PDA

View Full Version : The Word on the Next iPod: Flash


MacBytes
Nov 11, 2004, 02:52 PM
Category: Apple Hardware
Link: The Word on the Next iPod: Flash (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20041111155259)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

wordmunger
Nov 11, 2004, 03:00 PM
Nice article, raises some excellent points. I, for one, wouldn't be interested in a Flash iPod. A flash PHOTO iPod, on the other hand -- especially one that accepted common types of photo flash cards, straight from the camera -- would be very cool.

Fender2112
Nov 11, 2004, 03:34 PM
My guess is that it will be at least 512MB, hopefully 1 GB, selling at $199. The $199 is the price point. Hopefully Apple will give us a great bang for the buck. An MP3 player any less expensive would not justify the crazy prices being charged for third party accessories. And the obvious name: iPod Flash.

shamino
Nov 11, 2004, 03:41 PM
This isn't the first I've heard about this rumor (and Steve's credibility when it comes to what Apple will "never" do isn't that strong these days :) ).

According to Think Secret (http://www.thinksecret.com/news/0410merrill.html), Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich predicts that a flash-based iPod is definitely somewhere in Apple's future. He anticipates something like $150 for a 256M device. (Other ThinkSecret sources cite capacities between 256M and 1G, and prices between $100 and $200.)

It should be noted that he predicted the iPod Photo in his analysis and that product (obviously) ended up beign real. So the flash player wouldn't surprise me either, even if it doesn't end up as a product for another 3-6 months.

FWIW, I could be interested in a flash-based iPod, but my minimum requirement for such a device would be 1G capacity for $100. I don't think that price point is likely. (If it costs much more than that, it becomes more economical to buy a mini for $250 or a full-size 20G iPod for $300.)

mainstreetmark
Nov 11, 2004, 03:43 PM
If it went for $99, everyone would have one, and they'd all eventually outgrow and upgrade.

shamino
Nov 11, 2004, 03:54 PM
My guess is that it will be at least 512MB, hopefully 1 GB, selling at $199. The $199 is the price point. Hopefully Apple will give us a great bang for the buck. An MP3 player any less expensive would not justify the crazy prices being charged for third party accessories. And the obvious name: iPod Flash.
According to Think Secret, you may get your wish. Their sources say 1G at $200 is a real possibility.

IMO, that's overpriced, since you can get a mini (with its 4G drive) for $250.

Unless, of course, that player is a really small sub-mini - that could justify the price. But they'd have to figure out a way to do it without losing the wheel-and-display interface that makes the iPod better than the competition. That wouldn't be easy. ... I wonder if you could make the click-wheel transparent and put it on top of the display or something...

IMO, 256M plus an SD card slot for $100 wouldn't be a bad idea. At 128Kbps encoding, 256M gives you about 4 hours of music which is enough for commuting and exercising, but not enough to get through a long road trip. But with an SD card slot, those who want to expand the capacity can do so using commonly-available 256M and 512M cards.

But since Apple is denying all rumors, your guess is as good as mine here.

palusami
Nov 11, 2004, 03:55 PM
makes sense. apple already has the hd based mp3 player market in its pocket. seems like a good source of addt'l revenue for the company.

dashiel
Nov 11, 2004, 03:57 PM
According to Think Secret, you may get your wish. Their sources say 1G at $200 is a real possibility.

IMO, that's overpriced, since you can get a mini (with its 4G drive) for $250.


of course that's what people said about the ipod and the ipod mini.

shadowfax
Nov 11, 2004, 04:18 PM
can someone explain how the iMac G5 is exactly what steve said he didn't want for the previous generation iMacs--grounded, monolithic, and less flexible piece of hardware?

the only thing monolithic about the iMac G5 is that it's all in one. and the only thing grounded about it is the stand, in contrast to the old FPiMac, that was grounded by its (rather monolithic) base. I suppose you could argue that this new iMac is less flexible in that it's missing that badass swivel arm, but it's also more flexible in that you can hang it on a wall or, infinitely better, one of those VESA arms, which is badass. what a stupid example, IMO. not that i don't agree with the point they made..

jbembe
Nov 11, 2004, 04:59 PM
I wonder if you could make the click-wheel transparent and put it on top of the display or something...


