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Media (Apple) Media Businesses Apple

Apple Replaces B/W White iPods with Color Screens 113

FlameboyC11 writes "A quick check at the Apple online store shows no sign of the black-and-white screened 'white' iPods. The iPod Photo has replaced them in the 20GB and 60GB categories, but is keeping the same price scale ($300 for low end and $400 for high end). This seems like such a quick switch to color, perhaps a video player is coming faster than we think?"
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Apple Replaces B/W White iPods with Color Screens

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  • Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keesh ( 202812 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:22AM (#12939276) Homepage
    The CPU isn't fast enough. Heck, it has trouble with straight .ogg files (why oh why do ogg files have to hog so much CPU anyway?), any sane video would be beyond it.
    • ..yet.

      You know, it's not a far cry to add a new CPU, or a second CPU, now that they've upped the battery life to a steady 15 hours. Sure, video will drop it back to the 8 hour range, but that's the trade off.

      Oh, and DAMN IT ALL. I just had my iPod serviced and they replaced it with the equivalent 4th gen. Guess you can't always win ;)
      • Don't you mean a third CPU? The critter already is a SMP device... The only one I own, somehow.
        • Really? I thought the iPod was a single processor ARM7 derivative made by PortalPlayer called something like PP5020D (I'd Google it, but I've really got to be getting some sleep).

          Add an onboard MPEG-4 video decoder and you could also do some serious video work. Of course, both of these additions would drastically raise the price of the iPod, so this might be something they would introduce in the higher end first (like they did with the iPod Photo).

          It'll be interesting to see what happens for sure.
          • Your alphabet soup sounds close enough for this hour. (I concure very much with your sleeplessness.)

            All I know about it, is that when the ipod-linux port was started, it was somewhat difficult due to some unknown customizations/hacks that the cpu uses... It's some type of a dual-core setup, one dedicated to decoding audio, the other for UI things. Linux ARM code ran on it just fine, but the hardware needed both pieces to do its job right.

            That said, that was then, and not now, and things may have changed..
          • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

            by LKM ( 227954 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:35AM (#12939755) Homepage
            Really? I thought the iPod was a single processor ARM7 derivative made by PortalPlayer called something like PP5020D

            It seems the first three iPod generations had two 90 Mhz ARM7TDMI CPUs. The fourth, the mini and the photo have two 80 Mhz ARM7TDMI. This information is brought to you by this page [].

            wikipedia [] agrees:

            The first three generations of iPod use two ARM7TDMI-derived CPUs running at 90 MHz, while later models have variable speed chips with a peak of 80 MHz to save battery life.
      • DAMN IT ALL. I just had my iPod serviced and they replaced it with the equivalent 4th gen. Guess you can't always win ;)

        Thought you might find this funny. From today's issue of The Onion []

        Dead iPod Remembered As Expensive
        VENTURA, CA--A third-generation, 30-GB iPod, serial number AP356372, died early Monday morning at age 2. "I'll never forget all the great music it used to play during my workouts," said the late iPod's owner Sarah Zartman at a brief memorial held over the junk drawer. "It was convenie

    • Huh? I thought ogg/vorbis was supposed to consume less CPU than, say, decoding MP3s?
    • Re:Nope (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ZackSchil ( 560462 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:06AM (#12940136)
      Yes. The iPod is certainly incapable of playing video. []
      • Re:Nope (Score:2, Informative)

        by Synbiosis ( 726818 )
        Except that has no practical use. People would use the slideshow with a soundtrack option, and would move the scrollwheel as fast as they could so they could get motion.

        I think they got something like 10 or 15 FPS... And I doubt you could keep up a consistent rate of motion for any longer than a minute.
    • To be fair, sane video is out of the question with a screen that small.

      The greyscale iPods were capable of playing video. But with a higher bit depth I don't know if the color iPods will be similarly capable.
  • About Time Too! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:28AM (#12939297)
    The colour interface looks so good on the iPod Photo models that there's just no excuse for it not to be across the whole line.

