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All Flash iPod Line-up on the Horizon? 183

Posted by Zonk
from the they'd-certainly-be-more-throwable dept.
VE3OGG writes "Several news reports are taking note of the opinion of Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora, who seems to think that an all-flash iPod lineup could be coming in the near future. While some point out that this would ultimately super-inflate the cost of iPod production, Tortora rebukes them: '...the late 2005 Nano transition to flash provides a guide as to the point at which the previously mentioned non-cost advantages of flash memory outweigh the cost premium.' He believes that later this year Apple will unveil either a 32GB or 64GB flash-based Video iPod. Of course, like all good analysts, he also throws out some far-fetched claims. These include: the next round of video iPods will also include an iPhone-esque wide touchscreen, WiFi for Apple TV streaming, and GPS functionality. Will this be the start of a super-high-end iPod line, or perhaps a middle-of-the-road iPod Video?"
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All Flash iPod Line-up on the Horizon?

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  • 60G of flash? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    w00t no moving parts. Now make the battery user accessible, and make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac off directories and not itunes databases and we're all set. ... yes I know you can use things like gnupod to put your own tunes on. It's just a pain in the arse.

    Tom
    • Re:60G of flash? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wakejagr (781977) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:56AM (#17948868) Journal
      make the battery user accessible, make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac files from dirs instead of itunes databases - while we're at it, why not give it a built in radio and the ability to record from that radio . . . sounds like we're talking about one of the many competitors to the ipod. if you want something that does those things, buy something that does those things. apple is obviously taking their product in a different direction, and while i won't be buying one anytime soon (i like mp3 and ogg playback, radio, off-the-shelf batteries, etc), apple's idea is definitely working to the tune of a majority share in the marketplace.
      • by radarsat1 (786772)
        Right on, except that you won't get their awesome multitouch screen, which I'm sure is patented, so you won't be seeing it in any competitors products, meaning the consumer ultimately loses out not being able to get all the features they want in one device. Yay patents!

        (Yes, I _really_ want that multitouch screen.)
        • Here in Asia the competition most definitely will have touch screen graphical awesomeness, all packaged up in a cheap knock off housing, and all within a few short months after release of the original from Apple. As an added bonus, the imitation item will also come complete with 283 more functions and features, but with a frustratingly slow user interface that lags 8 touches behind.

          9 months later they'll turn up in US flea markets.

          Foreign patents don't mean squat here, local patents come in just barely abov
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:42PM (#17949660)
        Forget about Ogg etc... - I'm more worried about their move to Flash. Macromedia is a terrible format for showing video. They should stick to H.264.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Bob Gelumph (715872)
        Apple like to do a few things really well that all fit in with one another.
        Adding radio could be done, but it is far from core, and could work against people paying for music.
        What is wrong with them letting 3rd party manufacturers from making their own plug-ins like the iTrip?
        Sure, being able to dump a whole lot of files on the iPod with them being playable would be good, but it introduces more complexity that doesn't fit in with their strategy.
        Apple wants a particular structure for the music on iPods becau
      • Re:60G of flash? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by encoderer (1060616) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:08PM (#17950066)
        "i like mp3 and ogg playback"

        I've always been surprised by how many people don't realize the iPod can play MP3s. It seems like a failure of marketing. I've had to share the good news with 3 or 4 people in the few months alone.
      • Re:60G of flash? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:49PM (#17950782) Journal

        make the battery user accessible
        That would make the unit bigger. I want a portable music device to be as small as possible. The competing tend to be 20-50% bigger, which makes the iPod an easy winner in my opinion.

        make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac files
        It already supports MP3, AAC and Apple Lossless (ALE). You can transcode to ALE from FLAC without losing any data, and ALE requires less CPU power to play back (giving better battery life). Vorbis support would be nice, of course, and could be a deal-breaker if you had already ripped your music collection to Vorbis.

