Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

retta283

Cancelled
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,894
Victoria, British Columbia
Seeing that old trends and popular items sometimes come back, do you think that standalone MP3 players have a chance of revival? I remember just before the smartphone emerged, many said they would not like having their phone be their music player. Most of these fell in line later on though. But to this day, a few still hold out and continue to use dedicated players.

If I were Apple, I would bring back the 2nd or 4th gen Shuffle, give it a bunch of cool colors and sell it for $29. I think that having a small dedicated player with a fashionable look would be a decent seller, and if marketed well it could be successful.
 

iChernov

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2013
822
1,230
Munich, Germany
I don't think so :(
Everyone is using streaming services in way-more-multifunctional smartphones... There is also a small market of hi-res audio specialized players for audiophiles, but iPod doesn't belong there either. Apple killed mp3-players when it introduced iPhone...
 
  • Like
Reactions: elf69 and Elitegate

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
1,367
3,423
Chicago
"many said they would not like having their phone be their music player."
Really? I cant remember many people wanting to hang onto multiple devices. I remember wishing my phone was also my iPod so I only needed one thing in my pocket. Unless there is some tectonic shift in technology I can't see why they would go back to stand alone music devices.
 

retta283

Cancelled
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,894
Victoria, British Columbia
"many said they would not like having their phone be their music player."
Really? I cant remember many people wanting to hang onto multiple devices. I remember wishing my phone was also my iPod so I only needed one thing in my pocket. Unless there is some tectonic shift in technology I can't see why they would go back to stand alone music devices.
I was surprised to see how many shared that sentiment as I've looked back through the iPod forum. Even up to 2009/10 people were holding onto that.

These are the main reasons to have a standalone device:
Saves battery on phone for other things
Saves storage on phone for other things
Lighter and smaller than all modern smartphones
More durable
Easier to use than a touch screen when not looking at it
Not connected to Internet, can be nice to have a device that is not connected sometimes

I can definitely see why you'd want to have everything in one device, the same argument applies to digital cameras. I personally love having multiple devices, partially because I collect them but also because I find they perform their individual tasks better, even if it is more stuff to carry.
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
1,367
3,423
Chicago
I was surprised to see how many shared that sentiment as I've looked back through the iPod forum. Even up to 2009/10 people were holding onto that.

These are the main reasons to have a standalone device:
Saves battery on phone for other things
Saves storage on phone for other things
Lighter and smaller than all modern smartphones
More durable
Easier to use than a touch screen when not looking at it
Not connected to Internet, can be nice to have a device that is not connected sometimes

I can definitely see why you'd want to have everything in one device, the same argument applies to digital cameras. I personally love having multiple devices, partially because I collect them but also because I find they perform their individual tasks better, even if it is more stuff to carry.
That's fair, I guess it comes down to everyone's different use case.
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,442
906
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
10 years is a long time for someone's stance to have changed.

I don't think it'll happen either. The only reason they were successful to begin with is because a generation of people had already become accustomed to using the internet to download music, load it into a program, and burn it to a blank CD and/or just play it out the computer's speakers.

It was "magical and easy" because it solved the current problem of having to buy blank CDs and carry CD cases around.

But it's still a device that depends on another device to manage its contents whereas the retro stuff that has come back are just devices you stick vinyl/cassettes/cartridges/film into.
 

Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
7,255
3,708
Here
As much as I love the iPod (including the new iPod touch), I don't think Apple will ever be back in production by Apple. I do think audio players will continue to have a niche market filled by companies like FiiO who focus on lossless playback.

Heck, even being a music enthusiast, I realize that buying an iPod touch for music was pure luxury and excess. So the 99% of all other users will be completely happy with their phones. In truth, an iPhone + DND would work, but I just get personal satisfaction from having a separate audio player.
 

revmacian

macrumors 68000
Oct 20, 2018
1,745
1,461
USA
I don’t think MP3 players will make a huge comeback, if any at all. Let’s face facts, most people like “easy” and “comfortable” over everything else and having to deal with multiple devices goes against ease and comfort when a single device can handle the same set of tasks.