    Sure, you don't actually *need* colour if you just want to listen to music, but it's more vibrant, more dynamic and fits better with the look of OS X.

    And the brick game looks a little nicer too. I was hoping for Arkanoid, but there you go. ... but a video player? I don't want the iPod in its current form to play video. I just can't imagine anything looking good on a miniscule screen like that, but I can imagine what that'd do to a hard drive that relies on large RAM caching rather than sustained reads.

    A video iPod would have to be very large to be worthwhile (I'm more than doubtful of the video success of the new Sony PSP, but it'll take a while for the results to come in on that). A large unit contradicts what the iPod is all about - a small, convenient device for a single purpose.

    Lastly - I don't see why people want video while they're out and about. Audio I can understand - you can easily walk around and listen to music. Video? I look forward to the first hysterical warnings brought on by teens walking accidentally into traffic while watching their PSPs. You just can't watch video and do other things. It's too intrusive.
    • Re:About Time Too! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by _undan ( 804517 ) <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:56AM (#12939420)
      Think outside the little box.

      The iPod Photo plugs into the video-in jack on your TV and displays the images on there.

      The iPod also has stereo audio out. Duh.
      iTunes has started selling video content. But why?

      Put the pieces together.

      It may not be for a while, but I would bet money that we'll see iPods that are capable of playing QT7 HD/MPEG4 video through a standard RCA AV cable when plugged into a Televison.

      • I did think of that, but then I couldn't find a compelling reason to buy video content, put it on an expensive iPod and transport that to somewhere I can plug into a TV when instead I could just buy a DVD of the content and take that with me.

        It's not hard to think of specific uses, but I can't think of good, general uses that show reasonable value.
        • Re:About Time Too! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tooth ( 111958 )
          Use in meeting presentations where you don't want a full laptop, just plug straight into a data prjector? I wonder why they haven't done a keynote -> ipod interface yet? I guess you could do them as jpgs on the ipod photo?
      • Re:About Time Too! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by _undan ( 804517 ) <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:00AM (#12939447)
        Oh, and before anyone asks: "Where do we get the video from?", think about it:

        iMovie now supports HD video, as does iDVD, and QuickTime 7.

        I know that I would rather edit, export a HD movie, dump it on my iPod and bring it over to a friend's place to preview than waste time burning DVDs of rough cuts.

        This shit is cool. And it fits in well with the way Apple seem to be going with iLife.
        • Re:About Time Too! (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Plus, the H.264 codec [] is supposed to be "highly scalable", so it would be quite natural, IMO, for Apple to start offering methods for the entire range of use. They've already got the HD side pretty well covered, and a video iPod would be perfect for the "mobile" end of the codec.
      • Nope - it'll probably be (As mentioned by As Seen On TV, though he hasn't been around lately) an update of the Airport Express, with an S-video out or something similar.
      • Think outside the little box.

        The use of the expression "outside the box," ironically, is so businessspeak cliche that it's become a sign of conventional thinking.

        (That said, I do agree that some signs are out there. Personally I'd suspect Apple wanted to sell a sort of iPod cradle/set-top box instead, not fold video into the main iPod line. Be a good product line to hold them over for the intel chip CPUs.)

    • Gut feeling: it's cheap to add, and the "photo" feature of the iPod photo is considered a "nice-to-have" that will generally improve the odds of the standard iPod selling (by people who like to carry around a lot of photos to show relatives and friends, for example. If my fiance didn't have a job that required being on the phone a lot, I'd be getting her one) without necessarily being capable of selling itself in a more expensive model.

      I can see why a $500 "iPod Photo" couldn't sell, but I think a $299 mo

      • Re:About Time Too! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @09:00AM (#12940551)
        Gut feeling: it's cheap to add

        I'll go one further and speculate that they reached the point where adding it to the low-end model was probably cheaper than keeping the B&W screens around.