        from dirs instead of itunes databases
        I honestly don't see the benefit of this. Why is it better to drag your files over manually using a filesystem view and then have the device be required to either:
        1. Create the DB itself (on a CPU and disk that are slower than your desktop / laptop) or
        2. Use the filesystem directly, costing more disk seeks/reads (and hence a battery life hit)
        Opening up the format of the DB would be a better solution, so non-iTunes tools for creating it didn't have to rely on reverse-engineering. These days, however, the DB format is pretty well understood, so you can just run the tool that recreates it as part of your unmount operation pretty easily.

        while we're at it, why not give it a built in radio and the ability to record from that radio
        You can buy a portable radio for pretty much nothing, and it will be a lot smaller than an iPod. If I wanted a radio, I'd use one of these. Recording radio might be useful, I suppose, but I'd probably rather do that on a desktop and then sync it with a portable player.
        • by fuzz6y (240555)

          Create the DB itself (on a CPU and disk that are slower than your desktop / laptop) or

          I really don't care. In terms of speed optimization, there are only 3 speeds for any operation: "instant," fast and slow.

          Instant, of course, doesn't refer to no passage of time, it refers to a passage of time too small for the system (in this case, the human punching buttons) to measure

          If the database is in place when I want to listen to music, it doesn't really matter if it was built by Deep Blue or a TRS-80

          Besides,

        • You can transcode to ALE from FLAC without losing any data...

          Do you know of a good tool to transcode from ALE to Ogg FLAC while keeping all the metadata? I ripped a lot of my music to ALE, and while I'm not too worried since it's lossless and not DRM'd, it'd be nice to know there's an easy path (as opposed to researching the MPEG4 and Ogg metadata structures myself, and writing a shell script) if I decide to stop using iTunes .

      • by soft_guy (534437) on Friday February 09, 2007 @02:44PM (#17951692)

        while we're at it, why not give it a built in radio and the ability to record from that radio
        No, what I want is the ability to send a song to another iPod wirelessly so the other person can listen to it for three days or three plays - whichever comes first - and then have the chance to buy the song. But, I don't want this to work on all songs - just some of them where the record company said it was OK to do this. If they would only add this feature, I'm sure more people would buy iPods.
    • by Winckle (870180)
      It really isn't a pain in the arse. I use amarok with my iPod, and I have no trouble at all. It's never gonna play ogg, unless you flash it with rockbox, so stop wishing. Clearly iPods aren't for you, try a player that meets your needs, or buy an iPod and give up.
    • by dr.badass (25287) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:15PM (#17950200) Homepage
      Now make the battery user accessible, and make it play mp3/aac/ogg/flac off directories and not itunes databases and we're all set.

      In other words: change everything about it.
    • by Danga (307709)
      Now make the battery user accessible

      The iPod battery is user accessible. Sure, it is not as easy as opening a battery cover and popping the battery out but it still is a trivial process. I think the current placement of the battery helps to keep the iPod size smaller too. I recently replaced my iPod's battery and it only took about ten minutes, about five of which were spent trying to get the damn case open but it still wasn't that bad. Once the case was open all that was needed was to unplug the old ba
    • I speak for the vast majority of iPod users when I say "STFU about OGG and FLAC already." Seriously, only Slashdotters care about these formats. MP3 is what everybody uses. It won.
  • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:46AM (#17948678)
    Most analysts and (unfortunately) executives look at golden plated requirements as a good thing, even though (in many cases) they really aren't ... An all flash iPod with tons of flashy features sounds great on paper until you see the price tag at $800; the price tag is never seen as that bad by many of these people because their six figure salary is (way) above their average customers income level.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling. Most people will just go from some unit with less memory, like the 4 Gig Nano. If you really want to have the iPod video, you're prepared to spend big bucks anyway. I don't think there's that much of a difference between a person willing to pay $400 for a portable music player, and one who wants to spend $800. Either way it's outside the reach of 80% of people.
      • by rolfwind (528248)

        I don't think there's that much of a difference between a person willing to pay $400 for a portable music player, and one who wants to spend $800.