I still think that someone had the idea to take an iPod, throw in a microphone and speaker, add some code, and turn the iPod into the iPhone. The first iPod Touch and the first iPhone are amazingly similar in appearance.
 

matt_and_187_like_this

macrumors 6502
Dec 8, 2015
380
1,104
I really like the idea of a iPod shuffle type player (the square one that can be attached to clothes) with no screen, which can be setup with iPhone, downloads Playlists from Apple Music/Spotify automatically and has bluetooth for wireless headphones.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scepticalscribe

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,482
9,998
Detroit
No, not like they used to be.

Dedicated DAP's are still around and very nice, but can also be expensive. Usually, the audiophile types are the ones to still buy and use DAP's these days. I have a decent Pioneer XDP-300R that I like to use, but it was almost $500. That's dirt cheap compared to some models by Astell & Kern, though.

@Scepticalscribe may have some thoughts on this topic, too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scepticalscribe

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,482
9,998
Detroit
I have been very seriously considering getting an MP3 player to leave connected in my car.

Owning my own music and listening to it offline > streaming services
I just use a USB flash drive and I dump all the music I want to hear in the car on it. A bit less expensive than an MP3 player and it works just as well for me. Plus I can put FLAC on it for high quality content.
 

2984839

Cancelled
Apr 19, 2014
2,114
2,215
I just use a USB flash drive and I dump all the music I want to hear in the car on it. A bit less expensive than an MP3 player and it works just as well for me. Plus I can put FLAC on it for high quality content.

I'd do that if my car had USB ports, but it doesn't (2006 M3). Right now I use my iPhone plugged into the built in iPod cable via a Lightning adapter. It works, but it kind of sucks, and I have nothing if I lose my data connection. I've thought about just getting an iPod and leaving it plugged into that cable with my music collection on it, but the cost is just not worth it when what I have works.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Ivy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
55,657
39,142
The Far Horizon
Seeing that old trends and popular items sometimes come back, do you think that standalone MP3 players have a chance of revival? I remember just before the smartphone emerged, many said they would not like having their phone be their music player. Most of these fell in line later on though. But to this day, a few still hold out and continue to use dedicated players.

If I were Apple, I would bring back the 2nd or 4th gen Shuffle, give it a bunch of cool colors and sell it for $29. I think that having a small dedicated player with a fashionable look would be a decent seller, and if marketed well it could be successful.

No, unfortunately not, except for dedicated audiophiles who will always want a dedicated music player (and I count myself among their number).

However, this is a most interesting and thought-provoking post, and I suspect that you could well have a point re iPod shuffles; indeed, even if they were priced at $50, or &70, I could still see them sell well.

I don't think so :(
Everyone is using streaming services in way-more-multifunctional smartphones... There is also a small market of hi-res audio specialized players for audiophiles, but iPod doesn't belong there either. Apple killed mp3-players when it introduced iPhone...

Not everyone.

Perhaps almost everyone, but not everyone.

I was surprised to see how many shared that sentiment as I've looked back through the iPod forum. Even up to 2009/10 people were holding onto that.

These are the main reasons to have a standalone device:
Saves battery on phone for other things
Saves storage on phone for other things
Lighter and smaller than all modern smartphones
More durable
Easier to use than a touch screen when not looking at it
Not connected to Internet, can be nice to have a device that is not connected sometimes

I can definitely see why you'd want to have everything in one device, the same argument applies to digital cameras. I personally love having multiple devices, partially because I collect them but also because I find they perform their individual tasks better, even if it is more stuff to carry.

Actually, I agree with you.

I think that individually specialised devices can handle different tasks a bit better (sometimes, a good bit better) than a device designed to do everything.

And, no, even though I (finally) switched to a smart phone only last year (and with considerable reluctance), I will never use a smart phone to store my music. Actually (a whispered heresy, I don't really like iPhones, not even my iPhone SE).

I am one of those who has always had a dedicated device with which to play music, and I still mourn the passing of the iPod classic, which I loved.

As much as I love the iPod (including the new iPod touch), I don't think Apple will ever be back in production by Apple. I do think audio players will continue to have a niche market filled by companies like FiiO who focus on lossless playback.