        This way, they have one stock display part going into all full-sized iPods. Less inventory management is usually a good thing.
    • I think Apple should make an iPod video. Even if the market isn't huge. PSP video discs are surprising everyone's wildest expectations. The best argument against it, IMO is the copyright issues, to get the content people want on such a device, generally requires software that is against the copy protection circumvention laws.

      And yes, I don't think the current tiny screen would work well, which I'd suggest using the 320x480 screens used on some Palms, T5, and the Tapwave, because those screens are beauti
    • A video iPod would have to be very large to be worthwhile (I'm more than doubtful of the video success of the new Sony PSP, but it'll take a while for the results to come in on that). A large unit contradicts what the iPod is all about - a small, convenient device for a single purpose.

      I agree that video on an iPod-sized screen would be a bit painful, but I think the PSP screen is just big enough. What I think might end up being the biggest hurdle for PSP as a video device is the idea of buying separate me

  • Why is this news? Oh yeah, it's not.

    Just moving to color screens for all the 'big' iPods is not new.

    I have an iPod. I love it. But Apple has been really complacent with it's development for the last while. Then again, it's poor PPC faithful are in even worse shape (I have no problem with the x86 switchover, but in the mean time almost their entire PPC line is desperate for updates).

    Complacentcy will kill ya. Look out Apple. For the 'kings of innovation' there isn't much to see for the last while.
    • Kinda shows that they're listening to the customers. I grumbled when I saw the price of the iPod Colors, and I wanted one so badly, but there was no way I could afford it, and settled with the iPod deal that came with my iBook.

      I'd say they're cooking a lot more inside of Apple; this is still major revision 4 of the iPod. Gen 5 could bring us a whole host of things we weren't expecting (bluetooth remote? sync to cell? wifi? bigger color screen? video?). The options are really limitless. This is just more
      • > Kinda shows that they're listening to the customers.

        Can you replace the battery? Especially now that there's a color screen to drain even more of it?
        • I don't believe in the need to. By the time my battery dies, I'll be ready to purchase a new one. Apple expects the same from you. If you have a problem with that, tough. Apple's got a system you can send in and have them replace your battery for you, if you'd like.

          If you care so much about user replaceable batteries, use some other player.
    • >But Apple has been really complacent with it's development for the last while.

      "for the last while"? sounds like someone wants to make a point but has no facts or evidence so just uses meaningless vague language. congratulations, pick up your MBA on the way out.
    • Agreed. They've mostly been doing software stuff; AAC, iTMS, photos, library sharing, shuffle, etc. The only thing of note they've released is the iPod Shuffle in the last year; of course Apple is milking their products for as much as they can, so it's not all bad.

      Last year was the iPod mini, this year is the iPod shuffle, so it's not as if there's a drought. If they don't release a new 'high end' model next year, then Apple will be forced by market economics to play the volume game, because prices can onl
      • Complacentcy will kill ya. Look out Apple. For the 'kings of innovation' there isn't much to see for the last while.

        The only thing of note they've released is the iPod Shuffle in the last year

        What the hell are you and the GP talking about?? Apple has done a crapload this year. They released iLife 05, iWork, Tiger (a signifigant upgrade to the Mac OS), and probably more software I'm forgetting; They released the Mac Mini, they have updated (if I recall) every one of their computer lines (for instance
        • Sorry, I wasn't too clear that I was only talking about mp3 players.

          Of course I was pretty specific in only mentioning the iPod, iPod mini, and iPod shuffle, and the article talks about iPods...

          So if we narrow the conversation to only mp3 players, yes, Apple is taking their sweet time (complacent). I expect another revision of the iPod with the new ARM core powering the mini, giving them a good battery life improvement without changing anything else.

          Then if we don't see some real 'improvement' there is t
  • They also updated the U2 edition to the color screen, and the price is now only $30 over the default iPod price of 299.

    I like the U2 edition's colors, but it just wouldn't match my snowflake iBook. :)
    • I would love a black iPod , I just really don't like U2 and don't fancy paying 30 more for music i don't want and U2 branding.
      • Re:By the way... (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You can buy coloured skins for iPods, or even buy iPods that have been repainted for you [] if you really want a black or different coloured one.