        Just like we are seeing PS3 units flying off the shelves though it has a slight premium over the Xbox360.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I didn't say that I'd people would be flocking to buy the $800 iPod. I said that the people who would buy the $400 iPod would probably also buy the $800 iPod. With consoles, very few people buy the PS3, because it's too expensive. In the same light, very few people are actually buying the 80 GB iPod Video. Most people opt for the Nano, or the Mini (do they still sell that?) or the shuffle, because it is what is affordable to them. If you're going to go out and spend $400 on a portable music player, the
          • by edmicman (830206)

            If you're going to go out and spend $400 on a portable music player, then I don't see you really see an $800 price tag stopping you.
            Except you're going out to spend X amount of dollars, and instead they want you to spend 2*X amount of dollars. I don't know about you, but when I go to buy something, especially a somewhat large something (you can do a lot with 400 bucks!), I'm not usually in the mindset of saying "oh well" to spending twice that.
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              But in the case of the 80 GB iPod video, you aren't going out to spend $400, you're going out to buy the best MP3 player you money can buy, instead of just getting something that would fulfill all your needs just as well (if not better) and spending half as much. It doesn't matter what the price is, because if it did, you wouldn't be buying it in the first place.
              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by jcarkeys (925469)
                I bought my 80GB because I have 45GB of music. No other reason. I bought it versus another product because I already had some accessories for my 3G 15GB one.

                Apple will have one hell of a time convincing people that flash based over HDD based is worth $400 when you could buy two 80GB HDD for that price.

              • by soft_guy (534437)
                You have very strange ideas about how people make spending decisions. And by "strange", I mean "incorrect".
      • But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling.

        The problem with that argument is that the cost at the time was due to limited quantities of new technology (2.5" hard drives). Back then there was no alternative to the technology so the price was high. Thus the iPod was unique. These days, the technology is commonplace and so are other players.

        Even within Apple's product offerings, there would be alternatives. Why would any want to pay $800 for a 32GB flash player

        • by StarvingSE (875139) on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:53PM (#17949820)
          There are a lot of reasons people would go for the 8 gig flash player over the 30 gig iPod. FM radio for one, smaller form factor, and more physically robust. I myself just purchased the Sandisk Sansa e280 for $170. Its a great player; it can play videos, radio, record voice and radio, and holds 2000 songs. By the time I go through 2000 songs, I'll be home from whatever trip I'm on and can swap them for new ones. I'm not interested in storing my entire music collection on an mp3 player; that's what a computer is for. I think a lot of other people think this way.
        • by soft_guy (534437)
          Some people don't want a player with a hard disk in it. Just yesterday someone told me they felt this way, but I didn't inquire about their reasoning.

          I'm still using my 20GB 2nd gen iPod and I don't care that it has a hard disk.
        • The problem with that argument is that the cost at the time was due to limited quantities of new technology (2.5" hard drives).

          FYI, the hard drives in iPods are 1.8", not 2.5".

      • by HAKdragon (193605) <hakdragon.gmail@com> on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:46PM (#17949714)
        But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700

        The original iPod was 5GB (for $400) with a 10GB ($500) debuting shortly there after.
      • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday February 09, 2007 @01:46PM (#17950738)
        But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling.

        It also didn't have an earlier iPod version before it with more capacity and a lower cost.

        Currently, an 80GB HDD-based iPod is $350. I can't possibly imagine a 64GB Flash-based iPod going for less than $500. Why should I pay more for the ability to store less content?
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "You mean, in the USA ? Why not ? In many countries around the world, it is. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, people live measurably longer [cia.gov] in these countries.

          I'm with ya on this. I'm wanting to get an 80G one....but, I'm holding off to see if they'll offer one with the full sized video screen....something like the iPhone has...just without the phone.

          :-)

        • Why should I pay more for the ability to store less content

          So you can drop it.

      • Um, no. The original 5GB iPod was $500. iPods have never cost more than $500 unless you're talking about Canadian dollars.
      • by soft_guy (534437)

        But the original 10 Gig ipod was around $700 and it didn't have much problem selling. Most people will just go from some unit with less memory, like the 4 Gig Nano. If you really want to have the iPod video, you're prepared to spend big bucks anyway. I don't think there's that much of a difference between a person willing to pay $400 for a portable music player, and one who wants to spend $800. Either way it's outside the reach of 80% of people.

        What currency are you talking about? Canadian dollars or something?? Here [ilounge.com] is a rundown of iPod history with prices, etc. The 10GB you are talking about originally sold for $399, not $700.

