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Apple to reshuffle iPod offerings, mini update to gain color screen

post #1 of 58
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Apple is likely to debut a new iPod mini with a color screen, while rearranging its remaining screen-based iPod offerings.

The pending revision to Apple's iPod mini digital music player will gain a color display and remain priced at US$249, ThinkSecret is reporting.

The rumor site claims the player will debut in either a 5GB or 6GB configuration. Like ThinkSecret, recent reports submitted to AppleInsider also raise the question of whether the player will debut in the previously rumored 5GB capacity, or a larger 6GB model. However, the most reliable information is now pointing to a 6GB capacity.

In either case, sources report that Apple will indeed tap Seagate for the microdrives to be used in the player, regardless of which capacity it will sport. And while there has been no official word of a 6GB microdrive from Seagate, it could likely emerge at any time. Western Digital, another company which manufactures 1-inch hard drives, has already announced plans for a 6GB version.

In related news, AppleInsider this week was able to confirm that Apple has been buying 5GB ST1 microdrives from Seagate since at least December. The iPod maker has been using the 5GB drives in the manufacturing of its current 4GB iPod mini, with a firmware block that restricts the usable capacity of the player to 4GB. This has allowed the company keep up with demand for the minis without having to rely on a single supplier of microdrives. Previously Apple had relied solely on component supplier, Hitachi, for its 4GB microdrives.

ThinkSecret also reports that Apple will shift its full line of iPods away from monochrome displays over the course of the year, a tip AppleInsider can partially confirm. According to sources, Apple will soon discontinue the 40GB iPod with a monochrome display. Sources said Apple will likely fill this gap by reducing the cost of its 40GB iPhoto model to $399, and subsequently the 60GB model to $499 -- both of which have been selling poorly at their current price points.

Hewlett-Packard, which sells re-branded versions of Apple's 20GB and 40GB iPod, has recently entered into a spat with Apple over a lack of price protection offered on the players it buys from Apple. HP, which still has yet to set a date for the release of its re-branded iPod photo player, had at one point halted manufacturing orders for both the iPod models it currently sells. The company feared the burden of biting the full cost of such aforementioned price reductions, or product-line reorganizations.
post #2 of 58
"ThinkSecret also reports that Apple will shift its full line of iPods away from monochrome displays over the course of the year, a tip AppleInsider can partially confirm."

I would give up on attempting to fully confirm this. I have a feeling you're stuck at the "confirming the Shuffles" part of the full line of iPods.

I hate it when that happens!
post #3 of 58
So why not keep the monochrome and lower prices across the board? iPods have created their own ecologies and diversity is needed to keep other species from coming int and taking over varioius niches.

Margins will continue to get smaller on the things naturally as more competition comes into play.
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post #4 of 58
Yeah, but Apple also has to stay competitive. If all of the other media players are going to a color screen, the iPod may begin to look a little outdated if it kept its monochrome display.

Apple can't afford to let its grip on the digital music player market slip. They have to do whatever they can to stay ahead and also at the same time separate themselves from the "me too" players.

Anyway, the colored interface of the iPod photo looks beautiful and would be a great addition to the iPod lineup.

Mike
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by MacGregor
So why not keep the monochrome and lower prices across the board? iPods have created their own ecologies and diversity is needed to keep other species from coming int and taking over varioius niches.

Margins will continue to get smaller on the things naturally as more competition comes into play.

in part, because changing the system specs and features encourages people into an upgrade path - they're not going to buy the same Mini for cheaper, but they might buy a new mini with better features for the same price and sell their current iPod on to a friend. price has proved to not be that much of a deterrent to iPod shoppers (except perhaps the iPod photo)
post #6 of 58
Oh yeah baby. These puppies are gonna be hard to get. Mini AND color screen? This is good. The iPod Photo looks beautiful.
post #7 of 58
The evidence that the iPod Photo is "selling poorly" is no more than the fact that when others were backordered last year, the Photo was able to meet demand.

I guess Apple gets the blame when there are NOT backorders too
post #8 of 58
does this mean that the iPod mini will be able to view photo's and the iPod Photo will become the normal iPod or will there just be a colour screen and no photo capabilities
post #9 of 58
don't think so,
it would be nice to see cover-art, though.
otherwice it would be silly to ad a color display.
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post #10 of 58
Great to know. My aunt's been wanting to buy a mini and I've been telling her to hold off for a while. Look's like she'll finally be able to buy it.
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post #11 of 58
wait wuh? color screens in minis before the regular iPod! this is insanity. but who cares, ill be in the iPod market in June or so, hopefully when i can buy a 20 gig with a color screen. cover art....yum.
post #12 of 58
Thanks for the info. I had been waiting for news on any ipod change but got antsy, so I just bought a 60 GB photo for $525 shipped. Guess I won't feel as bad if it drops to $499, but so much for thinking I got a deal
post #13 of 58
I'm looking to get a 20GB iPod once the next revision comes out, so it is good to know this.