        Of course, it does come at a higher price (though sans U2 branding).

        Cheapest alternative: one iPod, a Sharpie, and lots of patience :)

  • Visualizer (Score:5, Funny)

    by cappadocius ( 555740 ) <cappadocius&vampirethemasquerade,com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:45AM (#12939377)
    Screw movies. Where's my iPod Visualizer? iTunes is great and all, but does Apple really expect me to be in view of my computer every time I get stoned? £:-)
  • Ah! I love technology. I love companies upgrading their product lines because technology gets more and more affordable.

    Now. I'm a big Apple fan... But I think that the iPod is getting quite too popular. I can't go walking without seeing 10 people with it... Ahh!

    And no, I don't have an iPod. It's price is quite too high for my budget.
    • See, here's the logic:

      Good product -> Popularity.
      Popularity -> Volume
      Volume -> Affordability
      Affordability -> Popularity

      So the longer you wait, the more affordable it will get; however, it will get to the point, as it is more affordable, that you can't go walking without seeing 20 people with it.

      iPod minis are only $149 from the Apple sale store (these are the older last year models, with 8 hour battery, instead of the new 16 hour battery).
  • Perhaps a video player is coming faster than we think

    I don't know how fast you think its coming - but I think it will be a cold day in Cupertino before we see one of those.

    A coulour screen is one thing but even the photo functionality on the iPod itself hasn't caught on. It seems that the most common use (and even this isn't common) is actually to hook the iPod up to a TV to show off the photos, not on the dinky little screen of the iPod. Video would be an order of magnitude worse.

    • It seems like the entire photo functionality is kind of an "oh yeah, it can do this too" that Apple added after they put a color screen on the iPod. The real reason for the color screen was probably a) to look kewl and b) so that the iPod could display album art in color (also cool!).
  • that will be the device that plays back purchased videos from the iTunes Video store.

    it can hold a tiny h.264 decoder chip from Texas Instruments, and can have a DVI/HDMI/S-VHS output to connect to your plasma/LCD/Standard TV. It also, of course, already has the audio output.

    Charge $150 for it - that's a duable price - and stream HD and SD h.264 content you've bought from the iTunes Video store - bamo.

    You're watching movies and TV shows you've paid $2 a piece for - instead of waiting for the DVD to come
  • i think that this is great. i have been wanting an ipod photo only because of the color screens but now i dont even have to go there. my friend has an ipod photoo and left it at my house today- i have been looking at the pictures, and they suck because the screen is so small. as far as video goes, i think they'll go to touch screens -meaning larger screen and no dial thing- before they do video. and even then, video will take up a shitload of battery so they better fix that before they go video. my ideal
  • Some other tidbits (Score:5, Informative)

    by MadMoses ( 151207 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:09AM (#12939694) Homepage
    The iPod photos have lost the "photo" part of their name.

    The 30GB iPod is no more.

    The 1GB iPod shuffle is only $129 from now on.
  • More interesting is apples bid to end this non-corporate podcasting craze. By updating the iTunes store and software yesterday to promote and supply podcasts they have effectively brought the craze to an end. See how no non-commerical podcasts can survive the battering that millions of curious users have unleased upon them. More impressive even than a slashdotting!

    Seriously though, this has rendered my favourite podcasts, with the exception of the BBC's Today programme and From Our Own Correspondant, co
    • The sooner a peer-peer solution for podcasting is found the better.

      Bittorrent should work fine. And don't forget works with any slashdotted resource.
      • a bit-torrent solution would be fine, but it needs to be an integrated solution to give the podcasters mass market access. If iTunes could automatically accept, process and download podcasts from a torrent without the user having to intervene at any point we would definately have a winner on our hands. And, perhaps, sufficient legitimate use (properly marketed, of course) to keep the RIAA from being able to sue bit-torrents creators for supporting piracy!

        • If iTunes could automatically accept, process and download podcasts from a torrent without the user having to intervene at any point we would definately have a winner on our hands.

