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View Full Version : 4G iPod? Yes. Why Apple did it right.


michaelrjohnson
Jul 21, 2004, 11:11 AM
This is something that I have been wanting to mention for a while, but have not found the proper existing thread to post. So here I am! ;)

I wanted to explore the 4G iPod and it's significance in the market. I feel that the significance of this iPod goes beyond the changes in it's physical form since the previous generation. Despite the exclusion of buttons (and 1mm of thickness) there is very little new to the appearance of the iPod. There are some who feel that the 4G iPod is nothing more than a 3.5G iPod. Naturally, ;) I would disagree. The significance of this upgrade is Apple's understanding of market dynamics in the following areas: product simplicity, brand recognition/loyalty, and average product lifespan.

Firstly, the removal of the buttons. Not only did the buttons pose some curious issues for ergonomics and one-handed operation, they were visually distracting from the design of the iPod overall. They always seemed out-of-place. By removing them, they revisited the design of the now nostalgic 1G and 2G iPods. The new design will enhance usability (though I am somewhat skeptical as to the lifespan of the Click Wheel). The simpler the product (with equal power) will attract a larger audience; and Apple knows this.

Secondly, brand recognition/loyalty. Apple and HP announced the other day that the delay in the unveiling of the "hPod" was due to the fact that they would wait for 4G instead of continuing to produce the 3G as the hPod. (which is contratry to what I had suspected, but that is a different story) Apple has created an amazing amound of brand/product recognition for the iPod. However, many first-timers are unsure about Apple, and this device. By licensing it to HP, Apple now has an entirely new revenue stream and an entirely new set of loyal customers. HP has an incredible brand loyalty in my experience.

Finally, and *most* importantly is Apple's consideration of average product lifespan. We Mac-heads are used to Apple reinventing the wheel every 6-12months. For a product like the iPod, this cannot be. Apple has taken a break, and has decided the rest of the industry catch up... not with competing products, but with accessories. Accessories drive iPod sales as well. They add features that Apple did not include, but moreover, make the iPod more usable on a day-to-day basis (i.e. iTrip, Belkin's Battery Pack, a variety of software apps, and a plethora of cases). Each of these additional items make the iPod easier to add to one's lifestyle, and each of those items takes time. They take time to design, manufacture, advertise, ship, etc. When Apple jumped from 1/2G to 3G, the existing peripherals didn't make the jump too. That was a problem. However, with this full generation jump, existing peripherals will still work. That is a *huge* statement to those on the fence about buying a new one, or buying one for the first time. Older peripherals will work, newer ones will come... faster this time. It's a win-win situation for Apple and the iPod.

Thoughts?

Sharewaredemon
Jul 21, 2004, 11:26 AM
Your thoughts are well put, the other thing apple has done with their ipod line is simplified the ipod to choose from (3 to 2) and well as made them even more affordable. I bought a 15 gb 3g, a year and a month ago, and I paid 590 canadian, now I can get 40 gbs! for the same price, that is really good for a year. I can't wait to get a new iPod when my warrenty on this one runs out.

I was also wondering your thoughts of how the applecare will replace my ipod should something happen to it say in may of next year, Do you think I will get a 4g one, or will they still have 3g kicking around?

FightTheFuture
Jul 21, 2004, 12:37 PM
i'm also impressed by your input regarding the supported peripherals. the expanded use of the ipod will always be worth using. as a narrow minded consumer though - i'm fixated with the mini - and when a new generation of minis comes about - be it only at 6,8, or 10 gigs - i'm sold. the 3rd gen ipods are very small - but they still dont hold a candle to how great the minis look and feel.

michaelrjohnson
Jul 21, 2004, 06:46 PM
Your thoughts are well put, the other thing apple has done with their ipod line is simplified the ipod to choose from (3 to 2) and well as made them even more affordable. I bought a 15 gb 3g, a year and a month ago, and I paid 590 canadian, now I can get 40 gbs! for the same price, that is really good for a year. I can't wait to get a new iPod when my warrenty on this one runs out.

I was also wondering your thoughts of how the applecare will replace my ipod should something happen to it say in may of next year, Do you think I will get a 4g one, or will they still have 3g kicking around?