Heck, even being a music enthusiast, I realize that buying an iPod touch for music was pure luxury and excess. So the 99% of all other users will be completely happy with their phones. In truth, an iPhone + DND would work, but I just get personal satisfaction from having a separate audio player.

Well said.

As do I.

No, not like they used to be.

Dedicated DAP's are still around and very nice, but can also be expensive. Usually, the audiophile types are the ones to still buy and use DAP's these days. I have a decent Pioneer XDP-300R that I like to use, but it was almost $500. That's dirt cheap compared to some models by Astell & Kern, though.

@Scepticalscribe may have some thoughts on this topic, too.

I do have some thoughts on the topic, and thanks for tagging me.

I came to - arrived at - Apple - in common with many others at that time - through what the marketing people describe as "the halo effect" of the iPod; in other words, I bought an iPod - and was still using Windows computers (a Toshiba and a Sony in those days); iTunes was a revelation - even on a Windows machine, and the iPod classic was especially wonderful if you worked abroad for months at a time (as I did).

Moreover, at that time, Apple's customer service and consumer care was superb; over time, the HDD failed on two of those iPod classics, and were immediately replaced without a murmur or seeking refuge in contractual small print, as both were still under warranty when they died.

All of this impressed me, and contributed to my decision to "switch" to the Apple universe, and I bought a MBP in 2008.

The subsequent appearance of the MBA - I cannot be the only person who was completely bowled over when the late Steve Jobs removed the original MBA from an A4 envelope - was merely the icing on the cake of my conversion to the world of Apple.

However things change, and my own needs are no longer being met by Apple to the same extent.

Personally, I profoundly regret the fact that the iPod classic has been discontinued; I loved the idea of a dedicated music device, and the iPod Touch is not the same as the classic (for example, I don't want or need, internet connectivity on an mp3 player).

Moreover, I dislike Apple's rentier model, and the emphasis on the iCloud.

In fact, in recent years, iTunes - from having worked flawlessly, easily and seamlessly - has become a real pain to use.

Thus, in 2014, accepting (with reluctance) that Apple was serious about discontinuing the iPod classic, and the whole idea of even including a dedicated music player in its line-up - and, to my mind, this isn't just about technology, it is also about a new and utterly transformational rentier model for the consumption (and creation) of music, one which I dislike intensely - I embarked upon some research for what mp3 players exist in the wake of Apple's departure from this (perhaps shrinking, but still discerning) segment of the music consumption market, as I am one of those who still wants a dedicated music player.

A high end audio store recommended A&K, (Astell & Kern) and very kindly offered to give me the personal model of the manager (the old A&K 120) - with his full approval - to take home and try out for a week or so to see whether I liked it. They even went to the trouble of putting on some of the music that I liked from my computer onto the A&K 120, so that I could actually enjoy it, rather than the heavy rock which was the manager's own personal preference.

Yes, the transfer of music was not quite as seamless as the old (and much lamented, and deeply regretted ) iTunes - have I mentioned how awful the modern iTunes is by way of comparison? - but the device itself was superb.

Several generations later, last year, I treated myself to the just displaced (or superseded, superseded this autumn, 2019) flagship device the A&K SP1000 Ultima, which is a superb, beautifully constructed device.

So, for mp3 players, I have already moved away - migrated - from Apple.

This trend will continue - as, when funds permit, I intend to purchase a Ruark radio or two; I never liked Apple's EarPods, and always used something better - for preference, these days, (and for almost a decade), I have used B&W (Bowers and Wilkins) headphones.


I have been very seriously considering getting an MP3 player to leave connected in my car.

Owning my own music and listening to it offline > streaming services

Agree completely about the importance of "owning" one's own music; I don't stream (or download) music for that very reason - rather, I still buy CDs, in vast quantities.
 
Last edited:

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,482
9,998
Detroit
I'd do that if my car had USB ports, but it doesn't (2006 M3). Right now I use my iPhone plugged into the built in iPod cable via a Lightning adapter. It works, but it kind of sucks, and I have nothing if I lose my data connection. I've thought about just getting an iPod and leaving it plugged into that cable with my music collection on it, but the cost is just not worth it when what I have works.
Ahh, ok. I get it.

