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View Full Version : Apple hits back at Sony's 'misleading' Walkman marketing


MacBytes
Jul 7, 2004, 03:54 PM
Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Apple hits back at Sony\'s \'misleading\' Walkman marketing (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20040707165409)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

Laslo Panaflex
Jul 7, 2004, 04:05 PM
Well, that's marketing . . .

michaelrjohnson
Jul 7, 2004, 04:14 PM
I think that's more than just "marketing". IMHO, it's a blatant attempt to decieve consumers. To me, it's little difference if it's in their fine print or not at all. They touted their claims that were unrealistic. It's like Apple claiming to have the fastest PC in the world. They had to stop claiming that as it is not accurate/decieveing. Kind of a cheap shot by Sony... Who really listens to their music at 48Kbps?!

zulgand04
Jul 7, 2004, 04:19 PM
I think that's more than just "marketing". IMHO, it's a blatant attempt to decieve consumers. To me, it's little difference if it's in their fine print or not at all. They touted their claims that were unrealistic. It's like Apple claiming to have the fastest PC in the world. They had to stop claiming that as it is not accurate/decieveing. Kind of a cheap shot by Sony... Who really listens to their music at 48Kbps?!

its true, when i saw the adv i really thought sony had something but after learning bout the atrac3 thing and now the reason the numbers are so high are due to low bit rates. Sony has pulled a fast one on consumers i hope it is brought to light for the entire public to know..

wowoah
Jul 7, 2004, 04:30 PM
Yeah, the same thing happened to me when I bought one of their NetMD players a few years back before my iPod. They advertised that it could record at something like 16x speed, which I thought was pretty good. Turns out that's at an incredibly low bitrate that sounded grainy and radio-like. At MP3 quality, the recording slowed down to something like 2x. Horribly misleading to young, ignorant consumers like myself.

I still think Sony makes great products, but you need to take its marketing (like all marketing) with a grain of salt. I don't know about you, but my cell phone doesn't get anywhere close to 90 standby hours.

Loge
Jul 7, 2004, 04:33 PM
It would also be interesting to know how long Sony's "30 hour" battery lasts when playing back music at a decent bit-rate.

michaelrjohnson
Jul 7, 2004, 04:36 PM
It would also be interesting to know how long Sony's "30 hour" battery lasts when playing back music at a decent bit-rate.

Very good point, I hadn't thought of that!

nagromme
Jul 7, 2004, 04:38 PM
True, an actual ACTRAC3 file is 2.75 times larger than the imaginary 48kbps files Sony misleadingly uses in their marketing. Reading such a bigger file will run the HD more and use more battery.

Normally, Apple should be VERY careful about even MENTIONING a competitor--bad practice if you're already the leader. But this is something that needed to get out--and Sony's offerings have gotten such bad press that they don't seem to be such a threat anyway. Until this article, I didn't realize that Sony REALLY uses 132 and not 48! Actually fitting slightly LESS per GB than Apple!

This link shows how poor even 132kbps ATRAC3 sounds, compared to 128kbps AAC:
http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multiformat128/results.html

BTW, remember when Apple first introduced the iPod and used a data rate of 160kbps MP3 in their marketing? Other companies were already using rates of 64 or even 32 to make their cheap flash players seem to hold mored. Apple could easily have followed that precedent and gotten away with it--but they didn't. They took the high road.

zulgand04
Jul 7, 2004, 04:45 PM
wow wma is better then atrac3 thats sad.

http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multiformat128/plot18z.png

-Neal

Peyote
Jul 7, 2004, 04:53 PM
It's about time Apple responded to this rediculously misleading marketing ploy. Too bad most journalists are idiots that steal from each other and nobody was tech saavy enough to check the specs when dozens of writers sh@t out articles hyping the Sony unit.

macridah
Jul 7, 2004, 05:05 PM
wow wma is better then atrac3 thats sad.

http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multiformat128/plot18z.png

-Neal

definitely sad when microsoft's technology is better than yours. It's ok sony, you tried, but totally failed--totally

parenthesis
Jul 7, 2004, 05:15 PM
Where did you get the graph, zulgand04 ? Not to say that it isn't real, but it would be nice to have a source to back it up with.

zulgand04
Jul 7, 2004, 05:19 PM
Where did you get the graph, zulgand04 ? Not to say that it isn't real, but it would be nice to have a source to back it up with.

its on the page that nagromme gave.
This link shows how poor even 132kbps ATRAC3 sounds, compared to 128kbps AAC:
http://www.rjamorim.com/test/multif...28/results.html



-Neal

Sabbath
Jul 7, 2004, 05:38 PM
I started the thread on this sony player on macrumors, and this just jumped out at me straight away from the article. These players should be sold on capacity in terms of disk space not song count, although we probably do have Apple to blame for that. Its hard to correct this kind of marketing in peples head though. I'm not sure I would be comfortable with Apple saying the iPod holds ....songs using such low bit rates.

