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The next ten years of iPods & iTunes

post #1 of 20
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Apple celebrated three ten year anniversaries in 2011, making this year its first full year in its second decade of Mac OS X development, iPod devices and iTunes, and its retail operations, even as the company takes on new business categories ranging from iAd to iCloud to Siri. Here's a look at where the company is headed for its next decade of iTunes and iPod connected devices.

The rapid advance of iPod and iTunes

Apple launched the original iPod in October of 2001, almost a year after launching its new iTunes that January. The two initially served as a "killer app" for the Mac, joining iMovie as a creative content feature for which the Mac could serve as a "digital hub." The iPod itself was named after its ability to encapsulate content from that digital hub to deliver while mobile.

Across the past decade, Apple built the iPod and its desktop software companion iTunes into two major businesses: iPod device sales and an iTunes ecosystem for content. Adding music sales to iTunes rapidly made Apple the largest merchant of music and a major player in the music industry, increasingly pushing the conservative record labels to accept new business models they were first resistant to, then benefitted from tremendously, from per-song sales to DRM-free music downloads to local Home Sharing and cloud connected iTunes Match libraries.



Apple then added TV shows, music videos and movies, then enhanced iTunes digital downloads with easy to develop, HTML5-based iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content.



By making albums and movies into attractive multimedia packages with bonus content, Apple has positioned its digital content as an alternative successor to DVDs, with advantages in mobile portability, cloud access, and the ability to wirelessly distribute content from iTunes or iOS apps using AirPlay to BaseStations or Apple TV.



Apple also embraced Podcasting, making iTunes the central repository for freely available audio and video content created by any publisher. Apple also initiated iTunes U to enable universities and other organizations to digitally distribute their educational content, much of which is made freely available to everyone as a multimedia library of over 600 million digital downloads from over 1000 institutions in 123 countries. Apple has since added iBooks and Newsstand subscription content, and is expected to soon make a splash in distributing electronic textbooks.



Apple has added value for users by building new iTunes features ranging from simple playlists to automated Genius "DJ" playback, Genius playlist creation and Genius shopping suggestions for its increasingly sophisticated content market; adding playback music visualizations and content browser features ranging from Smart Playlists to CoverFlow; and developing a Twitter-integrated social network for sharing comments and following music and video suggestions of others in Ping.



iTunes also originated as the way to activate and setup the iPhone and later the iPad, acting as a central hub for content and data sync, device backup and software updates. At the same time, iTunes expanded to become the apps library for iOS software. iTunes has since migrated into iOS devices themselves in the form of the iTunes and App Store iOS apps, enabling users to buy apps, music and other content directly from their device and then manage their playback through the Music and Videos apps.

On page 2 of 2: iTunes enters the cloud, the next decade of iPod and iTunes

iTunes enters the cloud

By the end of its first decade, iTunes had morphed from a central Mac OS application into a cloud based service that could be access from any account-connected system or device. With iTunes Match, Apple negotiated the rights to give users flexible download rights to their music, regardless of where it had originally been obtained.

In iOS 5, users don't even need a PC running iTunes to set up, sync or backup their iOS devices any more, although they still can link to and stream or share their content between their iTunes libraries or to AirPort connected speakers or Apple TV-connected displays via AirPlay technology.



Similarly, iCloud offers free document, data, photos and content purchase availability between a user's Macs and iOS devices, with Apple having shifted the hub from a central computer to the company's own network hosted servers. From its initial cloud offerings, Apple will be able to expand into new location based service typified by Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac and the related Find My Friends.



The next decade of iPod and iTunes

iTunes will continue to evolve over the next decade alongside the descendants of the iPod as Apple delivers its third generation iPad expected later in this quarter, as well as new iPhones and iPod touch models later with year with enhancements in their capabilities and features.



Already, Apple has edged into mobile carriers' business models with FaceTime and iMessage, converting mobile-only paid videoconferencing and SMS services into free Internet features that are compatible with PCs and devices lacking a telephony mobile link (and a mobile contract). Those features are now leaking over into iOS' desktop counterpart of Mac OS X, where FaceTime has already become a major feature and iMessage is expected to appear soon as well. In the opposite direction, third party IM features appear headed to iOS from Mac OS X's iChat app, using the same secured and efficient push notifications system that drives iMessage.