          If you want it automatic, write an Applescript that nyud-net-ifies the URL of the podcast.

          Otherwise, you'll want to make the torrent client a proxy (listening, say, on port 6161) that recognises URLs of podcasts that have torrents available and fetches them, otherwise just do the regular lookup... and then set your network prox
        • I've seen atleast one Podcast download util that can utilize a normal torrent ecapsulation.

          I've also seen more than one plug-in for Bittorent clients to check a RSS feed and start queue up any torrents in the feed.

          The solution is there, it's just getting people to use it.
  • Driving a color screen uses up much more batteries then a simple B&W one does. Personally I would prefer increased battery life - I don't feel the need for color in my music player.

    Good thing I already have an iPod ;-). Also, this announcement didn't mention the iPod mini. I assume they are still B&W?

    • Yes, the mini is still in black and white, and there wasn't a price-cut either.
    • Driving a color screen uses up much more batteries then a simple B&W one does. Personally I would prefer increased battery life - I don't feel the need for color in my music player.

      Actually, the new color iPods tout 15-hour battery lives. I don't know what the previous iPod photos had, but my B&W 20 GB iPod from the last line claims 12 hours. Sounds like an improvement to me.

      • And just imagine if they had used their new improved battery with the B&W screens. You'd have even more then 15 hours then.
        • I doubt it. They base those run times on setting a continuous playlist and then see where it dies, and then average it for the life of the pod. The screen after a few seconds of starting the playlist in both ipod color and b/w are just changing a few pixes a second (song title and track position), hardly costing anything in terms of battery life. No backlight is being used, and no songs played that have not been pre-buffered (no fast hard drive spins)
  • by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:38AM (#12939768) Homepage
    Lets assume that I can buy video from iTMS. Do I buy a video that fills my nice 20" widescreen (1080i), or do I buy one that suites my iPod (480p)?

    Being Apple its going to come in H.264. Thats great. I love playing back H.264. What I don't love is encoding it. It took me over 24 hours to encode a 2 hour DVD. As my G5 can only just handle playing 1080i there seems little chance of an iPod handling it in the near future (hell, my powerbook can't do it). So do I download the 1080i then re-encode for my iPod, or do I download the 1080i version and get the 480p version for free? I don't think so. It seems more likely that Apple will charge us twice, or not offer the 1080i version. As for re-encoding, that seems unlikely too - unless the iPod has re-encoder built into it.

    As this is obviously a post designed to generate speculation...

    iTMS is not a good place to get movies. A good movie requires 2 hours on continuos attention, and on average I'll watch a purchased DVD twice. Music can be enjoyed in the background and I'll listen to a good song twice a day for a month. DVD is not even like books. In general, you can (even though its hard) put a good book down at any point and still enjoy it as much. Also, DVD take up too much space. iTunes is good, because I don't have to look for a CD anymore. Everything is in one place and instantly accessable. To be equivalent, 1080 would require home users to have close to 1TB of storage. Not unlikely, but not now.

    iTMS is a great place for TV. I wouldn't mind picking up a 480p TV show. I watch TV exactly once. I know this, so I don't mind deleting it once I'm done - it hurt at first, but I haven't regretted it once (I'm a natural hoarder). I consume TV differently to DVD. I wouldn't mind there being advertisements. I wouldn't mind them tracking my viewing habits and giving me adverts that I want. I would like to be able to tell my iPod that I'm interested in a product and to add the products site to my 'adverts' bookmark folder. In this respect I'd expect Apple to step into the same role as a conventional network - just with a much larger audience. But in return I'd expect the content to be free. They could sell me an add free 1080i, as long as it had no adverts and I was free to burn it to Blu-ray and the cost was similar to a song. File size aside - $5 for a 60 minute show, that I watch once seems expensive - $20 a month all you can eat, now your talking.
    • Am I the only one that thinks distributing full HD content over the internet is a ridiculous concept? Not only are the storage requirments unrealistic as you mentioned, but sending a cool gig or two down a pipe regularly for this purpose is obscene.

