Flash-based iPod by Christmas?


stoid

macrumors 601
Does this chip manufacturer make flash chips that only work in music players? I don't know that it's a given that Apple is putting them into a music player.

iPod Micro! 50 songs in your pocket!! WOOOO!!!


I'm skeptical.
 

varmit

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 5, 2003
1,830
0
stoid said:
Does this chip manufacturer make flash chips that only work in music players? I don't know that it's a given that Apple is putting them into a music player.

iPod Micro! 50 songs in your pocket!! WOOOO!!!


I'm skeptical.
I would say they Apple would sell a large amount of space like a 1 gig. But what would people pay. 150-200 bucks for it, thats why I'm wondering what the chips are for and why they would state it out loud, Apple hates it when people do that. It could be chips just for antishock protection for all I know, just want to put it out there.
 

kgarner

macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2004
1,513
0
Utah
While i am skeptical as well, it does make sense. There are a lot of peole out there that can't aford a $250 or more music player. Not all of us have huge libraries that we want ot carry around. Why not have a small flash drive that can still play songs form the iTMS. I don't have an iPod, but i want one. I still use my trusty Rio 600. But I can't take my iTMS purchases to the gym. this bites. If Apple released a flash based drive that was compatible with Fairplay i think they could sell quite a few.

Think of it as a lower step in the convert everyone to mac plan. 1. Get cheap music player and let them use it with the iTMS. 2. After they buy a bunch of songs because it is so easy and cool they get an iPod. 3. They like the iPod/iTunes experience and want ot carry that to the rest of their computing experience so they get a Mac. 4. World domination!
 

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Apr 12, 2001
7,419
8,491
According to a recent analyst's quote, Apple will be using chips from an Austin, TX based semiconductor company called SigmaTel in an upcoming version of a music player. The analyst, Jason Pflaum of Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, cited "numerous sources in Asia" and predicts SigmaTel will receive $2-4 million from the deal in the first full quarter.

It must be noted that Thomas Weisel has an investment banking relationship with SigmaTel and that neither the semiconductor company nor Apple has confirmed this deal.

If true, it could mean a cheaper, lighter, skip-proof iPod.

Edit: The SigmaTel web site says that they make USB controller chips, MP3 audio decoders, and audio codecs, not flash storage. This has now been pointed out a few times later in this thread. This Edit has been added so we won't have an endless stream of new posts making this same point.
 

Rower_CPU

Moderator emeritus
Oct 5, 2001
11,111
0
San Diego, CA
Something else that might come of this...it would be interesting to see if Apple sticks with the iPod name or goes with something different on a new player.
 

kikimus

macrumors newbie
May 19, 2003
22
0
Chicago burbs
I don't see this happening. Flash players have already flooded the market. No premium for Apple. Little to differentiate, other than the interface.

I doubt most people who own the mini even know it has a hard drive.

Who cares?

I can't see Apple cranking out me-too $150 flash players.
 

kenaustus

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2003
371
11
I'd bet on this one

With Flash increasing in capacity and dropping in price this looks like a good bet. Might no get released for Christmas, but I think Steve J wants the revenues it could bring.

It would certainly address the market for those who cannot afford an iPod with a HD, add customers to The Music Store and drive MS nuts - all good reasons to introduce it.
 

Inkmonkey

macrumors 6502
Oct 2, 2003
435
1
Calgary
My guess would be that these are used in the iPod mini. It would probably be due for an update before it's big brother.
 

dotnina

macrumors 6502a
Aug 19, 2004
856
0
This could be successful if they use flash cards of ~1 gig. I don't know if anything less will sell too well ... then you just have too few songs.
 

Inkmonkey

macrumors 6502
Oct 2, 2003
435
1
Calgary
dotnina said:
This could be successful if they use flash cards of ~1 gig. I don't know if anything less will sell too well ... then you just have too few songs.
What is the max size of a Flash card currently?
 

DrGruv1

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2002
160
0
Chicago - West 'Burbs
your wrong.. THEY WOULD SELL LIKE HOT CAKES

I don't see this happening. Flash players have already flooded the market. No premium for Apple. Little to differentiate, other than the interface.

I doubt most people who own the mini even know it has a hard drive.

Who cares?

I can't see Apple cranking out me-too $150 flash players.