Apple has also taken a bite of the Internet ad revenue that has been virtually monopolized by Google over the past decade, first by introducing iAd as a way to monetize iOS apps without a third party middleman, and secondly by offering a direct connection to information services including local search, stocks, weather and research that similarly bypasses Google via the Siri voice assistant, a service that is likely to find its way to the iPad and eventually the Mac.

Apple is also likely to further extend its range of devices and services into new areas in the manner it has already done with making the iPod nano a programmable watch face, having researched the realm of wearable devices and created a platform for connecting to devices like Nike+ and a new crop of micro-peripherals using Bluetooth 4.0.

Other efforts in the pipeline regarding iTunes and iPod/iOS devices include "tap to pay" features using Bluetooth-like NFC, something Google tried to address last year in Android but hasn't yet gone mainstream; new mapping and location services technologies; new iCloud services and web applications being developed alongside new Siri voice features; new advances in flash memory chips and SoCs following the A5.



Outside of its existing, conventional products, Apple could expand the role of its iPod touch by giving it an expanded 4 to 6 inch screen to offer a direct competitor to handheld gaming devices and general purpose mini-tablets like the Kindle Fire, which are too small to offer an iPad-like tablet environment, but suitable for playing smartphone-style games, a market Apple currently owns, thanks to its unified support for 3D game development (a mess on Android), its strong App Store, and its efforts to promote multiplayer gaming with Game Center.



iTunes continues to push content producers to liberalize their policies to support new business models. Among Apple's future goals is an effort to get movie studios to go along with its plans to offer downloadable Purchases like its other content; additional movie and TV sharing options, higher resolution movies, and a wider variety of rental content options. Apple also appears interested in pushing podcasting and original content creation, as well as serving as a more flexible source for professional content than today's cable TV providers.

Apple also likely wants to develop Ping, enabling new options for sharing and discovering content and the ability to share playlists. While Apple does not appear interested in entering the "social network" business of collecting users and selling their data, Apple could evolve Ping into a way for users to microblog their thoughts, share photos from their iCloud Photo Stream, and promote their original works from iMovie and GarageBand.

Apple is also likely to take some of its online and retail store app expertise and use it to drive iPod touch and iPad use among other retailers as shopping assistants. So far, it's kept its internal apps as private as the WebObjects technology it reserves for its own retail and iTunes Store operations. But Apple is likely to want to start sharing this, perhaps monetizing its mobile software by taking a retail cut of sales that are made through its apps and devices, taking a page from Amazon.

This year also marks the first year of the second decade of Apple's retail store operation, the future of which will be outlined in part three.

The next ten years of Mac OS X
The next ten years of iPod and iTunes
The next ten years of Apple Retail
post #2 of 20
My Wish list for Apples iPod/iTunes (And I guess ATV since they mentioned it)


-Apple TV to offer HBO Go, Pandora (or Slacker or Last FM or any streaming music app), 1080p Streaming, and Siri microphone in the remote (or allow for use through phone). Also- Give it Airport Express functions that allow for Airplay and, if possible, a Wifi Extender.


-iPod Nano with Bluetooth and microphone so I can access my phone's notifications and certain functions (like Siri) while using it as a watch (or clip).


-7" Large iPod for more portability and easier typing in portrait than the iPad.


-iTunes Match for Movies and TV.



All possible within the next 2 years- not the next 10.... my brain doesn't work that far out.

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #3 of 20
Some day Apple might ship an iPod sticker. About the same size and weight as a postage stamp, powered by ambient light, 100% recyclable, and free. Just stick it on your temple and it would broadcast 5.1 audio directly into your brain. You'd be able to choose songs, fast forward, and buy content through iTunes by voice using the "traditional" Siri interface or simply by thinking certain phrases.

Eventually, maybe 30 years from now, Apple could solve the 3-d movie problem once and for all. The problem, of course, is trying to fake a 3-d image using glasses and a screen at a fixed distance from the viewers' seats. It only simulates 3-d. Apple could extend the iPod sticker's broadcast technology to send video signals directly to your brain. "Movies" would simulate what you actually see through your two eyes (plus or minus the occasional zoom or other camera technique). It would be the end of home theater as we know it, because you'd close your eyes to "watch" a 3-d movie. No big-screen TV needed.

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #4 of 20
My wish list for iTunes - combine family Apple IDs and allow seamless media/app sharing between them.
post #5 of 20
I wonder how expensive it would be to add itunes match to an airport express as part of the "demotion" of the pc. I know I can use airplay to stream from my iphone to an airport express or, alternatively, use remote to stream from my computer to an airport express. But the first is somewhat taxing on the phone and the second becomes less attractive if pcs really do stop acting as central repositories.