I have to wonder how long Apple will continue with the same "form factor". It seems efficient enough for it's purposes, so I don't know how far they'll stray from the current design... at that, I still think you'll see very similar iPods within a year.. but that's a just a guess. :)

aswitcher
Jul 21, 2004, 06:53 PM
I have to wonder how long Apple will continue with the same "form factor". It seems efficient enough for it's purposes, so I don't know how far they'll stray from the current design... at that, I still think you'll see very similar iPods within a year.. but that's a just a guess. :)


Yeah for 3rd party they need to keep the new 4G form factor around for at least a couple of years.

I half expect to see limited releases of metallic shell versions like the minis down the track when sales slow or maybe for Christmas. EVen if they just did silver (the most popular of the minis) I think they would sell very well versus the white plastic.

PlaceofDis
Jul 21, 2004, 07:10 PM
well what is good about the 4G is that most if not all of the accessories will continue to work from the 3G, the skins and other holders might not, but its good to know that when you decide to get a new iPod you dont have to update all of your accessories for it either

mkrishnan
Jul 21, 2004, 07:44 PM
I totally agree with one big caveat: isn't this the same pattern of development with Palm, during which they were praised in the beginning for having the "keep it simple" device which was most practical for users, and WinCE devices were decried as ineffectual? Right now, the majority of users clearly will live without the other stuff that the iPod's competition has. But if they keep hammering blindly and turning up the power of the hardware backing it up, eventually they are going to hit pay-dirt.

Apple's challenge all along has been to avoid being pushed out of the mature market. Palm isn't exactly defunct, but they're almost conceding the handheld market. Maybe it'll work for them as smartphones crowd out handhelds (I personally hope so), but in any event, I wouldn't underestimate the long-term danger of the muscle behind the devices the PC market favors, if Apple doesn't keep thinking of significant improvements to the platform....

7on
Jul 21, 2004, 09:35 PM
Damn my 2G 10gigger and it's longevity. :(
I just passed half full too... so i still have a long time left. It's like my only digital device w/o a dock. Even my camera has a dock! Oh well...

ethernet76
Jul 21, 2004, 09:48 PM
Your thoughts are well put, the other thing apple has done with their ipod line is simplified the ipod to choose from (3 to 2) and well as made them even more affordable. I bought a 15 gb 3g, a year and a month ago, and I paid 590 canadian, now I can get 40 gbs! for the same price, that is really good for a year. I can't wait to get a new iPod when my warrenty on this one runs out.

I was also wondering your thoughts of how the applecare will replace my ipod should something happen to it say in may of next year, Do you think I will get a 4g one, or will they still have 3g kicking around?

This summer they replaced my gen 1 with a gen 1. You'll get exactly what you have.

If you get it at CompUSA, they'll replace it with whatever is the same price at the time.

IE if you bought a 10 gig last november, you'd probably get a 20 gig gen4 if you took it in in august

Sharewaredemon
Jul 21, 2004, 10:08 PM
Thanks

nuts :( oh well hopefully there will be a generation 5 ipod sometime next sumemr and I can buy that.

Earl Urly
Jul 22, 2004, 09:58 AM
I picked one up, the el cheapo (as if anything at $299 is cheap!) 20 GB model. It came with about a 75% charge and a CD that has the same 7-15-04 update on it. Immediately synced it and charged it overnight. Took it to work with me, had it play for about two hours. put it on a USB 2 powered hub and it takes two hours to charge back to full.. humph. Updated battery code my a**.

Other than learning how to fast forward in the track all over again, pretty much the same experience as my belated 3G that I sold for a l33t 120 GB HD way back when.

There are now four games in Extras.. my favorite is Parachute.. there must be some old timers in the iPod programmers bullpen as the game is almost an exact steal from the old Apple II game called Sabotage right down to shooting out the parachutes from the hapless troops..

orbital~debris
Jul 22, 2004, 10:28 AM
This URL might help with getting an understanding as to how Lithium-Ion batteries work. The link below will take you to a page on Apple.com which refers to iPod batteries and gives tips for better usage & proper charge cycle information, etc.
(there's also a page for PowerBook & iBook battery info)

Apple Batteries Page (http://www.apple.com/batteries/ipods.html)

Oh, and Apple are making good use of integration again - they provide a downloadable iCal event to regularly remind you to charge/discharge your iPod! :cool: