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Apple begins manufacturing new iPod mini player

post #1 of 29
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Apple has teamed with Seagate to deliver a revision to its trendy iPod mini digital music player early next year.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer this month has entered into production the first update to its colorful iPod mini digital music player, highly reliable sources tell AppleInsider.

The production, which is now taking place in Asia, has reportedly been underway for at least a week. The company's objective is to produce an ample supply of the players before making an official announcement of the new models in early 2005.

Inside the new iPod mini will be a 5GB hard disk capable of storing up to 1250 music tracks, a 25% increase over the the current iPod minis which hold 1000 songs on a 4GB drive.

In order to begin producing the new players prior to the new year, sources say Apple has enlisted Seagate Technologies, a worldwide leader in hard disk design and manufacturing, as its supplier of 1-inch 5GB microdrives.

Apple is reportedly hoarding as many of Seagate's 5GB ST1 drives as possible, in an effort to build a stockpile of the new minis that will adequately cater to initial product demand.

Seagate joins two other hard drive manufacturers that currently supply Apple with drives for its digital music players. Toshiba manufactures the drives for Apple's iPod and iPod photo, while Hitachi provides the company with 4GB hard disks for its current iPod mini offerings.

Apple introduced the iPod mini in January of 2004 to much fan-fare, but was unable to meet demand for the players until the second half of the year, due to poor planning and inadequate supplies of the 4GB microdrives from component supplier Hitachi.

Around the same time that Apple introduces the revised iPod mini, the company is also is expected to launch a flash-based iPod that will sell for below (US)$200. Sources say this player is currently being produced in droves in the industrial district of Taiwan.

Both Apple and Seagate declined to comment on plans for an iPod mini revision.
post #2 of 29
really really hope they improve the battery and include an fm tuner
post #3 of 29
Since the most recent iPod update included a better battery, you can almost be certain a new mini would have one as well.

But FM tuner? That would make the mini bigger. Very doubtful imo.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Ra
Since the most recent iPod update included a better battery, you can almost be certain a new mini would have one as well.

But FM tuner? That would make the mini bigger. Very doubtful imo.

but then the creative zen micro which is about the same size has a built-in fm tuner and voice recorder. so i think Apple can also throw in an fm tuner. btw, the zen micro has 12 hrs of battery and it comes with 2 batteries which makes that 24 hours. Apple should do something about this.
post #5 of 29
Hmm... it seems like there will be more to this update than a simple hard drive upgrade if Apple needs to "hoard" 5GB drives to prepare for demand, especially since after the holidays, a great number of people who wanted a Mini would have one. The new Mini would have to be compelling enough to attract current Mini users to upgrade, and 25% ain't gonna do it.

Also, I'm worried that an across the board move to Seagate will alienate the abandoned Hitachi, and would be bad business for future negotiation ability. I mean think about it. Hitachi has added factories to produce drives specifically for the Mini, and then Apple abruptly stops all orders? Surely Hitachi had a long-term investment in mind when they increased production capacity. I know. Business is business. But you can't just ignore the well-being of your suppliers like that.
post #6 of 29
well it depends on the contract. if the contract has (or is about to) expire(d), Hitachi should not be offended. If they can't deliver what Apple asks for, then, Apple takes the ball and goes elsewhere.

But you got a good point there tonton.
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post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
Hmm... it seems like there will be more to this update than a simple hard drive upgrade if Apple needs to "hoard" 5GB drives to prepare for demand, especially since after the holidays, a great number of people who wanted a Mini would have one. The new Mini would have to be compelling enough to attract current Mini users to upgrade, and 25% ain't gonna do it.

Wrong.

The iPod phenomenon has nothing to do with current users upgrading and nothing to do with market fatigue from the Holidays. The iPod is a runaway train immune to normal buying trends. Apple is hoarding HDs simply to avoid a repeat of last year's iPod mini crunch.
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post #8 of 29
Apple is not "offending" Hitachi at all. It's a matter of business and contracts. Since Hitachi still doesn't seem to be able to keep up with demand, Apple has a right to look elsewhere for product. Do you think Dell only uses one supplier for parts? Both companies are grown-up I'd say and this is the way business goes. It's great that Apple needs additional suppliers. It means they're selling product at a "record pace". Good for them.
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post #9 of 29
Quote:
but then the creative zen micro which is about the same size has a built-in fm tuner and voice recorder. so i think Apple can also throw in an fm tuner. btw, the zen micro has 12 hrs of battery and it comes with 2 batteries which makes that 24 hours. Apple should do something about this.