Buying a dedicated match device solely for music seems unlikely to succeed but it could work as a bonus feature of an airport express (controlled through remote, naturally). Sort of the way itunes match is a small feature of apple tv.
post #6 of 20
I still remember my first iPod - I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I got it. I was making a three week trip to Brazil in March of 2002 to visit friends and do some sightseeing, and I was thinking of ways I could entertain myself on the 10 hour flight.

Before this I had a laptop, but it was huge Dell monstrosity that I had no intention of lugging on a airplane -- the thing seriously weighed about 12 pounds (my other computer was a PowerMac). My other option was to carry around my travel case of CD's and bring a Discman with me. But then I thought about how much space that would take up, and then the issue of batteries, and convenience, etc ... nothings more fun than changing CD's in the middle of a flight.

I don't know if a lot of people remember what things were like before the iPod came around.

I had this gym MP3 player that was made by Sony or Samsung or something (I honestly don't even remember anymore), but the thing was a pain in the A to use ... not to mention syncing songs to it. And it had about enough storage to load around 50 songs on it (it was about the size of a miniature doughnut). The thing sucked ... to say the least.

Then I saw the iPod ... all I had to do was rip all my CD's to iTunes, and then I could carry my entire music collection in my pocket. It was a no brainer. Took a while to actually rip my entire CD collection, but since then there's been no turning back.

I remember sitting on the plane, and throughout my entire three week trip, I could pull out my iPod scroll through my entire music library and listen to anything I wanted anytime I wanted. It was pure heaven ... and so simple to use.

Two of my cousins who came with me on the trip bought iPods just weeks after we returned to the United States.

Of course now we have iPhones and iPads ... I not only can carry more music in an easier to carry device, but I can also bring along all my movies, TV shows, podcasts, photos, video games, etc ...

Can't wait to see where the future is taking us with our devices ...
post #7 of 20
What happened to iTunes LP and Extras for iPad?

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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blursd View Post

I don't know if a lot of people remember what things were like before the iPod came around

I had a disc man with 3 seconds disc skip protection. Then, I sprung for the 10 second disc skip protection.

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #9 of 20
A Steve Jobs commemorative iPod Classic. Black with clue click wheel and a turtle neck and denim iPod holder.
An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #10 of 20
I currently don't buy any of my music from iTunes, instead choosing to purchase a CD copy and then rip it to my iTunes library. If they started offering 320kVBR quality or (I dare hope) an Apple Lossless version, I'd buy all my music via iTunes. Also, despite the fact that you can stream your library via iTunes match, I be all over a 128GB iPod Touch. Speaking of the iPod touch, I'd totally go for a 5"-6" version.
post #11 of 20
There's so much music that the art has lost its meaning.
All thanks to the digital revolution.
I don't listen to it anymore.

What is the future of music?
If you ask me - music that matters.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

There's so much music that the art has lost its meaning.
All thanks to the digital revolution.
I don't listen to it anymore.

What is the future of music?
If you ask me - music that matters.

Well, you could say the same thing about books, and nothing much has changed there since the Gutenburg press...

There is a *lot* of crap, but there are definitely gems among the junk. You just have to look for it.

Music is the food of the soul palegolas. Don't give up on it!

Jimzip
"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
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"There's no time like the present, and the only present you'll never get, is time." - Me
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post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

There's so much music that the art has lost its meaning.
All thanks to the digital revolution.
I don't listen to it anymore.

What is the future of music?
If you ask me - music that matters.

Not sure what your tastes are, but there are several good artists that are getting recognition. Bon iver, Adele, Florence + the machine, amongst others. Local bands.

Where I see iTunes messing up music a lot is that we are all about singles, and not the albums. People don't throw on Marvin Gayes what's going on and give it a full listen start to finish. My business partner had his kid and a few of his friends that were 16-17, and I asked them what kind of music they liked- Ke$ha and drake. Couldn't name one of their songs if you paid me. I assure you they have their singles on the iPhones and not the albums. The worst thing they said (all of them)- "who is bob Dylan?". Needless to say they hated it- I'm 28 btw. Not some old dude (although in their eyes....)