I did use an iPod Classic for years with my 2003 F-150 with an aftermarket head unit. I left the iPod in the glove box for a long time and it worked well that way for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scepticalscribe

retta283

Cancelled
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,894
Victoria, British Columbia
I don't like streaming music, I've built up a CD collection for almost 3 decades for a reason. I do buy songs on iTunes sometimes, but the file becomes yours, and the DRM has never been an issue for me with the current store system. It's easy enough to remove the DRM anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scepticalscribe

Slix

macrumors 65816
Mar 24, 2010
1,215
1,459
I highly doubt they'll be popular again. There has been a strange shift in wanting larger, but more diverse, mobile devices over the past few years especially. If you carry an iPhone SE for example, many people will comment how it's "so tiny!", despite doing everything that bigger phones can. Similarly, if you carry a dedicated music player (especially an older iPod, like I often do), people act like it's ancient technology.

People don't like to own their music anymore, they want to rent it, which is really sad because in 10 years there might be no way to see what songs you liked or listened to 10 years ago. It could very well be all temporary, and streaming services could change or disappear. I like having a record of all of it and a copy of all of it.

I also think the iOS Music app has dramatically gotten worse starting in iOS 7, so even using an iPhone or newer iPod touch for music isn't as good as using an older dedicated device.

@retta283 I've gotten lots of music since I started my own collection years ago too. But, I've seen lots of iPod libraries of people that had very few songs, so I think most only got the "hits of the day" and hardly much more. It's probably the same for streaming. They listen to the hits and don't really care about music as much as some of us do. Apple hasn't had DRM on iTunes tracks since around 2007, so even that shouldn't be a worry for most people. Yet I get comments from people saying "but if you buy it from iTunes they could rip the rights from you too, just like if they remove it from streaming!". That's not how it works anymore.

Anyway, I don't think most people want a separate device anymore. There will always be some of us, but that's alright. There's nothing wrong with not changing what doesn't need to be. :)
 

retta283

Cancelled
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,894
Victoria, British Columbia
I highly doubt they'll be popular again. There has been a strange shift in wanting larger, but more diverse, mobile devices over the past few years especially. If you carry an iPhone SE for example, many people will comment how it's "so tiny!", despite doing everything that bigger phones can. Similarly, if you carry a dedicated music player (especially an older iPod, like I often do), people act like it's ancient technology.

People don't like to own their music anymore, they want to rent it, which is really sad because in 10 years there might be no way to see what songs you liked or listened to 10 years ago. It could very well be all temporary, and streaming services could change or disappear. I like having a record of all of it and a copy of all of it.

I also think the iOS Music app has dramatically gotten worse starting in iOS 7, so even using an iPhone or newer iPod touch for music isn't as good as using an older dedicated device.

@retta283 I've gotten lots of music since I started my own collection years ago too. But, I've seen lots of iPod libraries of people that had very few songs, so I think most only got the "hits of the day" and hardly much more. It's probably the same for streaming. They listen to the hits and don't really care about music as much as some of us do. Apple hasn't had DRM on iTunes tracks since around 2007, so even that shouldn't be a worry for most people. Yet I get comments from people saying "but if you buy it from iTunes they could rip the rights from you too, just like if they remove it from streaming!". That's not how it works anymore.

Anyway, I don't think most people want a separate device anymore. There will always be some of us, but that's alright. There's nothing wrong with not changing what doesn't need to be. :)
Yeah, it's crazy to me seeing how big phones have gotten, I was content with my iPhone 3G screen size and now it's almost doubled. Not a fan of huge phones, as you can probably imagine I still like to use dedicated devices for most of my stuff. I definitely do understand the appeal of having everything in one package, it's nice not having to carry around the extra gear.