I teach jr. high kids, they would BUY without question the Ipod flash under $100. They watch TV see the commercials and would buy it in a second! To the jr. high and high school kid they would sell REALLY well!
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
DrGruv1 said:
I teach jr. high kids, they would BUY without question the Ipod flash under $100. They watch TV see the commercials and would buy it in a second! To the jr. high and high school kid they would sell REALLY well!
that's where you are incorrect too. they won't be under $100. such a low price point would "cheapen" the brand, offer no room for differentiation and have no profit.

the way apple would do a flash player would be ~$175, high capacity (1+ GB?) as min. otherwise, there's no money to be made.

i still doubt they will bother with flash, cheap iPods. just like there are no headless cheap Macs, there's no profit margin to be worth lending very premium apple branding on it.
 

pkradd

macrumors regular
Dec 1, 2001
184
0
Author of original article is confused.

SigmaTel doesn't make memory chips. They make controllers used to run both disk and flash MP3 players. The Rio deal is true as well. Doesn't mean Apple isn't getting their controllers from SigmaTel as well. According to the site, the controller can help get 50 hours of battery life.

www. Sigmatel.com
 

Porchland

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2004
1,071
0
Georgia
I just don't see Apple selling a hundred-dollar iPod; it doesn't jibe with their image, would lower the bar on capacity and would waste all the goodwill Apple has built up in a bigger(-capacity)-is-better iPod.

Now, if flash drives could give Apple good capacity at a lower cost than hard drives, the changes are all under the hood and wouldn't really affect the marketing or functionality; it would just make for lower costs and better margins for Apple.
 

Le Big Mac

macrumors 68030
Jan 7, 2003
2,586
157
Washington, DC
kikimus said:
I don't see this happening. Flash players have already flooded the market. No premium for Apple. Little to differentiate, other than the interface.
the same thing can be said for hard-drive based players too.

It's great, assuming the capacity is enough. Not to mention that one could continue to upgrade the capacity with new cards. Or have several cards presumably, each with a set of songs.
 

jholzner

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2002
1,384
0
Champaign, IL
jxyama said:
that's where you are incorrect too. they won't be under $100. such a low price point would "cheapen" the brand, offer no room for differentiation and have no profit.

the way apple would do a flash player would be ~$175, high capacity (1+ GB?) as min. otherwise, there's no money to be made.

i still doubt they will bother with flash, cheap iPods. just like there are no headless cheap Macs, there's no profit margin to be worth lending very premium apple branding on it.
I hope this is true but I would like to see a price of $150.00. I also doubt apple will release it before Christmas. They will let the current iPod line take it this quarter and probably release it at MacWord 2005...like they did the mini.
 

kidA

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2002
119
0
i agree with others on the board. i can't see apple making any me too 128 or 256 mb flash based devices.

if apple does decide to use flash memory for something, my guess is that it will be very small but will use the high capacity flash drives. flash memory has really come down in cost lately. you can get 1 gb usb flash drives for between $150 and $200 and 2 GB compact flash cards for about the same. so it's really not too bad. but flash memory is pretty slow, especially when there's a lot of it. so i don't know. a 1 or 2 gb flash based ipod would be realistic in the ipod mini's price range, but no lower, probably, and that's why i can't see apple doing it.
 

CalfCanuck

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2003
551
0
Inkmonkey said:
What is the max size of a Flash card currently?
The high end photo flash cards have capacities of 8 GB and write speeds approaching 20 MB / sec. - but they cost some $$$. Backing off to non-cutting edge stuff, though, really brings down the prices.

Before the mini came out, I was talking about Flash cards on this forum and it was amazing how ignorant some were, claiming they were old technology (I guess that's true about everything, though ... :p ).

I imagine that in 4-5 years all smaller music devices will be flash based, if for nothing else than to lower warranty and breakage costs!

Some people complain that the capacities are too low - but they have gone up 20 fold in 3 years, allowing for a set price. Retail prices for 1GB cards are about $50, so volume / wholesale they must be starting to converge with small hard drives like in the mini.
 

Rod Rod

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2003
2,174
2
Las Vegas, NV
pkradd said:
SigmaTel doesn't make memory chips. They make controllers used to run both disk and flash MP3 players. The Rio deal is true as well. Doesn't mean Apple isn't getting their controllers from SigmaTel as well. According to the site, the controller can help get 50 hours of battery life.

www. Sigmatel.com
pkradd's post pretty much ends the discussion here.

however, all the people who don't bother to read the entire thread before posting will likely repeat what's been said before pkradd's post, and subsequent posters will repeat what's in pkradd's post.

hopefully this doesn't get out of control like the iMac G5 threads.

pkradd, awesome post. :) it's great to have a real voice of reason here.

CalfCanuck said:
The high end photo flash cards have capacities of 8 GB
those 8 GB "flash cards" are actually hard drives (not flash memory) in CF enclosures.