Has Apple run out of ideas?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by neiltc13, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I've finished reading up on all the products introduced today and "Let's Rock" was everything I expected it to be. But one difference between this and other keynotes is that there really isn't anything new here at all on the hardware front.

    What we're left with is in my opinion a plateauing effect - Apple has revised its iPod line so much that there really is not much more they can do. They're now making changes just for the sake of making changes and that may end up being a bad thing (it's certainly a less exciting thing for us).

    This didn't just start today though. It's been going on since the day the Aluminium iMac was introduced. That product was in my opinion a huge step back for the design and didn't really add anything - it does all the same things as its predecessor but just looks uglier as it goes about its business.

    My favourite MP3 player was the second generation iPod nano. It was just about perfect and when they decided to replace it with the 'fatty' I literally did a giant facepalm. Today's introduction goes a little way to restoring that iconic design and the genius that was the iPod mini but they've killed it by giving it the "punched in the face" look of the aluminium iMac.

    For the first time in as long as I can remember Apple left two iPods completely unchanged. No upgrades whatsoever to them, apart from the removal of a model no one really wanted anyway. They literally didn't have anything more to add to these.

    The touch update was mediocre. I'm not sure why the Nike+ thing got such a good reception because I've never seen or heard of anyone using it. They gave it the same ugly round feeling as the iPhone (does anyone REALLY miss the metal on the back of the original iPhone?!) and now it's gonna wobble on the table.

    I'm not saying this because I was in any way "disappointed" with today's event - I have an iPhone 3G and had no plans to buy any new iPod or anything like that today.

    So what do you guys think, are Apple's designers going a little dry in their old age?
  2. bc008 macrumors 68000


    Aug 6, 2007
    i think so..

    the new nano looks great, and i am glad they brought back the old colors but imho the ipod touch update wasnt needed..
  3. daverso macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
    Well, you can only expect so much from a company so often... The iPhone/iPod touch was just over a year ago... I think there needs to be more down time for them to be considered out of ideas.
    The new nano is better than anything Microsoft or any Apple competitors has released in years in my opinion. I think the next conference next month (or whenever it ends up being) will have some pretty interesting releases.
    Although i will say they do get into a cycle, they have huge updates to their product line, then they have smaller ones. This one was somewhere in-between the two.
  4. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    I want the old 1G shuffle back, it was so much better than the current one.
    I really liked the 1G nano as well.

    I wouldn't say they've run out of ideas, but there really isn't much more they could add, maybe a TV tuner, but with different standards, it could cause problems, FM radio (but FM radio is crap), AM radio (but the loops would be so small that you would only get the 50,000W stations, or have to be within 3 miles of the transmitter).

    Bluetooth with AD2P would be nice for all the iPods, but beyond that, I can't think of anything more to add.

  5. dizastor macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I don't think that they have run out of ideas, they are just at a midpoint in the iPod evolution.

    The iPod classic looks to be on it's last legs and Apple seems to be starting to push the iPod touch harder. It might be a few revisions away, but eventually I'm sure there will be a Nano Touch and both the Classic and Traditional Nano will go away.

    The real hurdle here is storage space. When they can make a Touch with 100+ gigs of storage so the "I need to carry every album ever recorded in my pocket at all times" people will be satisfied, they will dump the classic.

    As always, it looks like they are refining the products based on consumer feedback and the quest to always be the "coolest", "slimmest" and "thinnest" music player on the block.
  6. burningbright macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2008
    I'd wait until the expected mac updates before losing any faith- they did say that there'd be a 'major product transition' that no rivals could match etc. and it wasn't shown today... This summer Apple seem to have bitten off more than they could chew programming-wise, so I'm glad they're not doing anything too ambitious until the firmware/mobile me problems are completely fixed. The nano got a nice update and is a much more attractive purchase now, I think.

    But on a general note the glory years of digital tech as mass items will probably be over in a decade, I think. I can't think of anything digitalisation can do except aid the production, manipulation and consumption of data, text, pictures, sound and video. Most people don't need to process very much data, text doesn't seem too problematic (apart from in a logistical sense-scanning pages etc.), and picture, sound and video quality can already be produced and enjoyed at a level that's about the limit of human senses. Maybe you could have a video editing app that can do the sort of things Photoshop does to photos, and perhaps graphics that could be mistaken for reality, but after that I'm pretty stumped as to what apps could need huge amounts of computing power and be useful to the general public. Already some folks are saying 'nah, I don't need that much power. Just gimme a netbook.' It might be a sign of things to come. In the meantime, all-in-one devices like the iPhone seem the way to go!:cool:
  7. graemesangels macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    In terms of music playing hardware there isn't much more they can do that would be considered a new idea (at least none that I've thought of, although that could explain why I don't work there).