I don't mind using a pre-iOS 7 device for music, the interface was fairly simple, and cover flow was really cool. iOS 7 and early 8 music app was okay, but it lost coverflow and the UI elements weren't scaled properly if I'm remembering this correctly. Everything since Apple Music came out has been pretty bad though. There definitely is a point to having a simple device like an iPod, especially when Apple can't even make a good music app for their phones (and now iPod touches).

I have no problem buying from iTunes now, the files are pretty much DRM free and they actually sound decent. If I don't feel like buying a whole album for one song, it's nice to grab it on iTunes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slix

trevpimp

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2009
577
186
Inside A Mac Box
I would love for maybe a device enhancement similar to an iPod with built in streaming services

Like Ear Pods with applications that can be used to play Pandora or streaming services.
 

phillytim

macrumors 65816
Aug 12, 2011
1,402
773
Philadelphia, PA
I will hang on to my iPod Nano until it dies; thankfully I upgraded just before Apple killed them off.

It's a no-brainer for a standalone device: it's lightweight, I do not want to be running with a heavy iPhone in my pocket; great number of hours for battery use, I don't have to drain my iPhone listening/streaming music; and I love listening to my local FM radio stations, and for free as a bonus!
 

ultramagnus

Suspended
Oct 22, 2019
21
8
Seeing that old trends and popular items sometimes come back, do you think that standalone MP3 players have a chance of revival? I remember just before the smartphone emerged, many said they would not like having their phone be their music player. Most of these fell in line later on though. But to this day, a few still hold out and continue to use dedicated players.

If I were Apple, I would bring back the 2nd or 4th gen Shuffle, give it a bunch of cool colors and sell it for $29. I think that having a small dedicated player with a fashionable look would be a decent seller, and if marketed well it could be successful.
Although there are times I think I wanted a standalone MP3 player, even if I had one, I would probably put in in a drawer and forget about it. In the end, people would want less devices. This is why the smartphone is hugely popular. It’s a general tool that is good enough to be various tools, including an MP3 player.

as for a small dedicated player, Apple’s “answer” is probably the Apple Watch. With its cellular and Bluetooth capability, it has become the modern “iPod” of today, in a sense. I doubt Apple would want to spend the time and resources for a $29 Shuffle. I mean they are already charging $19 for a lightning cable... :D
 

VirtuallyInsane

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
50
9
Honestly? I still have music on iPod Touch 4th Generation and the sound quality's amazing. Granted, the playlist needs updated but it's nice. Nice to have if you know what I mean?

I also have some old iPods filled with music. I'll stick them on and listen to music from time to time. Look, streaming is handy but offline music is great. Lightweight devices are great. I like having my music with me at all times (if I need to). I also like the novelty of the small device. Loading the music onto it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: retta283

retta283

Cancelled
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,894
Victoria, British Columbia
Honestly? I still have music on iPod Touch 4th Generation and the sound quality's amazing. Granted, the playlist needs updated but it's nice. Nice to have if you know what I mean?

I also have some old iPods filled with music. I'll stick them on and listen to music from time to time. Look, streaming is handy but offline music is great. Lightweight devices are great. I like having my music with me at all times (if I need to). I also like the novelty of the small device. Loading the music onto it.
I agree. It's a cool experience to load up an iPod for a trip and see the old interface in action. I'm looking at getting either a 5th gen Classic or 1st gen nano soon. Probably classic, less risk of exploding battery...
 
  • Like
Reactions: VirtuallyInsane

VirtuallyInsane

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
50
9
I agree. It's a cool experience to load up an iPod for a trip and see the old interface in action. I'm looking at getting either a 5th gen Classic or 1st gen nano soon. Probably classic, less risk of exploding battery...

I think a Nano with a new battery (refurb) would be alright. But the 5.5th gen is great. Have one. Holds a decent amount of stuff. So does my 6th gen 80GB.
 

staggerlee41

macrumors 65816
Sep 25, 2017
1,066
1,051
Pittsburgh, PA
I have been very seriously considering getting an MP3 player to leave connected in my car.

Owning my own music and listening to it offline > streaming services

This is exactly what I do with my iPod. My iTunes library is rather extensive so I don't subscribe to a streaming service unless you count SiriusXM.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.