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Apr 12, 2001
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Taiwanese newspaper Apple Daily reported yesterday that ASUSTeK Computer Inc. has received an order to manufacture about 5 million iPods based on flash memory for delivery next year, with the deliveries beginning in the first quarter of 2005. The FOB (wholesale export) price is said to be $65.

Taiwan-based ASUSTeK is a major manufacturing company, capable of producing two million motherboards and 150,000 notebook computers each month, as well as SCSI cards, video cards, network cards, and other peripherals.

Note: The article is in Chinese.

See related stories Flash iPod Details? and Toshiba To Supply Apple With Flash Memory?
 

Freg3000

macrumors 68000
Sep 22, 2002
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$65 for the entire Flash iPod, or just the flash components of the Flash iPod? If Apple can make it for only 65 bucks, even with a 50% we still will have our $100 digital music player from Apple.

If not, I am still guessing $149.
 
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jimjiminyjim

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2003
436
12
Canada
Good ol' sherlock makes it readable. Sorta. Too bad they don't say what size flash memory will be in them.
 
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Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,859
57
swissmann said:
If it truly is $65 cost to Apple it will be interesting to see how much they mark it up.
Well Apple typically doesn't hit the market at a competitive price with the low-end -- more in line with the premium end of the market.

So we'll probably see them at the $149 or $199 price and @ 1-2GB.

Especially since it's doubtful that the $65 is the end price Apple is paying after shipping, marketing, and R&D are factored in. :(

Most other companies would eat those front end costs to get a foothold, and I don't see Apple doing that.
 
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Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,859
57
johnbro23 said:
You think 2 GB? I thought people were saying that 2 gigs of flash would be way to expensive for an iPod.
Don't think they'll hit 2GB, but the 512MB is a bit unlike Apple since that seems to be where some of the $99-$149 players are.

Plus they tend to make huge aggressive moves at times, and offering a 1-2GB Flash iPod for the price of some of the Flash drive only units would be a typical Steve Jobs move. ;)

Plus it would tend to tie up the 1-2GB Flash modules other would need to compete against Apple. Apple tried this trick with the iPods and the iPod minis.

Edit: Don't think they'll top out with a 2GB flash iPod for $199 and a 1GB for $149, but it's almost something you would expect them to do.
 
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Trowaman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2003
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Are we sure motorolla has nothing to do with this one? Forgive me, I'm remaining stead fast with my assumption that the flash pod and the iPhone are 1 and the same where the iPhone will hold a 1 GB flash card that can hold your music.
 
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slipper

macrumors 68000
Nov 19, 2003
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i dont know quality wise, but i know a lot of Asustek products just plain suck. If Asustek has decent quality, i wouldnt worry because Apple would be designing the interface.
 
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virus1

macrumors 65816
Jun 24, 2004
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Doctor Q said:
Apple likes to offer the quality choice in a market. So I expect their new low-end (for Apple) iPod to be the high end of the flash market.

True.. But it really depends. Apple wants to hit the market where it is in the most need. And that would be at about 1GB. 250 songs. Not too bad if its for $150, and has the class and style of an ipod.
 
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junior

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2003
540
51
Trowaman said:
Are we sure motorolla has nothing to do with this one? Forgive me, I'm remaining stead fast with my assumption that the flash pod and the iPhone are 1 and the same where the iPhone will hold a 1 GB flash card that can hold your music.

I think Apple wants a chunk of the flash player market. They won't get that with a mobile phone. Plus, it's alreaedy been stated that the phone being developed would be like an accessory to the ipod.
 
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Nermal

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Dec 7, 2002
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slipper said:
i dont know quality wise, but i know a lot of Asustek products just plain suck. If Asustek has decent quality, i wouldnt worry because Apple would be designing the interface.

Their cheaper products can be pretty bad, but their more expensive stuff is good (I once bought a $450 motherboard from them and it was excellent).
 