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #14 of 20
my bet for the next iPod breakthrough is a Nano Wristwatch/Video Phone. not just a clip-on adaptation of today's Nano like some do now, but the real deal: a iPod Nano + cell phone with FaceTime camera too, and Bluetooth headset for audio/mic. all voice controlled of course via Siri, and all media streamed via the iTunes cloud, with battery and antenna integrated into the wrist band. i think it is technically possible now, it's just getting the manufacturing cost down, perfecting the software, and getting a fair deal out of the telcos - all of which Apple is the world's best at getting done.

it would be a sensation. i'd buy the Rolex model just for the hell of it.
post #15 of 20
Apple celebrated three ten year anniversaries in 2011, making 2012 its first full year in its second decade of Mac OS X development, iPod devices and iTunes.
post #16 of 20
Just excellent! Most enjoyable to read! Thx
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blursd View Post

I still remember my first iPod - I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I got it. I was making a three week trip to Brazil in March of 2002 to visit friends and do some sightseeing, and I was thinking of ways I could entertain myself on the 10 hour flight.

Before this I had a laptop, but it was huge Dell monstrosity that I had no intention of lugging on a airplane -- the thing seriously weighed about 12 pounds (my other computer was a PowerMac). My other option was to carry around my travel case of CD's and bring a Discman with me. But then I thought about how much space that would take up, and then the issue of batteries, and convenience, etc ... nothings more fun than changing CD's in the middle of a flight.

I don't know if a lot of people remember what things were like before the iPod came around.

I had this gym MP3 player that was made by Sony or Samsung or something (I honestly don't even remember anymore), but the thing was a pain in the A to use ... not to mention syncing songs to it. And it had about enough storage to load around 50 songs on it (it was about the size of a miniature doughnut). The thing sucked ... to say the least.

Then I saw the iPod ... all I had to do was rip all my CD's to iTunes, and then I could carry my entire music collection in my pocket. It was a no brainer. Took a while to actually rip my entire CD collection, but since then there's been no turning back.

I remember sitting on the plane, and throughout my entire three week trip, I could pull out my iPod scroll through my entire music library and listen to anything I wanted anytime I wanted. It was pure heaven ... and so simple to use.

Two of my cousins who came with me on the trip bought iPods just weeks after we returned to the United States.

Of course now we have iPhones and iPads ... I not only can carry more music in an easier to carry device, but I can also bring along all my movies, TV shows, podcasts, photos, video games, etc ...

Can't wait to see where the future is taking us with our devices ...

Great story. Thx for sharing. I remember buying an internal cd burner for some POS widows box I had way back when and trying to burn CDs...I must have ruined 3-5 blank CDs to get one that was usable. I paid $300 for the burner...felt like a real idiot. Now after owning just about every sshuffle, and a few iterations of the impossibly thin nanos, I've had every model of the iPhone and have never looked back...all th iPods were given to my young nieces who all loved them and are now proud owners of touches and in college with MacBooks....their parents are all windows users because they thought they have an idiot brother who likes Apples! Oh well, I know, " let it go!"
post #18 of 20
I'd like to see more retailers adopt the iOS platform for their PDAs, like what Lowes did a few months ago. In order for more to adopt I think apple needs to develop that software more and offer business solutions for any size business that wants to have an alternative to expensive clunky interface PDAs made by symbol or Motorola.

Lowes adopted iPhones for their scanners but I dont see why they wouldnt want to use iPod touches instead, maybe something about the GPS and tracking the devices if they get lost? But compared to the Symbol scanners ($1500-$3000 each) iPod touches and or iPhones are a way more affordable solution. And repair costs are a lot less on iPhones/iPod Touch compared to the Symbol scanners due to the wide availability and vast number of replacement parts.

If apple were to make solutions like this more widely available to all businesses it would be beneficial to everyone (except Symbol/Motorola).
post #19 of 20
iTunes U is the unsung hero of iTunes in my opinion. You hardly ever hear about it but it's amazing what's on there. I wonder if the rumoured upcoming iBooks/textbook announcement will one day combine with iTunes U somehow. e.g. Textbooks with links to lectures.
post #20 of 20
It's hard to imagine Apple would do that. I can imagine a 4" but anything more is just dumb. Even 4" makes it harder for most existing users to use the device with one hand. Would Apple create an over-sized iPod, which doesn't make much money and is losing unit sales, as separate from the other iPod touch JUST for the gaming market?

These "Next Ten Year" posts aren't very visionary. They're more like aggregating previous posts (most by the same author) into one post. Few thoughts and opinions that are remotely good or reasonable. No offense Daniel, but just about every major story is written by you and it would be nice if someone else wrote one instead of you.
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