

matznentosh
Jan 6, 2003, 10:50 AM
Now that iPhone thing just looks silly. No one would try to talk on the phone with that thing pushed up against their ear.

But what about this? An iPod with cell phone capability, but no microphone or speaker. Instead, it has bluetooth built in. You keep it in your pocket and use a bluetooth earpiece. You can listen to music, answer the phone, etc.

What do you think?

rdas7
Jan 6, 2003, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by matznentosh
But what about this? An iPod with cell phone capability, but no microphone or speaker. Instead, it has bluetooth built in. You keep it in your pocket and use a bluetooth earpiece. You can listen to music, answer the phone, etc.

What do you think?

Apple aren't going to get into adding cell phone capability because it's simply not their game. They make computers. The exception is the iPod, where they've attempted to branch out into making a different device, but it is unlikely that they would enter either the mobile phone or digital camera markets which are already well served by experienced companies such as Nokia, Kodak and Canon.

At the moment, Apple are pushing their Digital Hub strategy which uniquely places a Mac at the center of a star-like map, each device branching out. Just as an iPod is useless without a computer to attach it to, so will this next secret device. It will be some time still before I see Apple promoting these devices to talk to each other (like an iPod that you can connect to your Digital Camera to download pictures on the move, or as you suggested an iPod that syncs to a cellphone). If they did this, then the need for a Mac would be undermined. At least for now, they will continue to push devices that plug into the Mac. As this technology develops into a practical reality, only then will we see the next phase: getting devices to talk to each other. Rendezvous is a big part of that, but it is early days yet.

lmalave
Jan 6, 2003, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by Beej
I have a 10 GB iPod, and I agree. I love my iPod and look after it very well, but in a moment of alcohol induced stupidity, I put it in my backpack without putting it in it's case first. A quick taxi ride home, and there are scratches all over it :(

I read somewhere that the next iPod would have a brushed-steel exterior.