      • If you really want to have the iPod video, you're prepared to spend big bucks anyway. I don't think there's that much of a difference between a person willing to pay $400 for a portable music player, and one who wants to spend $800.

        WTF?!! I have an iPod video, and I sure as heck wouldn't have spent $400 -- let alone $800 -- on it! In fact, it was something like $229 (with an educational discount) and I barely managed to convince myself to pay even that (I almost got the cheapest Nano instead, but decided t

    • The first iPod is what made all the other iPods possible. It was sexy, it did cool stuff very well, and it was too expensive. Now you can get an iPod Nano for a fraction of the cost of the original iPod and yet it does more stuff better.

      Soon people willing to spend extra money to get cool features will be buying very expensive iPhones, and in a few years the spawn of the iPhone will be cheaper and do more stuff. Hooray!
      • by soft_guy (534437)

        The first iPod is what made all the other iPods possible. It was sexy, it did cool stuff very well, and it was too expensive. Now you can get an iPod Nano for a fraction of the cost of the original iPod and yet it does more stuff better.
        The original 5GB iPod cost $399 or $79/GB. A nano today costs $149 for the 2GB model or $74/GB. Some savings.
    • by mp3phish (747341) on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:17PM (#17949228)
      lets see, you can buy 1GB SD cards for ~10$ at retail. So 320$ for the flash itself(apple will pay less than that). Considering that it is only 249$ for a 30GB ipod video, the chassis of the ipod couldn't cost more than 249. So 240+320 would be the maximum price of a 32GB ipod video flash. Unless they wanted to jack up the price more, which I doubt.

      Now, take out the 30GB moving parts hard drive, that should save you about 100$. Add in the fact that apple isn't paying 10$/gig, but somewhat less than that.. say $8/gig.. so $256$. New total (retail) price would be about 405, or $399.00 for the new 32GB flash ipod video.

      Unless Apple decides to mark up the flash memory more than they mark up the hard drive, your 800$ price point is pretty far off the mark. Factor in that the failure rate will be significantly less, and the battery requirement will be less , so smaller battery (or longer life), they could actually cut the price even more if they wanted to. I say they could sell it for $349 easy and still make just as much margin as they currently are on the 30GB video Hard drive ipod.

      Factor in that the price of flash goes down every time production is ramped (about every couple months), you could have a $249 32GB flash video ipod within 6 months easy if they wanted to (but I doubt they will, Apple tends to wait and increase pricing when new stuff is available).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770)
        Man, this stuff is dropping faster than I can pay attention, went to see what a 16GB memory stick costs these days as I thought that'd be a better match than 1GB cards since costs often don't scale - take away VAT and I found it retailing here for 175$ converted to USD. 2*16GB = your 32GB for 350$. I think your $100 quote is high though, I see 1.8" 30GB disks retail for about 80$, and Apple probably pays less for that too. So +270$ retail and maybe +200$ to BOM, they'd have to take a helluva drop to margins
      • by babakm (617355)
        I posted something like this elsewhere, but... From a recent semiconductor industry report, the latest NAND Flash spot prices (2/5/07) are: 2Gb ... $2.6 4Gb ... $3.9 8Gb ... $6.3 Assuming the same ~1.6x-ish price increment for each doubling of capacity: 16Gb ... $10 32Gb ... $16 Times 8 to get GB gives me a rough estimate of $128 for the NAND chips in the 32GB drive. Add a bit more for the other hardware and contract pricing and a cost of $160 for the storage portion of a 32GB flash iPod at current pric
      • by soft_guy (534437)

        lets see, you can buy 1GB SD cards for ~10$ at retail.
        Where? (No, you can't.)
    • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv@@@gmail...com> on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:21PM (#17949298) Homepage
      the price tag is never seen as that bad by many of these people because their six figure salary is (way) above their average customers income level.

      History, especially recent history, and very especially the history of the iPod, has shown that's false. Execs are acutely aware of prices of their items. Sales price is the single most important thing to any exec because it's how you make money!! People think that because an iPod isn't $25 that it's not priced for the masses. Guess what? If you can only afford $25 for an mp3 player, then Apple is NOT targetting you. Execs spend boku bucks figuring out the right market for their goods and services.