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Yvan256

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Jul 5, 2004
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Doctor Q said:
Apple likes to offer the quality choice in a market. So I expect their new low-end (for Apple) iPod to be the high end of the flash market.

Nope, when they introduced the iPod mini, it was exactly to compete with the high-end flash players.

My guess is that a iPod mini Flash would compete with at least the middle-end flash players. That means 129~149$US for 1GB, IMO.
 
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Yvan256

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Jul 5, 2004
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junior said:
I think Apple wants a chunk of the flash player market. They won't get that with a mobile phone. Plus, it's alreaedy been stated that the phone being developed would be like an accessory to the ipod.

And also, Steve said "wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen songs with you on your phone", which implies around 64MB for the "iPhone".

No way Apple would come out with a 64MB iPod mini Flash, after Steve himself ridiculed the other flash players for not having enough storage capacity (was around 128-256MB at the time).

I could see the iPod mini Flash being 1GB, but not 2GB... But if it's 2GB, then I won't complain. :D
 
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PPC970FX

macrumors member
Mar 1, 2004
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Yvan256 said:
I could see the iPod mini Flash being 1GB, but not 2GB... But if it's 2GB, then I won't complain. :D

Well the price is going to show that it is a 2GB chip. And then you will complain :p
 
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hob

macrumors 68010
Oct 4, 2003
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London, UK
Yvan256 said:
And also, Steve said "wouldn't it be great if you could take a dozen songs with you on your phone", which implies around 64MB for the "iPhone".

I'm still holding out hope that this flash memory stuff is all for the iPhone. My answer to steve is: "No!" I don't want a dozen songs on my phone. He changes positions more time than a student of the karma sutra. When the iPod was first annoucned he was all like "flash memory - yuk! who wants only 20 songs?" well certainly not me. I'd like a coupla gigs for my phone pod please :D

Hob
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
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Sun Baked said:
Most other companies would eat those front end costs to get a foothold, and I don't see Apple doing that.
I don't think Apple will be eating any costs: they already HAVE a foothold. (The market's not going to think, "iPods are the best and easiest HD players... but I just don't trust them yet with flash storage.")


Doctor Q said:
Apple likes to offer the quality choice in a market. So I expect their new low-end (for Apple) iPod to be the high end of the flash market.
Agreed. I'd be amazed to see less than 500 songs. Floored to see less than 250!

BTW, if you have full AAC quality (I know HE AAC is a question mark), then:

4 GB = 1000 songs
2 GB = 500 songs
1 GB = 250 songs
512 MB = 125 songs
256 MB = 62 songs
128 MB = 31 songs
64 MB = 15 songs (one CD!)
32 MB = 8 songs (not even! Better drop the quality!)

You can see why Apple would never want to touch the bottom of the market. Most people buying a low-capacity player will be disappointed. Apple wants most of its users to actually USE the thing, I'm sure. They have a usability standard that other companies ignore to make a quick sale. Short-sighted. (Yes, SOME people would be fine with, say, 60 songs--but they're the minority. The people disappointed by their 60-song iPod would oughtweight that unless Apple can offer a VERY low price AND some very clear marketing to make clear that this is NOT an iPod in the usual sense. Maybe "iPod Mediocre" or something :) )

I've actually gotten Xmas junk mail advertising 32 MB MP3 players :eek:
 
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Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
When memory space is tight, companies can choose to play with the numbers by recommending (or simply assuming) a higher compression factor. This very likely corresponds to a lesser sound quality.

Might Apple simply assume higher compression to claim more songs on an iPod micro than they would otherwise claim?

Suppose Apple came up with a new audio compression algorithm that makes tunes smaller than ever before, with only a "slight" further loss of quality. Might Apple boost the advertised number of songs on an iPod micro compared to their calculations for the bigger iPods? Or might they increase their advertised song capacity for all iPods, to get an advantage over competitors who deal with the same capacities?