    Their DAP designs have become very refined and they probably stick with them because they work.

    The only hardware that I feel is really missing from the line-up is wireless syncing and I would imagine that the iPod Touch could achieve that through a software update.

    I have to agree with TEG as far the shuffle goes; the first gen is superior in my eyes which is why I still rock mine regularly.
  8. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    The "Classic" in iPod Classic says it all; its days are numbered. That said, affordable 1.8" SSDs with capacities above 100 GB are a ways off.

    I have seen classics in use, actually. I have quite a few friends that have them because they had over 8 GB of media and thought the 16 GB touch was too expensive. I guess they'll all be getting nanos now.

    I think that is exactly what's going on right now; Apple said this event would be big, perhaps they had hoped for a better reception of Genius.

    The next big step in mobile tech, IMO, is battery life. I read an article somewhere about silver-(I forget the element) batteries with three times the energy density of Li-ion. Obviously, there are other experimental battery technologies out there. As we shrink the circuitry in our devices, the limiting ingredient will become batteries.
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I think so.

    Here's my wish list, maybe they can use some ideas.

    1) iTunes home server.
    2) iPhone nano
    3) Top set box
  10. theknightshift macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007
    Ehhh, I don't think the iPod classic is going to completely go away. The look has become too iconic. And besides, the beautiful thing about the original iPod design is that it's extremely easy to use without having to actively look at it the entire time... which is particularly good for activities like driving.

    I'd love to see the iPod classic migrate to all-flash storage, once it catches up and exceeds hard drive capacity. After that...

    1. User-replaceable batteries: Apple is missing a HUGE opportunity for profit with this one. There's no reason not to have this.
    2. Built-in Sirius XM Satellite Radio receiver: If GPS can be incorporated into an iPhone, this could likely be implemented in an iPod as well... and would also be a bigtime money-making racket for both Apple and Sirius XM.
    3. Wi-Fi streaming iTunes from remote location to your iPod: Already being worked on at Apple, according to reports.
  11. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    This is where the iPod Nano comes in; same click wheel interface, less bulk.

    Flash will not catch up to traditional storage any time in the near future.

    The problem with user replaceable batteries is that they have to make the ipod in a form factor that allows it.

    I would like Sirius/XM integration, but it could be the subject of an anti-trust lawsuit.

    All hail streaming iTunes! :p:rolleyes::D:apple:
  12. theknightshift macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007
    Well, some of us also LIKE having something nice and weighty that fits in the palm of or our hands (and I like getting to carry it on my belt too :) ) that we can operate with our thumbs. And we don't care to have a bigger screen that we have to touch with our fingers, either. I mean, those iPhone/iPod touch screens must see some wear and tear, right? How does Apple ever expect 'em to stay clean? Are those things fingerprint-resistant, or something? :confused:

    Give it another year or so. There's some neat stuff regarding flash/solid state storage research happening over in Japan right now :)

    I've seen a few designs already, made by pretty sharp folks, that would allow for the iPod to maintain its lean, trim design and provide for easily-replaceable batteries on the fly. The coolest was something like a "micro-hinge" that has the back chassis swinging up then over very slightly to provide ready access to the battery compartment, without having to expose anything else of the iPod's innards.

    Steve Jobs has some of the most clever engineers on the planet at his beck and call. He should let them tackle this for sake of the challenge, at least :D

    The other problem is that 2/3rds of the world would hate it 'cuz currently Sirius XM satellites only adequately provide coverage for North America.

    Which if Apple can get it to work, it would mean that storage would almost become a moot thing anyway since you could get any song or video sent from your home server to your iPod, whenever you wanted it :)
  13. neiltc13 thread starter macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I was surprised to see that they didn't combine iPod touch and a hard drive to satisfy folks who have a big collection.
  14. Schtumple macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2007
    Surely the battery life would suck? So you'd need a fairly chunky battery, which would then make the iPod touch very thick, not apples flow, thin is in.
  15. MowingDevil macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2008
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    Why on earth would you ever want this?
    Thats a terrible idea for the consumer and a total waste. The power system on iPods is fine the way they are. Just think of the environmental toll it would have on the planet to have every iPod w/ disposable batteries. Thats the only way it would be really profitable for Apple. If they made them rechargeable batteries then that wouldn't be such a bad idea. Still I'm fine w/ them the way they are.

    This I'd get, commercial radio sucks. I've used Sirius before and like it, not enough to buy a dedicated Sirius receiver but if it was built into an iPod I'd pay a subscription for it.
  16. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    Simple answer:


    They won't want to give us everything that we want, because in a year or two they won't be able to make us buy a new iPod/iPhone.