Touch screen display--- BRILLIANT!!!! (if it could work)

dejo
Nov 11, 2004, 05:10 PM
IMO, 256M plus an SD card slot for $100 wouldn't be a bad idea.

Oh no. You didn't go and mention a card slot in an iPod, did you? You're just asking for trouble. Especially when you say an SD slot. How long before someone insists it be a CF slot instead?

dstorey
Nov 11, 2004, 05:10 PM
can someone explain how the iMac G5 is exactly what steve said he didn't want for the previous generation iMacs--grounded, monolithic, and less flexible piece of hardware?


It's because he said that they wouldn't do an iMac with the guts behind the display like the other companies. This was because the cd and hd would be vertical (or at an angle when tilted) mounted and you lose performance. I think there was other reasons like not being as adjustable and maybe looking uglier having a big lump sticking out the back, but i forget now. I think the story was that Ive designed something like the new iMac and Jobs sent him back to the drawing board and showed him a sunflower in his garden...or something like that.

sworthy
Nov 11, 2004, 05:19 PM
Apple decidedly needs to get into the $150 range market. Remember though, market share is great, but not if it dilutes your brand. Apple needs to make enough money on these to make sense, while keeping quality high.

Flash memory will certainly be used in the future, if not now, especially due to its lower power consumption. I for one wouldn't bite until the capacity is much greater.

J-Squire
Nov 11, 2004, 05:20 PM
IMO, that's overpriced, since you can get a mini (with its 4G drive) for $250.


You could not have summed up Apple's strategy better. Apple will price these things $50 less than the mini, and people will undoubtedly question the value for money factor, as they did when the mini was released. But this is what Apple has to do. Apple has to make sure that only the people who can only afford an iPod Flash will buy one, as they would not have bought a mini before because of that extra $50. Hence they tap into a market that previously they did not have. But all those who would previously have bought a mini must still be given a reason to do so - better value. Otherwise a cheaper iPod Flash will cut into more expensive iPod mini sales.

shadowfax
Nov 11, 2004, 05:26 PM
It's because he said that they wouldn't do an iMac with the guts behind the display like the other companies. This was because the cd and hd would be vertical (or at an angle when tilted) mounted and you lose performance. I think there was other reasons like not being as adjustable and maybe looking uglier having a big lump sticking out the back, but i forget now. I think the story was that Ive designed something like the new iMac and Jobs sent him back to the drawing board and showed him a sunflower in his garden...or something like that. ?
the article doesn't say anything like that.

montex
Nov 11, 2004, 06:33 PM
A flash based iPod won't happen because such a device would not hold at least a thousand songs, and this has always been the cornerstone of the iPod.

Business week is trying to look cool by predicting the future of Apple products. I've witnessed Steve make a fool out of these guys before and I think we'll see it again (soon).

williamsonrg
Nov 11, 2004, 08:35 PM
?
the article doesn't say anything like that.


Most of his information (which I've heard too) is old news, that's why it's not in that specific article. Search around on here, especially when people were guessing what the iMac G5 would look like, and you can probably find sources. I remember that Jobs specifically said he didn't like the Gateway all-in-one because of the vertical optical drive, so people just assumed that no iMac would have one.

macridah
Nov 12, 2004, 12:10 AM
I'd probably buy one if the flash iPod had a 1GB capacity and cost a little over a 100 bucks. That would be cool for the gym and running. But when it comes to listening to tunes in the car or the coast to coast or even a overseas flight, you need variety .. 20+GB

aswitcher
Nov 12, 2004, 01:59 AM
I can see several mobile phones next year (nokia, motorola) supporting ACC and either having huge internal memory and/or expansion cards allowing us a Gig of memory in our phones. Thats the significant future for me for flash music players because everyone is getting phones, and like digital cameras (in phones out sell all other digital cameras) who ever wins the phone market for music support will have a big impact. Thats why I am happy Apple have their deal with Motorola.

nsb3000
Nov 12, 2004, 09:55 AM
I think you guys are all missing the point. There is no way apple will be able to keep the great iPod interface on anything smaller than the mini, so I donít think we are going to see any micro iPods, because they would be no better than the competition

What I do think is going to happen, and this explains the source of these rumors, is that the next revision of the Mini is going to be flash based, at the same 4 gig form factor. This way, all those Olympians out there can have an iPod that doesnít to skip (This runner has been using a 3g ipod while running with no problem for quite some time, but apparently some people have issues) . This would also make the device smaller and lighter, and I would imagine would give it longer battery life.

shamino
Nov 12, 2004, 10:07 AM
Oh no. You didn't go and mention a card slot in an iPod, did you? You're just asking for trouble. Especially when you say an SD slot. How long before someone insists it be a CF slot instead?
CF would be fine too, but you would have a hard time making it fit into a case the size of a mini (or smaller.)