My guess is that Apple is going to have to start lowering margins if they want to keep the lead. This would explain how they could move a color screen down a model.

A color mini would sell like mad.
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post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by spaz
in part, because changing the system specs and features encourages people into an upgrade path - they're not going to buy the same Mini for cheaper, but they might buy a new mini with better features for the same price and sell their current iPod on to a friend. price has proved to not be that much of a deterrent to iPod shoppers (except perhaps the iPod photo)

First of all I think alot of people will buy "the same mini for cheaper" All those Shuffle folks wanting to upgrade.

Second I assume the hardware for photo versus non-photo is basically the same and it is just a firmware upgrade that would be needed. I know the big IPod Photo is actually larger, but is the controler any different? Moving any harddrive iPod to photo-ness shouldn't be too difficult.

Third, a jump to 6Gigs would be great - a 50% increase for the 4 gig folks and yes, color would make that a significant upgrade path for those people with reasonable amounts of music.

Fourth, I haven't seen the iPod Photo so I have no idea how cool it is. My question, is how many iPod mini folks would upgrade to b/w versus color screens if there were a $100 difference in price? I guess if a color screen costs less than $30 more than the b/w screen my point here is moot!!

Fifth, is there a reason we can't have a $250 iPod with 20 gigs of B/W? And $200 iPod mini? I think all iPod mini's need to get to below $200 by the time the next generation of mp3 players from Sony and friends comes out.
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post #15 of 58
Other than color, what does a color display on an MP3 player bring to the table? Color was important to TV and computer monitors, where you're doing nothing but looking at them when you're using them, but an iPod?!

While I have no doubt they're all moving in that direction eventually, and while, all things being equal, I wouldn't refuse one if offered, it seems to me that as far as "features" go in these players, that one's at or near the bottom. Unless there's some brilliant use of it I'm missing.
post #16 of 58
The iPod does much more than just play music so a color screen is an excellent thing to have, says this iPod photo owner. There are games and your calendars, for example. Cover art for your music. Maybe the new mini will also have a new dock with video out and slideshow capability.

Oh, and how about Bluetooth? Wireless to your car and home stereo. Wireless sync with iTunes and iPhoto, iCal, and Address Book.

Yep, a 6GB iPod mini with color screen and Bluetooth would sell like nobody's business.
post #17 of 58
If they build it, I will come...well not literally...\

I don't even need an iPod per se, I just sold my silver iPod mini last week to get a iPod 20GB...but a new mini with greater storage and a colour screen...the gadget freak in me couldn't resist, bring it Apple!
post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by rseiler
Other than color, what does a color display on an MP3 player bring to the table? Color was important to TV and computer monitors, where you're doing nothing but looking at them when you're using them, but an iPod?!

Think about it this way; hypothetical scenario:

16-year-old kid: Mom! I want a new iPod!

Mother: But we just bought you one 2 months ago!

16-year-old kid: But this one has more storage...and a colour screen!

Mother: *sigh* Well, all right.

post #19 of 58
The biggest problem with the mini (and I own one as well as a 20GB and a shuffle) is the battery life. If Apple can deliver 12 hours (at least) as well as the storage increase and the colour screen I can see a lot of mini owners upgrading.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by jonnyb
The biggest problem with the mini (and I own one as well as a 20GB and a shuffle) is the battery life. If Apple can deliver 12 hours (at least) as well as the storage increase and the colour screen I can see a lot of mini owners upgrading.

I agree, I was getting around 5 hours max on my mini. In comparison, my new 20GB seems to last forever!
post #21 of 58
Noob here on the forum,

I think it's great for the whole iPod line.

I couldn't wait for mine and bought a 60GB photo iPod before Christmas and couldn't be happier.

The color screen is a little harder to read in the sunlight as opposed to the monochrome from what I understand but the album art and extras that come from the color screen more than make up for that.
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post #22 of 58
I've seen many comment here and elsewhere about the Mini's battery. Are there any theories why the Mini would be running its battery down so quickly? Is it a defect or bad design? For its rated time, it should be just as competent as any other iPod of similar vintage. If a color TFT screen is in the new model, they sure better have made the battery flat-out great.
post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by rseiler
I've seen many comment here and elsewhere about the Mini's battery. Are there any theories why the Mini would be running its battery down so quickly? Is it a defect or bad design? For its rated time, it should be just as competent as any other iPod of similar vintage. If a color TFT screen is in the new model, they sure better have made the battery flat-out great.