And, if they did either of these, would the press and consumers call them on it? Would sheep-like consumers listen to the ads, and believe the numbers even if they are "comparing apples and oranges"?

My guess: Apple won't do this.
 
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Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
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nagromme said:
Agreed. I'd be amazed to see less than 500 songs. Floored to see less than 250!

BTW, if you have full AAC quality (I know HE AAC is a question mark), then:

5 GB = 1250 songs
4 GB = 1000 songs
2 GB = 500 songs
1 GB = 250 songs
512 MB = 125 songs
256 MB = 62 songs
128 MB = 31 songs
64 MB = 15 songs (one CD!)
32 MB = 8 songs (not even! Better drop the quality!)

(Note: I've added 5GB in your list, in prevision of the update to the iPod mini)

I'd easily see the iPod micro with 250 songs. After all, 250 songs is still a bit more than 16 full albums (if you count 15 songs per CD). And last time I checked, 16 full albums is still a lot!

Keep in mind that even the iPod mini isn't meant to carry around your whole library (unless you don't have many CDs). Also, a flash player would be perfect for sports, etc. Who needs more than 16 CDs when working out or going on a bike ride?

And if you really need to wow the crowd, just put the iPod micro next to a portable CD player and a stack of 16 CDs. :cool:

(well, not as impressive as putting the iPod Photo 60GB next to a portable CD player and a stack of ... er... 1000 CDs. Ouch) :eek:


nagromme said:
[...] The people disappointed by their 60-song iPod would oughtweight that unless Apple can offer a VERY low price AND some very clear marketing to make clear that this is NOT an iPod in the usual sense. Maybe "iPod Mediocre" or something :)

Well, "iPod micro" doesn't imply something big (quite the opposite). They already have the "iPod mini", I can't see a better name than "iPod micro" for the Flash version:

- iPod (hey, I know this one!)
- iPod mini (hey, that's a mini iPod!)
- iPod micro (wow, that's gotta be a way small iPod!)
 
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Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,052
930
Canada
Doctor Q said:
[...]

Might Apple simply assume higher compression to claim more songs on an iPod micro than they would otherwise claim?

Suppose Apple came up with a new audio compression algorithm that makes tunes smaller than ever before, with only a "slight" further loss of quality. Might Apple boost the advertised number of songs on an iPod micro compared to their calculations for the bigger iPods? Or might they increase their advertised song capacity for all iPods, to get an advantage over competitors who deal with the same capacities?

[...]

My guess: Apple won't do this.

Well, they already sort of did it.

When they introduced the iPod, I think it could only play MP3s. And they stated the capacity with 128kbps CD-Quality MP3 songs.

Then they introduced AAC. And kept measuring the capacity with 128kbps CD-Quality AAC songs. But now, if you look at their pages, "CD-Quality MP3" needs to be 160kbps.

They will officially introduce H.264 to the public (last time was for programmers). They will also introduce HE-AAC, and I'd bet they'll all "upgrade" the capacities of all iPods. The iPod micro could really use this (going from 128kbps to 80kbps does equal 1.6 times the capacity), but all iPods could use this too (against the competition). That would leave a big question mark on the iTMS though... So that's why I'm not actually betting. :)

Then, when Microsoft introduces "low-bitrate WMA", we'll have the last laugh, because WMA can't even compete at 128kbps (imagine 80kbps, or even lower if Microsoft thinks it can pull another "consumers are dumb and never really compare their options" stunt).
 
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mrgreen4242

macrumors 601
Feb 10, 2004
4,369
6
Well I still think that 2 players, a 512MB and a 1GB are the likely first gen flashPods. If they have an SD or CF expansion slot, a smaller than iPod mini form factor, and have the iPods excellent interface they do very well (if priced under $200... $149 for 512MB and $179 for 1gb). There could also be some excellent profits to be made form selling Apple branded expansion cards at a nice markup. Maybe do 'exclusive' content card, sort of like what was done with the iPod U2... sell a 512MB or 1GB card preloaded with an album that is not yet available any other way... along with some band themed color and labeling on the car.d

Anyways, if a flash player isn't significantly smaller than the mini there really isn't much point to it, as the mini would be about the same cost, when you figure in at least one flash card upgrade.