Knox
Jul 7, 2004, 06:04 PM
Now, it's been mentioned in the PR for it, but I wonder if Sony is going to be brave enough to mention the 13,000 song 'capacity' in adverts. I can imagine a lot of complaints being made against it if it does.

Bob Knob
Jul 7, 2004, 06:54 PM
Apple's Sony statement was mentioned on CNN/HNN earlier today, so the press is taking notice. And CNN/HNN just gave a nod to the mini going global.

TomSmithMacEd
Jul 7, 2004, 10:12 PM
This whole talk is hogwash for me, I hate 128 anything. Atrac3 sounds horrible, (How could you ever make a product worse then WMA? I guess Sony did it) But everything has to be 320 for me at least! I am in love with Lossless.

SeaFox
Jul 8, 2004, 12:53 AM
It would also be interesting to know how long Sony's "30 hour" battery lasts when playing back music at a decent bit-rate.

On Hi-MD those figures are inflated. The new dirive technology is probably to blame, so I expect it too slowly improve in sucessive generations. But on the last generation of NetMD, 30hrs was normal for battery life on LP2 (132kbs) bitrate.

I know figures like that are hard for iPod boosters to fathom.

Loge
Jul 8, 2004, 03:33 AM
But on the last generation of NetMD, 30hrs was normal for battery life on LP2 (132kbs) bitrate.

I'm not doubting the battery life of mini-disk players; the point is that Sony's claim about the battery life of a hard-drive based player is misleading if it assumes an unrealistically low bit-rate.

Having said that, I would expect at higher bitrates, Sony's battery would last longer than the current iPod, just not 30 hours.

slipper
Jul 8, 2004, 01:56 PM
down went beta

down will go atrac

shamino
Jul 8, 2004, 10:36 PM
its true, when i saw the adv i really thought sony had something but after learning bout the atrac3 thing and now the reason the numbers are so high are due to low bit rates. Sony has pulled a fast one on consumers i hope it is brought to light for the entire public to know..
It seems obvious to me. If you advertise 13,000 songs on a 20G drive, then the average size of a song must be less than 1.47M (20,000,000,000 bytes / 13,000 songs = 1,538,462 bytes/song ~= 1.47M)

If you are using a 128K bitrate (16,384 bytes/s), then you're looking at an average song length of about 1.5 minutes. (1,538,462 bytes / 16,384 bytes/s ~= 93.9s) Even Sony would have a hard time justifying their claim by showing a hard drive full of 90-second songs.

If you instead assume an average song length of 4 minutes (240 seconds) (about right for pop singles), then you're looking at a bit-rate of about 50K. (1,538,462 bytes / 240 seconds = 6410 bytes/s = 51282 bits/s ~= 50K)

So when it comes out that Sony's numbers are based on a 48K bitrate, I'm not in the least bit surprised.

But I also recognize the fact that most customers are not engineers who will immediately whip out a calculator to examine an ad's claims.

themadchemist
Jul 8, 2004, 10:45 PM
wow wma is better then atrac3 thats sad.

-Neal

ha! that IS sad

SeaFox
Jul 8, 2004, 10:47 PM
down went beta

down will go atrac


The minidisc community feels the same way. With no backward compatability with Hi-MD in previous generation players, there was no reason for Sony to limit Hi-MD disks to ATRAC3+ format. The disc is nothing more than a portable storage medium now, and we're hoping Sony sees the light in a future version of Hi-MD.

nagromme
Jul 9, 2004, 09:18 AM
...I also recognize the fact that most customers are not engineers who will immediately whip out a calculator to examine an ad's claims.

Also, even when people DO realize the specs assume 48kbps... and even if they also know that other companies use 128... they may still believe that Sony's 48 sounds AS GOOD as other company's 128, due to outstanding Sony-only compression technology. That's exactly what I thought Sony was claiming, and I thought it WAS probably true since Sony's also in the business of selling music--and that needs quality. In essence, I was fooled, and I do keep abreast of these things! (Granted, I didn't look into the matter in detail as I would have if I were truly shopping.)