I haven't done any testing per se on my iPod but battery life has been great for me.
I have never run the battery down all; the way.
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post #24 of 58
I get about 8 hours or more on my iPod. I walk a lot and take the bus so its on all the time, and I only have to recharge it every 2 or 3 days.

As for color screen..I'm waiting for the 20gig to get it. I like my mini but I only have 5 songs of room left, and I haven't even ripped any of my cds to it yet. (I'm quite lazy when it comes to that because my music collection is huge, I've only managed to get a fraction of the music I have on vinyl onto my iPod (by downloading) and that took forever). When a 20gig color comes out (5G) I'll buy that and give this one to my mom.
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by rseiler
Other than color, what does a color display on an MP3 player bring to the table? Color was important to TV and computer monitors, where you're doing nothing but looking at them when you're using them, but an iPod?!

While I have no doubt they're all moving in that direction eventually, and while, all things being equal, I wouldn't refuse one if offered, it seems to me that as far as "features" go in these players, that one's at or near the bottom. Unless there's some brilliant use of it I'm missing.

the colour screen adds clarity but I agree with you. iPods should be adding features like radio - digital would be great! or bluetooth. Colour is not a good invention. BUT look at the iPods since the third revision, what's new? A click wheel, a mini iPod, a photo iPod and a shuffle. NO actual features. What are Apple doing. I think they're improving iTunes to make the iPod even better, iTunes is half (if not more) of the iPod success but Apple can't rely on this forever. I had a 30GB iPod, i needed a bigger hard drive so I bought a 60GB iPod photo. When I upgrade again in a year or so I want to see more features!
post #26 of 58
Yeah, MacCrazy, but if you start adding things like digital radio to the iPod people will start thinking backwards. Why buy an iPod if I'll probably listen to the radio most of the time? Hey, I could just get a small digital Radio for cheaper! Because there are fine little digital radios out there ready for apple to give them a share of the iPods market.
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post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by onlooker
Yeah, MacCrazy, but if you start adding things like digital radio to the iPod people will start thinking backwards. Why buy an iPod if I'll probably listen to the radio most of the time? Hey, I could just get a small digital Radio for cheaper! Because there are fine little digital radios out there ready for apple to give them a share of the iPods market.

Good point but if someone wants an iPod it'll help persuade them?! I don't know Apple need something *NEW*
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCrazy
Good point but if someone wants an iPod it'll help persuade them?! I don't know Apple need something *NEW*

I personally hate the radio thing, I have a few of those free self tuning radios i can use. An iPod will NOT improve sound quality because FM radio is always FM radio no matter if you put it in a diamond encased housing and sell it for a million quid!

The next thing Apple should be looking at is making the iPod gain Pictbridge technology. A little adaptor bring out a little dock port to (female) USB adaptor so we can plug our cameras in and create a folder on the iPod and transfer them. Boom. This syncs with iPhoto (or you My Pictures folder on Windows) and Boom, they're all there. The iPod has started down the road of photos, and although I'm sure Belkin's (expensive) offering is great, we all know that if the iPod had these options in it, it would be more controllable. Plus a dock port to usb adaptor would retail at £30 max (about the same or less than a dock). Which is half of Belkin's asking price for their card reader, and a lot less bulky.
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post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by danielctull
I personally hate the radio thing, I have a few of those free self tuning radios i can use. An iPod will NOT improve sound quality because FM radio is always FM radio no matter if you put it in a diamond encased housing and sell it for a million quid!

The next thing Apple should be looking at is making the iPod gain Pictbridge technology. A little adaptor bring out a little dock port to (female) USB adaptor so we can plug our cameras in and create a folder on the iPod and transfer them. Boom. This syncs with iPhoto (or you My Pictures folder on Windows) and Boom, they're all there. The iPod has started down the road of photos, and although I'm sure Belkin's (expensive) offering is great, we all know that if the iPod had these options in it, it would be more controllable. Plus a dock port to usb adaptor would retail at £30 max (about the same or less than a dock). Which is half of Belkin's asking price for their card reader, and a lot less bulky.

SOLD. As long as it's compatible with the existing iPod photo, otherwise I'll be pissed. No iPod photo user is going to want to upgrade so soon - although 80GB are due out so that might change things.
post #30 of 58
I don't think Apple would put a radio tuner in their iPod because it's sort of the antithesis of what the iPod is about. If you have an iPod, you have all your music who needs the radio? You want an iPod to tune in NPR? That would be pitiful.
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post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by DHagan4755
I don't think Apple would put a radio tuner in their iPod because it's sort of the antithesis of what the iPod is about. If you have an iPod, you have all your music who needs the radio? You want an iPod to tune in NPR? That would be pitiful.