My other thought was that if it were to be much smaller than the mini it might be a winning design to put a USB 2.0 adaptor right on the player. Have it slide/fold in and out or something to make it compact, but yo ucould use it as a USB flash drive without carrying around any extra cables, etc. Would also be a distiguishing feature (no other player I've seen has a built in USB plug), and keep it from being not quite as 'cool' as the regular iPods (no firewire support, only USB 2.0). You really wouldn't NEED firewire for only 1GB anyways, USB2.0 would do...
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Yvan256 said:
After all, 250 songs is still a bit more than 16 full albums (if you count 15 songs per CD).
That's true, and 250 is the lowest I can possibly imagine Apple stooping to. But there's another side to capacity: ease of use. The less your player holds, the more labor you must do to keep it fed. More work organizing playlists, more work dumping old music and loading new, more work just THINKING about it. Higher capacity means less effort, less time, less to think about.

I decided that a 4GB Mini would be enough music to be useful to me, and I spent time coming up with a playlist system to make it pretty easy (after some up-front effort). If the Photo hadn't come along, I'd get a Mini. Less music than that? Still useful--but too much work! Both issues must factor into Apple's usability standard. (I know iTunes automates loading a smaller player--but I wasn't happy with how it did so until I made my own Smart Playlist system for that.) Again, I'm not saying low-capacity is wrong for everyone (the common forum habit, "everyone wants what I want!"), but only that it risks being wrong for MANY of its buyers. Many would buy on price and then be disappointed. Apple wouldn't want that for their brand.


Yvan256 said:
Then they introduced AAC. And kept measuring the capacity with 128kbps CD-Quality AAC songs. But now, if you look at their pages, "CD-Quality MP3" needs to be 160kbps.

Just to clarify--Apple didn't ever recommend 128 with MP3. Other companies did, it was the standard for player specs--but Apple always said 160, which was commendable. And it's fair that Apple now measures with 128, because AAC is better quality than MP3.

Back when iTunes used MP3 by default (pre-AAC), the original iPod was loaded by default at 160. Which is why it was 5GB and held 1000 songs, same as the 4GB Mini holds now.

But now, with AAC, that same quality needs only 128. So when Apple now says 160, they are referring SPECIFICALLY to MP3, which is still an option on iPod. But the default is AAC now, and Apple recommends 128 for that.

So it's not really the same as when companies say you can fit twice as many songs by going from 192 MP3 to 96, say. Because that's a loss of quality.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
mrgreen4242 said:
Anyways, if a flash player isn't significantly smaller than the mini there really isn't much point to it, as the mini would be about the same cost, when you figure in at least one flash card upgrade.

I've always expected the flash iPod would just be the smallest capacity of iPod Mini. Same size and case, just thinner and cheaper. I also wouldn't be surprised if no such animal appears in January. It seems to soon to be cost-effective vs. the Mini, as you say.

But if something DOES appear soon, it may be surprisingly different from current iPods. I can't think of a GOOD solution for flash right NOW (cost for nice capacity is too high), but maybe Apple's thinking in some totally other direction.

Like AirTunes. That makes good sense looking back, but it wasn't what people widely expected from Apple.

(Or like the original iPod... definitely NOT what people thought Apple should be doing :D )
 
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cubist

macrumors 68020
Jul 4, 2002
2,075
0
Muncie, Indiana
I would imagine that the iPhone would require you to pick a special playlist.

But what happens today if you have too many songs in your iTunes library for your iPod? Does it ask you which playlists to leave off? Is there a way to not sync certain songs to the iPod?
 
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