      Will they use market forces to keep their prices high? Sure. Corporations aren't by any means populist, they know exactly what they are doing.
    • Today, yes. In the next few years, it's inevitable. Given the rate that flash is growing, a $149 32 GB iPod Nano will be possible in six years. At that point, why bother with hard drives?
      • by djrogers (153854)

        a $149 32 GB iPod Nano will be possible in six years. At that point, why bother with hard drives?
        Perhaps because I will only be able to hold a handful of HD videos on my shiny new 1080p ipod if it only has 32Gb of RAM?
        • Video? Why do I want to lug around something with a big enough screen to watch video when all I want to do is listen to music?

          The sales of Nanos shows pretty clearly that many people care more about the size of the device than the amount of storage on the device.
      • Given the rate that flash is growing, a $149 32 GB iPod Nano will be possible in six years. At that point, why bother with hard drives?

        In six years, $149 might buy you an HDD-based iPod with 400GB of storage. You see, 400 is clearly a larger number than 32.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Well, the early iPods were hardly cheap either. I certainly remember the commotion when they were releasing new and cheaper iPods (read: less expensive, they never went for price leader). Since flash prices are rapidly dropping, if they can establish it as the new "bling" item and then roll it out to the mainstream market as they introduce new models (Apple doesn't cut prices) I smell another winner in the works. The idea is hardly revolutionary, several have announced 1.8" and 2.5" flash HDDs for laptops a
  • This could be good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jdcool88 (954991)
    While I expect an iPod equipped with 64GB of flash memory would be quite expensive, it is also the perfect market to lower the cost of SSD drives. Go Apple, go!
    • by imsabbel (611519)
      ACtually no. The inscrease in demand will slow down the price-drop.
      • The inscrease in demand will slow down the price-drop.

        Momentarily. The increase in demand causes a momentary movement along the supply curve toward higher price, but after a few months, economies of scale push the supply curve down toward lower prices at each quantity.

  • by Chairboy (88841) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:50AM (#17948758) Homepage
    This is a classic 'disruptive technology' situation. The Flash memory is more expensive and has less capacity than the moving disc, but in the long term, the benefits would outpace the downsides. When the 3.5" hard drives started coming out, they had lower capacity, cost more, and were slower than the 5.25" hard drives, but they were smaller. How many 5.25" hard drives are being made today? Many of the companies that built 5.25" hard drives failed to survive the transition because it was obvious that the public wouldn't stand for paying more for less. Obvious and correct weren't in agreement, as history showed us.

    On a side note, I'm betting we'll see bluetooth enabled iPods before too long. Wireless headsets are cool, sure, but the real money maker will be as a wireless link for the iPods to be available as external storage for things like the iPhone. Doesn't need to be super fast to stream or one-up songs from "The archive" to the iPhone, and there's a continuing market for iPods even for people who just dropped $500+ on the iPhone.

    • i never considered that someone who bought the iphone would want an ipod, too. as far as i'm concerned, i want less gadgets in my pocket, not more. i certainly wouldn't want to lug around another ipod just for archiving -- and if the ipod just stays at home, why wouldn't i archive to my laptop or desktop?

      mr c
    • On a side note, I'm betting we'll see bluetooth enabled iPods before too long. Wireless headsets are cool, sure, but the real money maker will be as a wireless link for the iPods to be available as external storage for things like the iPhone. Doesn't need to be super fast to stream or one-up songs from "The archive" to the iPhone, and there's a continuing market for iPods even for people who just dropped $500+ on the iPhone.

      I agree bluetooth or wifi is likely soon (probably bluetooth) but disagree as to wha

  • Not a big surprise (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bullfish (858648) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:54AM (#17948830)
    As we all know flash based hard drives are coming to PC's (the Mac is a PC too), I don't think this is a big surprise and is probably the way all small devices that have mini-drives are going to go once the cost is wrestled down. Phones for sure will go this way too. It seems like a logical evolution, not a wild new thing.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
      I'll be overjoyed when flash "hard drives" for desktop PCs are available. In the work I do on my digital audio workstation, I'm always fighting the noise that my computer produces. I've spent lots of money and countless hours playing with various cooling systems, enclosures and even really long cables so I can put the box in another room. Anything that can make my computer quieter is great for me.