it was more of an example than an actual feature I would like. Although sometimes I would like to listen to my radio on the move with good quality. I was just exploring possible ideas. What do people want to see, camera compatibility via USB is possible surely. \
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCrazy
it was more of an example than an actual feature I would like. Although sometimes I would like to listen to my radio on the move with good quality. I was just exploring possible ideas. What do people want to see, camera compatibility via USB is possible surely. \

I want voice recording without a clumsy add-on. There is a hack out there that basically suggests the feature is there but disabled; all they'd really need to do is enable it and then add a mic.
post #33 of 58
We all know where this is going.... iTunes on iPod! They already developed the software for cellphones using Java, why not have it on the iPods as well? The ability to manage playlists, purchase music, etc... all without the computer. Of course a (wireless) Internet connection would be needed to use the Store.
post #34 of 58
Quote:
The iPod maker has been using the 5GB drives in the manufacturing of its current 4GB iPod mini, with a firmware block that restricts the usable capacity of the player to 4GB. This has allowed the company keep up with demand for the minis without having to rely on a single supplier of microdrives.

Just thinking of it, any way to detect which drive you have (4/5) and is there a way to h4x0r that firmware block?
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post #35 of 58
looks great. there area number of enhancments that i want to see before i buy a new ipod:

1. colour-screen. yes, view photos, view albums, it is nice with colour
2. with colour-screen, addressbook-photos should sync with ipod
3. better sound-recording, preferably built-in
4. get photos straight from camera
5. more games, why not java-games, plenty of such games for mobile phones. the track-pad may need som adjusting to facilitate this. but, people play a lot of games on their mobiles, and with colur-screen playing on the ipod would be fine. the java-stuff would be good, there are a lot of java-games and they could then easily be ported to the ipod.

there are not so many more things that could be done to enhance the music-playing capabiliites, and the processor should be as powerful as those driving most mobile phones. only adding more space is not really whaqt will continue to protect ipods market share. adding other stuff you can do with it is better, provided it is done in a good way of course.

i wouldn't mmind a small mobile-phone camera inside as well, but not that important for me.
post #36 of 58
As far as the wireless rumors, connecting to your car stereo this way would be great. I am wondering, however, if it isn't also about: Podjacking, The Next Generation. A new hobby for the urban iPod owner that is a great way to find and listen to new music before you buy. From Apple's standpoint, it would also be a feature that competitors could not offer. Even the Bonjour name fits this idea. Taking the idea futher, perhaps businesses would offer Podjack playlists.
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post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by dividend
looks great. there area number of enhancments that i want to see before i buy a new ipod:

1. colour-screen. yes, view photos, view albums, it is nice with colour
2. with colour-screen, addressbook-photos should sync with ipod
3. better sound-recording, preferably built-in
4. get photos straight from camera
5. more games, why not java-games, plenty of such games for mobile phones. the track-pad may need som adjusting to facilitate this. but, people play a lot of games on their mobiles, and with colur-screen playing on the ipod would be fine. the java-stuff would be good, there are a lot of java-games and they could then easily be ported to the ipod.

there are not so many more things that could be done to enhance the music-playing capabiliites, and the processor should be as powerful as those driving most mobile phones. only adding more space is not really whaqt will continue to protect ipods market share. adding other stuff you can do with it is better, provided it is done in a good way of course.

i wouldn't mmind a small mobile-phone camera inside as well, but not that important for me.

Yeah, I've already sent feedback to Apple about the address book photo idea. I have a photo and assumed photographs would be transferred but no. I would like to be able to open JPEGs in the notes area as well. I don't want say Joy of tech in my iPhoto library b ut it might be nice to view them on an iPod - although you would need panning as you wouldn't be able to read anything properly,

Music videos on the iPod would be cool, add that feature to iTunes as well, buy the song and the vid.

The current OS is so simple I don't think organising music on an iPod iTunes style is an advantage. It would make the simplest player on the market too complicated and fiddly. It would need more buttons as well. Keep the OS as it is.
post #38 of 58
My prediction is not multicolored screens, but single color screens, to match or contrast new casing colors. Just a thought.
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post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by ltong
My prediction is not multicolored screens, but single color screens, to match or contrast new casing colors. Just a thought.

That really wouldn't work - you'd need different settings for each iPod, which adds to the production time. Also, why do that when it's probably more effective to just add colour screens for all minis and let the user set the preferences?
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally posted by Commodus
That really wouldn't work - you'd need different settings for each iPod, which adds to the production time. Also, why do that when it's probably more effective to just add colour screens for all minis and let the user set the preferences?

No more time than it already takes to make the different color casings. What settings are you speaking of? I'm talking single color displays like how the 3G iPods had red displays. They manufacture the minis based on which color is selling best, so why would it be so hard to add a green screen to the green mini when all there making that day is green minis?
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