I had no idea that the music Sony sells (or imports from CD) is NOT 48 but rather 132. THAT'S the key factor. 48 sounds bad AND Sony knows it.

This is amazing to me. Sony could certainly hope to fool some consumers like this. But then they'd get home and NOT be able to fit that much music. Or they'd manually switch from 132 to 48 and hate the quality. Either way they'll be unhappy with the product very quickly. And reviewers/press are bound to SLAM such blatantly misleading claims. How could Sony hope to get away with this?

dvdh
Jul 9, 2004, 09:37 AM
I got a Maclean's mag monday and saw the Sony ad (for the 1Gb MD player) on the back and a huge '45 hours of music' claim smack in the middle and couldn't help myself from screaming bulls**t. Anyways, before I totally discounted them, I did the math as well as came out with the same AM radio quality 48 kbps. Never mind the 30 hour battery BS. I hope they get sued over that in the long run. It's an obvious attempt to 'pull the wool over the eyes of the consumer.'

Not that I didn't expect as much from Sony. I find there quality (with exception of some the high end imaging equipment) has been leaving a little to be desired considering its price point. And they seem to have learned nothing from the whole BETA thing.

Muzukun
Jul 9, 2004, 12:10 PM
either way I find it kind of odd that apple is out complaining about sony for this when they doctored their own tests when the G5 came out to make it appear that it was far greater then the competition.

I understand for both companies it's a form of advertising, and of course you want your product to look better then your competitor. Mind you I'm not saying the advertising of the G5 is to the same scale as sony's atrac3 dealy yet still, it does bother me.

As for sony that's just pathetic that they've had to resort to something like that. You have that much money and power and blah blah behind yourself and this is what you end up giving the public? Yeeshe... keeping away from them in the future...

SeaFox
Jul 9, 2004, 06:00 PM
I had no idea that the music Sony sells (or imports from CD) is NOT 48 but rather 132. THAT'S the key factor. 48 sounds bad AND Sony knows it.


Close. But that's not the whole story. You have to remember these are actually two variations of one format. The Sony Connect music store sells files in 132kbs ATRAC3, the capacity figures for Hi-MD are for 48kbs ATRAC3+. The importanat part being the to use the ATRAC3+ files (which come in three bitrates: 256, 66, and 48), you have to be using Hi-MD. ATRAC3 (no plus) can be used on the existing NetMD devices. They chose 132 not only for better quality, but to maintain backward compatability with the existing NetMD users.

There are some MD users who will not be upgrading to Hi-MD, at least not right now, because of the battery life being knocked so low from where they were used to (up to 84 hrs). Sony wants them to be in on their music store too, instead of perhaps going to Apple.

edit: on a side note I'll mention I have a free download from connect from a Big Mac I bought awhile back. Haven't used it because I don't want to set up an account on connect. I already have the software. But then I already buy and listen to music from the iTMS on my MD, getting involved with another store just seems redundant.

nagromme
Jul 9, 2004, 07:00 PM
I'm sure Sony had good reasons to choose 132--compatibility may be one of them. They should then have used the same in their specs.

To get to 48 you'd have to convert/double-compress... Ugh! (Not to mention that I find myself doubting that 48"+" is as good as 132. If it were, Sony ought to be yelling at Apple for lying!)

nuckinfutz
Jul 9, 2004, 07:27 PM
either way I find it kind of odd that apple is out complaining about sony for this when they doctored their own tests when the G5 came out to make it appear that it was far greater then the competition.

Doctored? Please explain. I'm not aware of any "doctoring" from Apple concerning the G5

SeaFox
Jul 10, 2004, 02:46 AM
I'm sure Sony had good reasons to choose 132--compatibility may be one of them. They should then have used the same in their specs.

To get to 48 you'd have to convert/double-compress... Ugh! (Not to mention that I find myself doubting that 48"+" is as good as 132. If it were, Sony ought to be yelling at Apple for lying!)

Yes, Ugh is exactly what I say when I have to double encode, taking my MP3's and converting them to ATRAC3 to use on MD.

Sony claims the 64 kbs ATRAC3+ (dubbed "Hi-LP") is as good as the 132kbs ATRAC3 (known as "LP2"), but nobody's really buying it. It sounds like the same marketing promise that 64kbs WMA is as good as 128 kbs MP3, or 64 kbs MP3Pro is the same, ect...