      By the way, I just bought an inexpensive off-the-shelf system that is surprisingly quiet. It's a PowerSpec T
      • by Steve B (42864)
        I'll be overjoyed when flash "hard drives" for desktop PCs are available.

        The limitation on how many writes flash memory will take before crapping out are acceptable for applications like an iPod, but deadly for a computer's main storage.
      • by clifyt (11768)
        "'ll be overjoyed when flash "hard drives" for desktop PCs are available. In the work I do on my digital audio workstation, I'm always fighting the noise that my computer produces. I've spent lots of money and countless hours playing with various cooling systems, enclosures and even really long cables so I can put the box in another room."

        Off-Topic:

        Dude...do like the rest of us do...KVM. No sense dealing with cooling and otherwise. Heck, I do most of my work off my laptop these days...even if the main rig
        • by soft_guy (534437)
          Have you priced a USB/DVI KVM switch lately? I have one and it was pretty expensive. The $20 KVM is OK if you are using VGA and PS2 for everything, but those of us with modern computers can't use such a crappy KVM.

          If you do know of a cheap USB/DVI KVM, I'd be happy to be wrong.
  • Seems dubious to me. Will these new iPods (fictional edition, very rare) also include sensors that can detect your current mood and select music appropriately? Perhaps they will have an attachment that will let you record your thoughts by directly tapping your brain. In fact, I predict that the next iPod will eschew headphones entirely and instead will manipulate your brain such that you will only think that you are hearing music.
  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Friday February 09, 2007 @11:58AM (#17948894) Homepage
    ... the next round of video iPods will also include an iPhone-esque wide touchscreen ...

    I expect that this analysis is wrong. iPods are getting smaller and that is making people happy and driving sales. Also, the iPhone will be pretty damn expensive and needs to have a bunch of upscale features to justify it. Keep in mind that phones and digital music players are converging, what I expect to happen is that an "iPod" will be effectively built into the iPhone.
    • by JWW (79176) on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:06PM (#17949034)
      I completely disagree. I think there is enourmous demand for a widscreen touch screen iPod. In fact I think sales of the current video iPod are really going to suffer. I know have decided to wait an see about a widscreen iPod instead of buying one of the current video iPods.

      I believe he's dead on on that one. Sometime either shortly before or shortly after June, Apple will NEED to release the new widescreen iPod, because not everyone will be willing (or able - thats me) to get an iPhone. All of these people do not want the current iPod video we want a widescreen iPod.

      Also for some convergance is overratted, some people just want a music (and video, ok some convergance isn't overrattted) player.
      • I completely disagree. I think there is enourmous demand for a widscreen touch screen iPod ...

        I believe "enormous" is an overstatement, the trend in iPod sales is that the less expensive smaller units dominate the sales. While I agree that there is a desire for a widescreen touchscreen iPod it is in Apple's best interest to deliver the functionality that satisifies the desire via the iPhone rather than the iPod. More revenue and pump up sales of the new unproven product, iPod functionality would be a bi
      • What I really want is a screen that I can read without taking off my polarized sunglasses.
        • Apple will pretty much have to deliver this with the iPhone beause of the portrait/landscape switching.
          • by soft_guy (534437)

            Apple will pretty much have to deliver this with the iPhone beause of the portrait/landscape switching.
            What does portrait/landscape switching have to do with polarized sunglasses?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by 644bd346996 (1012333)
              Most LCDs polarize the light in one direction. If you are wearing polarized sunglasses, you can only read the screen when the polarized light coming out of the LCD aligns with the filter in the sunglasses. If the light is polarized at a right angle to the direction of the filter, then the screen will appear pretty much black. Since the user interface involves modes with the screen being rotated by 90 degrees, a regular LCD would only be visible through sunglasses in one of the two modes.