And what product sells more? the iPod mini of course so that should tell you that FM tuners and voice recording aren't features that are deal breakers. What you speak of is the same pathology that afflicts PC companies. Rather than give us something that works they merely toss in as many "bullet item" features and try to outmarket their competition. Feature Creep exists everywhere.

The iPod has the best 3rd party support out there. Apple should continue to foster this burgeoning market.
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post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
And what product sells more? the iPod mini of course so that should tell you that FM tuners and voice recording aren't features that are deal breakers. What you speak of is the same pathology that afflicts PC companies. Rather than give us something that works they merely toss in as many "bullet item" features and try to outmarket their competition. Feature Creep exists everywhere.

The iPod has the best 3rd party support out there. Apple should continue to foster this burgeoning market.

granted, that is certainly true. but i really look forward to the day when i can use my iPod and scroll through the radio frequencies with the clickwheel. especially with the coming of HD FM radio that is close to CD quality.

not a deal breaker, but eventually Apple will need to add features that have been on the request list since the iPod came out simply because they will have saturated the market and want people to upgrade to a new and improved iPod. With the exception of size, my 2G iPod is nearly identical as far as features as a 4G iPod.
post #11 of 29
The iPod mini bump is good news in that it will keep the market happy and add support on Apple's stock value. Unless there is a huge design change I doubt if it will impact sales that much as current mini sales are strong.

The major news is still going to be the flash iPod - especially if it is at a good price point. Wall Street will love it and so will a lot of people who cannot afford a HD iPod. International sales will also gain significantly, especially in countries where the iPod Flash will be as affordable as a 40GB iPod is in the US.

If Steve J announces the iPod flash in the January Keynote AND says "available NOW" the reaction is going to be fantastic.
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post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut
granted, that is certainly true. but i really look forward to the day when i can use my iPod and scroll through the radio frequencies with the clickwheel. especially with the coming of HD FM radio that is close to CD quality.

not a deal breaker, but eventually Apple will need to add features that have been on the request list since the iPod came out simply because they will have saturated the market and want people to upgrade to a new and improved iPod. With the exception of size, my 2G iPod is nearly identical as far as features as a 4G iPod.

I haven't agreed with you more, in recent times, that is.
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post #13 of 29
Jobs will talk about the run-away (in the face of critics) success about the iPod mini. He will then unveil the new 5 GB ones, in new colors. Price lowered to $229.

His 'one more thing' will be the flash iPod, probably. Priced at $149.
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post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by hmurchison
And what product sells more? the iPod mini of course so that should tell you that FM tuners and voice recording aren't features that are deal breakers. What you speak of is the same pathology that afflicts PC companies. Rather than give us something that works they merely toss in as many "bullet item" features and try to outmarket their competition. Feature Creep exists everywhere.

The iPod has the best 3rd party support out there. Apple should continue to foster this burgeoning market.

I suspect iPods sell better more because of cachet. FM tuners are not a deal breaker for many since they're main usage would be playback of songs they choose. But I wonder if the reason why Apple hasn't incorporated FM tuners into it's iPods has to do with money. Afterall, radio is free where songs on iTMS at least brings in some revenue.
post #15 of 29
yeah but the zen micro was just released, so you cannot compare it now. btw, if you head to the singapore mac forum, there are pictures of many many ipod users trading in their ipods for the zen micro.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by n20nine
yeah but the zen micro was just released, so you cannot compare it now. btw, if you head to the singapore mac forum, there are pictures of many many ipod users trading in their ipods for the zen micro.

that's cause they get a discount on the zen. They'll re-sell the zen and buy a used iPod, and pocket $50.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by OrbitPink
that's cause they get a discount on the zen. They'll re-sell the zen and buy a used iPod, and pocket $50.

That's true, and for the most part, it won't be members of the public who are doing this -- it'll be shopkeepers. You have no idea how many small electronics shops there are in cities like SG and HK. I wouldn't be surprised if the number in Hong Kong were 5 to 10 thousand. Shops. That would sell the Zen Micro.
post #18 of 29
They need to add a mic, and radio.

And way more than 1 gig.

Make it smaller with a Clickwheel that overlays the screen perhaps, so they can make it smaller.

25% more space is not inspiring.
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post #19 of 29
Here's a mock up of all the things Apple 'needs' to do the iPod:



If only Apple would listen to what consumers really want in a portable audio player.
post #20 of 29
what are the new colors? that's why people buy 'em anyways...
for $50 more you can get 20 gig iPod - you're not buying a mini for capacity...it looks cool, works great and a fantastic present, too
post #21 of 29
Why is Apple still using Hard disks in its mini's anyways?