    Take the 3G iPhone, terrible battery life. When the original iPhone came out, they omitted a 3G chip because the battery wouldn't last too long.
  17. iCantwait macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    ummmmm, you can stream iTunes - i have the "simplify" app on my iPhone which lets me do it over 3G and wifi.

    its sad to see the iPod get further and further away from my beloved 1G 5gb from back in the day.

    We need to remember that [almost] everybody wants an iPod and apple dont have to give them everything that other mp3 players have (FM, wifi, speakers (i know)) because they will get sales regardless just on brand name. when i saw an touch screen mp4 player raffle advertised i just thought to myself hahahaha, just get an iPod touch!

    So really, apple dont need to go all out to get the same amount of sales.
  18. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    There are a number of factors:

    - with the iPhone & MobileMe, Apple have been really stretched over the last year or so. It might be a good time to slow down dramatic feature releases, and focus on performance & stability over feature lists.

    - The nanos are the low-cost, low-end iPods. Their main purpose is to play music (and some video). If Apple kitted these out with loads of features, there would be less need for the iPod touch.
  19. EthanNixon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    The Simplify application for the iPhone and iTouch is seriously one of the worst applications I downloaded. Originally, I am not sure of it now, there was no statement of DRM streaming music. Which to all of the people who actually use iTunes to purchase their music, this means the application is completely useless...
  20. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    That would be my wish list too. Actually, I am a bit disappointed about the lack of attention paid to the classic; it's a great design, and it is extraordinarily useful to a lot of people; fantastic for long journeys and chilling, where music is what you want to listen to, without visual distractions, and where those with large music libraries are catered for.

    Around a year ago, Apple sent me a questionnaire re the iPod; most of the questions concerned video capabilities - whether this would this interest me, etc. I got a very strong sense that I was in a minority, in that I stressed my interest in this device was audio, not visual.

  22. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    Am I the only one who prefers actual buttons? The best feature of the non-touchscreen iPods is the ability to perform actions without taking it out of your pocket. With a normal iPod, you can change the volume, skip tracks and fast forward or rewind without looking at it.

    I really hope Apple doesn't milk the multitouch too much. It's very nice, but I don't think it's advancing usability at all.
  23. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I disagree. I think yesterday's announcements show that Apple is happy with their current line-up of iPods, but felt that there was a few tweaks they could make.

    The new iPod nano, is IMO, the best one they have released yet and improves on last year's model that I did not like. They have returned to the favoured portrait design, and still managed to retain the nice display of the 3G model. They have revised the menu again, which improves it even more. The accelerometer is another nice addition. I think it is a great product and definitely the best iPod nano yet.

    As for the punched in the face look of the new iMac and iPod nano, I couldn't disagree more. I think the aluminium design is beautiful. When talking about the iMac, it is a massive improvement over the white model. I have both side by side, and can not believe how much better the newer one looks. This is going to be an issue of personal opinion.

    The iPod touch update was again, an improvement over its predecessor. The speaker and volume controls were two of the most highly touted features asked for by users and Apple delivered it. The Nike+ is an excellent addition for the many people who were forced to purchase only the iPod nano previously. As for the lack of a hard drive, I can see why Apple has done this. I believe that a hard drive would make the iPod OS less responsive, as the 1.8" drives are very slow compared to flash memory.

    The iPod classic got no tweaks because, well, it is the 'classic'. I believe the days of the traditional iPod's are gone and this is why that model has no new features. It remains for the people who want a simple, large capacity player without the bells and whistles of the other models.
  24. lofight macrumors 68000


    Jun 16, 2007
    Because they can't really do a massive upgrade to a ipod nano, ipod classic, or ipod shuffle, they just slowly add feautures.. If the the 2g ipod nano had the edges of the 4g, and the 4g ipod nano had the edges (not features) everybody would still be suprised now.. It's just the change that they make.. The same with the back of both the iphone and the ipod touch..

    I think Apple already is thinking deep about what new revolution they want to bring to the people.. To find another product o improve is going to be very hard I think.. The next real revolution I'm expecting is a tablet mac.. That could get really exciting!
  25. dan-o-mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's hard to believe the nano came out three years ago, and the only major upgrade besides redesign has been the ability to turn it on it's side and play video. What's harder to believe is the fact that people are still gushing over them. Go figure. :D

    As long as customers keep going ga-ga over these small incremental updates, Apple is going to provide just that. Once in a while they will knock one out the park with a redesign(FP iMac, iPhone/iPod Touch, Macbook Air). I guess you can't expect them to do it all the time.

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