      The reality of this is that h264 is a scalable codec and whats going to be in primary focus is short films, video clips and television shows formatted for mobile viewing, ie. possibly less than 480.

      Personally I think the video store will be as relevant as t
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:06AM (#12939974) Journal
      Firstly, I don't believe a Video iPod makes any sense. The only time it would make sense would be if iTMS offered video and the iPod had video and audio out so you could play on a big screen. This would probably require some sort of dedicated dock, so you didn't have to deal with cables every time you wanted to watch something.

      H.264 is designed to be scalable. It is designed to be playable on mobile phones at the low end, and scale up past HDTV at the high end. If an iPod were to support video, then it would include a dedicated H.264 decoder chip. These are relatively cheap and low power.

      As to the resolution question, H.264 is wavelet based. This means that you start off with a low quality image (e.g. 2x2) and then progressively apply additional wavelets to it until you have something that closely resembles the original image. You can adjust the quality and bit-rate by deciding how many iterations through this process are done. If you were copying video to the iPod for watching on the iPod (which, as I said, I think is quite a silly idea anyway) then you could simply[1] remove the highest detail wavelets from the stream, which could be done orders of magnitude faster than decompressing and recompressing the entire stream. This process (i/o permitting) would actually be faster than playback, since all you need to do is an inverse-quantisation, a cut and a write, rather than actually decoding the video.

      [1] Well, non-trivially.

  • Cheaper (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Punboy ( 737239 )
    Actually, they probably did it because its cheaper to use one screen across every iPod then to have two different screens, especially since there are also differences in the way the color screens have to be hooked up... they probably had two almost completely separate manufacturing lines, due to this. By switching them all to color, they can make every ipod on the same manufacturing line, throw certain amounts of ipods into a specialized manufacturing section that puts in the right drive.
    • I would tend to agree with that. My new cell phone has a color screen and near as I can tell the only thing that the color screen is useful for is to have a prettier user interface. The phone has no games or a camera. Warning! Verzion rant to follow..... If I want to change the background picture, I have to choose one that Verizon has for download and cough up $1.99. Not that I need that or a screen saver on my phone.
  • I thought it was a great idea, instead of having a giant iPhoto library taking up space on the hard drive, keep all your images on the iPod.... but it doesn't store the images in the original, highest resolution... so it becomes not even a good back up device

    that being said, I wish I had one

  • Have the managed to keep the same thickness as the previous non-Photo iPods? One of the reasons I didn't spring for one before (aside of the insanely high price) was the fact that it was quite a bit larger and heavier than the others. A fraction of an inch doesn't sound like much, but in your hand it definitely felt bulkier.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The 20GB/color is the same thickness (and, I believe, weight) as the 30GB/color. Which is kind of a shame; I'd have thought they should've dumped the 20GB configuration altogether and dropped the price on the 30GB/color. But having handled both, I think that the extra thickness of the 20/30GB/color models is minimal and acceptable (compared to the thickness of the 40/60GB monsters). In fact, I was toying with the idea of buying myself a 30GB iPod photo to replace my current 4G/20GB in a few months (passi
  • If you're ESPN, are you rushing to podcast your content so that your audience can listen off-line, where your web ads don't reach?

    No, you are not.

    But what if your ads display on this nice color screen?

  • Say, any word/rumours on the iPod Mini receiving this upgrade?
  • When I try to sync Rocket Boom to my color iPod using the latest version of iTunes (3.9) - I get the error that "this iPod model does not support video"...
  • Of course something big is about to happen, and video may be it. Remember, the iPod is only half of the iTunes / iPod combination punch, and iTunes just hit version 4.9. That means the next revision, 5.0, is going to most likely include something big. I can't see Apple being the kind of company that'll release a new major version of iTunes without something big under the hood. Video may be it.
  • Ah, another advance in pretty, but questionably useful technology. Excuse me, but I'm not a gadget-o-phile, and I'm not sure what the big deal with a color screen is. It looks nice - does the iPod actually work any better?

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.