              There are ways aroun
      • by Canthros (5769)
        IMO, YMMV, etc, etc: Convergence is overrated inasmuch as I don't need a PDA/phone/camera/music player/video player/heart monitor/glucometer/food pellet dispenser/etc. Combinations of functionality that make sense are actually fine. A video player that does double duty as a music player? Fine. My DVD player can do this already, and, in fact, so does my TiVo. A phone that syncs to a PIM and covers major PDA functionality (appointments, contact info, limited notes) is also fine (I don't need a smartphone, but
        • Consider the claw hammer: it can drive nails, and remove them (and act as a wrecking bar in a pinch). It does both of these things fairly well, even though it will never be a saw.

          Consider on the other hand a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman multitool. It's not going to be as good a knife/screwdriver/pliers/wire stripper as a tool dedicated to just a single purpose, but there's ENORMOUS value in only having to put one little thing in your pocket instead of carrying a whole toolchest around.
          • by Canthros (5769)
            I think you sort of get the point--and then ignore it. There is enormous value in being able to carry around a mediocre screwdriver/saw/knife/pliers/etc in one pocket instead of a toolbox containing good versions of each. Not so much that a carpenter lives his toolbox at home when he works, though.

            Besides, we're not (currently) discussing a situation where your metaphorical Leatherman would cover the functions of a dozen or more otherwise dedicated devices, however poorly, while taking up less space than an
      • "I think there is enourmous demand for a widscreen touch screen iPod."

        I look forward to meeting the demand for screen wipes as people try to read screens through a thick haze of fingerprints and crud.
    • The minor issue with building the iPod into the iPhone is space. I carry around just under 60GB of high quality music with me at any time, and the stuff I regularly listen to accounts for just over 17GB of that. Unless the iPhone 2G contains at least that much memory, I won't be using it as an MP3 player.
      • by imsabbel (611519)
        You "regularly" listen to about 2000 songs?
        I guess its all a relative thing, or are you listening 24/7?
  • Is it just me? Apple makes this hugely antcipated announcement for the iPhone that has more bells and whistles than any other phone, now you are going to keep the iPod on the cutting edge? My guess is that the iPod won't really evolve much until the technology gets cheaper. Why spend $500 on an iPhone, then turn around and spend another $500 on an iPod that has the same capabilities as a player? Sorry, but I will stick with my smartphone and my iPod Nano which costs about the same as an iPhone.
    • Because some people want an iPod and not an iPhone.

      Why spend $500 on an iPhone, then turn around and spend another $500 on an iPod that has the same capabilities as a player?

      Who is planning on doing that? Many people? Actually, I can see having the iPhone, but also a Nano for working out or some other situation where the phone my be too bulky.

      I like the I iPhone but [1] I really don't need *that* fancy of a cell phone and [2] Cingular can suck my hard one.

  • Even apple points out that the best selling ipods are the cheaper ones. I don't actually think it has anything to due with the form factor for the nano, its the price. The 200$ price point is a popular one, and apple should due whatever they can to keep increasing the desirability of the 200$ model.
  • Flash is getting cheaper, yes, but even the 32GB flash hard drive is still way more pricey than the spinning media version by an order of magnitude. An 80GB flash hard drive will probalby set you back the better part of $5k or so. Even at Apple's flash pricing, we're still looking north of a grand... and no, I won't give up my disk space. My iPod functions great as a general purpose portable hard disk (that also happens to play mp3s and videos).
    • You might want to check retail prices of flash drives. While a single card may be expensive in an 80GB size, the underlying memory is not. Nearly all flash formats in retail channels are available for about $10-15/GB at the sweet spot. That would be $600-900 for an equivalent amount of memory. Remember - a non-swappable device memory isn't limited to a stock form factor, and memory sizes are shrinking. I just got my first microSD card - 1GB for $12 - it's insanely small, and there is a 4GB model being relea
  • A full DVD holds 4.7GB, for lots of video at TV rez. If new iPods had wireless networking, even an iPhone, their Flash would be a cache. 4GB is already only $35, which sounds like a workable replacement for HDs in a networked environment.
  • My predictions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sootman (158191) on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:27PM (#17949418) Homepage Journal
    ...and I'm always right... ;-)

    - of course iPods will EVENTUALLY be flash-based, same way that LCDs have pretty much displaced CRTs in the computer monitor market. But it'll be a couple years at least. I'd say HD-based iPods will be with us until at least until Summer 2008. There's a big difference still between 2 GB, 8 GB, and 80 GB. Not everyone needs a ton of storage on an iPod, but some people really, really do, and they won't settle for smaller. Flash iPods are higher-capacity than the very first HD-based iPod, but that doesn't mean no one's buying the bigger ones. Apple can make plenty of money on 100 and 120 GB iPods before they've got to switch designs.