The existing minis use a CF-based microdrive, directly attached by ribbon cables, and it's a tight fit. If you add in the guide-rails and ejector-button needed for a proper CF socket and it won't fit anymore.

Other large-size memory modules (like SmartMedia and MemoryStick) would have similar problems. The small-size modules (like SD and xD) could probably be made to fit. Of the two, SD is far more popular, and comes in larger capacities.

nagromme
Nov 12, 2004, 10:12 AM
I predict:

1. It will be a Mini. Maybe slightly thinner, but just a new capacity of Mini, along with HD Minis also offered.

2. 2 GB minimum (500 songs).

3. But not UNTIL it's financially workable for $199. Maybe in mass quantities that won't be TOO long. I don't know.

4. The HD Mini will get a bigger HD at the same time.

5. New colors too.

shamino
Nov 12, 2004, 10:19 AM
of course that's what people said about the ipod and the ipod mini.
You're right. And if they had simply sold a 4G iPod for $250 in the same size case as the bigger iPods, they wouldn't sell at all. Very few people will accept an 80% reduction in capacity for a 17% reduction in price.

It sells because Apple made a new form factor. The much smaller, colored, all-metal case adds a "cool" factor and makes it more convenient for some applications (like jogging) which offsets the otherwise problematic price/storage ratio.

Following this precedent, I don't think a flash player (at a price point of $200 for a 1G player) will sell in the existing mini form factor. People will not want to take a 75% reduction in capacity for a 20% reduction in price. The other price point rumored ($100 for 256M) is just as bad (93% reduction in capacity for a 60% reduction in price).

If, however, they move to a new form factor (smaller? Maybe, if possible) then they can create a "cool" factor that may make people willing to buy in at the higher price/storage ratio. Adding in features like a card slot or a radio tuner might also help add value to make the price point attractive.

shamino
Nov 12, 2004, 10:27 AM
I think you guys are all missing the point. There is no way apple will be able to keep the great iPod interface on anything smaller than the mini, so I donít think we are going to see any micro iPods, because they would be no better than the competition
Maybe, maybe not. I can think of several ways they could make it smaller:

Make the unit thinner
Invent a transparent wheel and put it over the display
Make a round display and embed it in the wheel
Replace the display with a touch-screen and make a virtual-wheel, so you can get rid of the physical one.

What I do think is going to happen, and this explains the source of these rumors, is that the next revision of the Mini is going to be flash based, at the same 4 gig form factor. This way, all those Olympians out there can have an iPod that doesnít to skip (This runner has been using a 3g ipod while running with no problem for quite some time, but apparently some people have issues) . This would also make the device smaller and lighter, and I would imagine would give it longer battery life.
4G of flash may end up costing more than the 4G hard drive they're using now. If they make such a unit cost more than the existing mini, I don't think people will buy in to it.

shamino
Nov 12, 2004, 03:43 PM
Since this hasn't appeared on the MacBytes main page yet....

http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=744

According to AppleInsider, Apple will be beginning to manufacture a flash-based player next month for release around January/February.

Not much specifics, unfortunately. The chipset chosen will support between 256M and 1G of flash (no word on what capacities will actually ship in the product) and the price point will be under $200. The user interface will be similar to existing iPod interfaces.

macridah
Nov 12, 2004, 03:56 PM
I had 2 friends today ask me for my advice on what MP3 player to get. I of course said iPod, but they said they didn't need that much space. So maybe there is a need for an iPod flash player that is smaller and doesn't have to have such a high storage capicity. But my 2 friends wouldn't be enough to complete a market survey ... but what a coincidence of this article coming out and my friends asking.