I know the iPod flash is coming out, but now that one can fit 1gig in the size of an SD card, surely iPOD can give us a four gig player based on flash, ditching the niggling effects of a hgard drive? That would be true evolutions.
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by pyriX
Why is Apple still using Hard disks in its mini's anyways?

I know the iPod flash is coming out, but now that one can fit 1gig in the size of an SD card, surely iPOD can give us a four gig player based on flash, ditching the niggling effects of a hgard drive? That would be true evolutions.

Yes, a couple of thousand dollars' worth, in fact. Check out your local electronics store. A 256MB Flash player will run you about AUD$250-$300. The stuff ain't cheap. If you wanted your iPod to cost about the same as your G5, well, that's the way to go.
post #23 of 29
Apple won't include an FM tuner into the iPod for this reason: THEY WON'T MAKE MONEY OFF THAT.

Apple wants you to fill the hard drive with songs you purchase off the iTunes music store or from CDs or whatever. If you want an FM tuner, hey they give those away in cereal boxes. You don't need to spend $250 for that old trick.

Now, what I do envision somewhere down the line is some kind of subscription radio, like XM or Sirius because they can actually make money off that either by a partnership with those companies or by selling subscriptions to broadcasts from "iTunes Radio" or some other service they come up with.

Also, video playback is coming to the pods. Don't get offended now, but lots of short-sighted people here said it wasn't gonna happen, but the color screen and pictures viewing capabilities came to the iPod, and now it's the turn for video. ("The screen's too small! Who'd want to view pictures in such a small screen!?" Seems Steve does.)

I'm outta here
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Shalmaneser
Yes, a couple of thousand dollars' worth, in fact. Check out your local electronics store. A 256MB Flash player will run you about AUD$250-$300. The stuff ain't cheap. If you wanted your iPod to cost about the same as your G5, well, that's the way to go.

Ok, if 1 gig of measly storage is going to cost me $1000, you are shopping at the wrong place man.

[QUOTE] sourced from umart.com.au


Secure Digital Card 1024MB(1G)


Internet Price: $139.00
Retail Price: $149.00
Stock level: <5 (in Stock)
Model #:

[QUOTE]

From ABIT as well, so dont give me that crud about inferiour quility. Add into that that that is RETAIL price, so Apple could get it cheaper, so the only thing that's gonna cost much more (oh $50, how will I cope?) is the controls, Then apple throws a three hundred dollar price tag on it, markets it as the miniature mini iPod, and Badda a bing badda boom, that's at least $100 in Apple's pockets.

But, it will never happen, so all this is just wishful thinking. The reason? salamander is right about one thing, a 256mb player WILL cost you $250 - $300 dollars, so apple wont give us one gig for the same price.

*note, all prices are in AUD
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post #25 of 29
Creative sells a 256 MB one for $229 but I'm inclined to say if you want a flash based player just get a phone that supports SD cards.
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post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Telomar
Creative sells a 256 MB one for $229 but I'm inclined to say if you want a flash based player just get a phone that supports SD cards.

Or a PDA
I DONT trust your haircut.

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Windows 7 24"/2.00ghz/2.5gb/250gb/9800GT.
Ubuntu 10.04 Dell Latitude D620.
Xbox 360 Projector
WHS 2.5tb.
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I DONT trust your haircut.

MBP 13"/22" 2.26ghz/2gb/160gb/7400M.
Windows 7 24"/2.00ghz/2.5gb/250gb/9800GT.
Ubuntu 10.04 Dell Latitude D620.
Xbox 360 Projector
WHS 2.5tb.
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post #27 of 29
Am I right in thinking that Apple uses the 1" microdrives in the iPod mini? Because I found a 1Gb microdrive here for nearing £190. Compare this to a 1Gb SD card for around £65. Now I know Apple gets major bulk discount for its drives, but surely it'd get bulk prices on flash memory as well?

I'd say this makes the iPod flash very very attractive in terms of specs and pricing I'd guess 1 or even 2 gig for around £100 (about half the price of the mini here).
Daniel Tull
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post #28 of 29
well there are plans to release an even smaller microdrive which will have 8 - 10 gb space and manufacturing will begin in second half of the year. A 3G ipod mini could even see the light of day by end of the year.

the truth is for many people, 1000 songs can already be too much. I had a 5GB, 10GB, 20GB ipod and 40GB ipod photo before. It was madness. I hardly fill up 1000 songs and i dun even listen to some of the songs i put in.
post #29 of 29
\

Where's my iPod mini 5 GB?
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