    - don't look for ANY new features (widescreen, touchscreen) in the iPod until AFTER the new iPhone is released--long after. Apple always introduces nice but expensive stuff and makes a ton of money off the early-adopting/big-spending crowd, then they release a version that's a bit better and/or cheaper and get the next round of people, and so on and so on and so on. Apple is going to get a lot of money from people who want a widescreen iPod by selling them the iPhone first. THEN they'll put out a widescreen/touch-based iPod. Since the iPhone comes out this summer, I doubt Apple will release a new iPod until Jan or Feb '08. Look at what they just did with the Shuffle--they released a new one last Fall, sold a bunch over Christmas, then, January 30, HEY! LOOK! COLORS! Raise your hand if you think Apple forgot that they know how to anodize aluminum when the new Shuffle was introduced last fall. Get all the money you can, improve, repeat.
  • I'm in web design mode, and read this as Adobe/Macromedia Flash, not flash memory. Imagine my relief upon realizing that wasn't what "All-Flash iPod Lineup" meant!

  • I call BS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by orb_fan (677056)
    From the article:

    Tortora explained that a 30GB of HDD-based iPod is sufficient for around 40 hours of video content, but only has about 3.5 hours of battery life for video playback. He added that replacing the hard drive with flash memory would allow for an increase of about 60 percent in battery life to 5.5 hours of video playback.

    Based on these numbers, 5.5 hours only needs about 4GB of flash, so if you really want this, combine both flash and HDD in the device - then simply move the video file to flash

  • http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml ;jsessionid=B2PRBFV3QLFISQSNDLSCKHA?articleID=1970 02923 [eetimes.com]
    This article was in My EE times yesterday. It talks about the rapidly falling price of Nand flash.
  • Samsung already has single chip 32GB flash as of September of last year and expect to hit 64GB this year. You can buy 16GB solutions already for less than $300 in onesy-twosy retail (and generally a chunk less for millions of them).

    There is no reason not to think 64GB of flash will be down to $300 retail Summer of '08.
  • by Sciros (986030) on Friday February 09, 2007 @12:47PM (#17949726) Journal
    ...and develop a Flash-memory-based, forearm-mounted computer with a 7"x2" (or 2.5") touch-sensitive screen. It's hard to fathom how much booty that would kick. iPods are great and all, and the iPhone is rubbish but a proper computer that basically turns you into a sci-fi techie all Predator-style actually interests me. Charging "bases" at home, office, and car means you can keep your art-mounted compy permanently charged.

    The screen would need to be that multi-point pressure-sensitive one that the Asian guy from NYU demonstrated recently... wish I remembered the link to the video for that...

    And yes there should be "future-proof" versions of various levels, with option including a laser cannon, self-destruct mechanism, retractable blade, Star Wars-style grappling hook, tranquilizer gun, mace spray, and spare tire.
  • If Apple were to make an iPod with a user interchangeable flash card such as a
    compact flash cartridge or a Memory stick the limitations of how much flash the unit held would be gone. Filled up your flash?, just remove it and plug in a new one. (Gee,which memory stick did I put that podcast on?). They'd have to put some flash in the unit soldered to the circuit board to hold the OS and user settings, only the music would be on the interchangeable flash. This would allow an infinite amount of storage, tho
  • If Apple decided to ditch their OS in flavor of the favor of the month: Adobe Flash, there would be a customer backlash you wouldn't believe. I didn't read the article, nor did I read the blurb up top. The subject said it all: IDIOTIC. Not to mention I don't think Apple would want to be at Adobe's mercy. So there!! ;P
  • "These new iPods will be cheaper than the hallucinogens I snort!"

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"

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