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AmTech offers two scenarios for future 2GB flash iPod

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Weighing in on recent rumors, American Technology Research this week laid down two possible scenarios for a 2 GB flash-based iPod, which it too believes is in the works at Apple Computer.

Based on the firm's checks and analysis, analyst Shaw Wu said a future 2GB flash iPod from Apple could emerge as either a slightly more advanced iPod shuffle or a new form of iPod mini. In a research note released to clients this week, the analyst leaned towards the former.

According to Wu, a shuffle version of the 2 GB player would boast a small display screen, but would not include a click-wheel or sorting functions. He says the design would be similar to today's iPod shuffle with the addition of a small screen to display song, artist and time information. Based on his checks, Wu believes a player of this kind could be powered by an existing SigmaTel single-chip system-on-a-chip (SOC) and priced profitably at $149 without compromising other members of the iPod family.

On the other hand, Wu said Apple could potentially throw a 2 GB flash chip into an iPod mini that would sport a screen, click-wheel (or possibly scroll-strip), and catalog/sorting functions. However, pricing such a player at $149 may be tough due to the higher-cost of a multi-chip solution from PortalPlayer (controller) and Synaptics (click-wheel), he said. If the player was priced at $199, it would be forced to compete with one of Apple's top-selling iPods: the 4 GB mini. "Either way, we see this product cannibalizing current best-sellers," the analyst concluded.

Still, AmTech research sees Apple's view on storage becoming more agonistic. "Compared to a year ago where Apple's philosophy on flash versus microdrive was clearly in favor of microdrives, we believe Apple has changed its stance," the firm said. Moving forward it's believed that Apple will utilize flash storage in iPods other than the iPod shuffle. The firm notes one of the key reasons behind the move is that Apple realizes there could be a limit to the number of songs a user may want to carry at one time.

Meanwhile, Wu discounted rumors of an imminent 4 GB flash-based iPod, saying prices of 4 GB flash chips have not dropped to a point where it is economical to put them into a digital music player.

Currently, Apple's top two selling iPods are the 512 MB iPod shuffle at $99 and 4 GB iPod mini at $199. Sales of 20 GB iPods and 30 GB iPod photos are also respectable, but sales of 1 GB iPod shuffles at $149, 6 GB iPod minis at $249, and 60 GB iPod photo at $449 continue to lag to their lower-priced versions, the analyst said.

Moving forward AmTech Research sees the iPod mini moving towards a color screen while the 20 GB iPod could be phased out in favor of iPod photos with lower price points.

The firm rates Apple shares "hold" with a $40 price target due to concerns with slowing growth and high investor expectations.
post #2 of 13
It will be interesting to see what Apple does ... they'll have to walk a fine line as they don't want to take away sales of the 4GB mini. A 2GB sounds interesting but one has to speculate on the price.

Possible prices that I anticipate:

512MB $89
1GB $129
2GB $169
4GB $199
6GB $249

Price a 2GB a bit closer in price to the 4 GB so people are most likely to spend more ... my thinking is as follows ... if you price the 2GB closer to the 4GB's price of $199 shoppers will think it's a better to deal to spend either $169 or $199 for the additional capacity than the $129 for the 1GB. This will bring in more revenue for the bottom line and it's likely that the higer priced models have a higher margain. Then phase out the 1 Gb over time.

Just my 2 cents
post #3 of 13
Sorry, too cheap, the 512MB would not be sold anymore (apple has never (NEVER!) just reduced the price of the low-end. They instead toss it to make sure only those with $$$ can afford their products. You don't want them turning into commodities. And, really, who cares about prospective prices (no offense) as its all just guess work.

My biggest gripe about flash drives is their current lack of support for HFS+ (at least the shuffle doesn't support it). By lacking that, copying files is more hit or miss, and you end up with all that crap you see on USB flash drives.
post #4 of 13
I dont think apple is adding a display to the shuffle, it would be like adding a second button to the mouse... just not "simple" enough...

They've already idealized the fact that it doesn't come with a display... or at least that's what they tried to do when they launched it...
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by JoeAlamaiz
I dont think apple is adding a display to the shuffle, it would be like adding a second button to the mouse... just not "simple" enough...

They've already idealized the fact that it doesn't come with a display... or at least that's what they tried to do when they launched it...

I dunno, I could see Steve starting off a "one more thing" at a keynote with something like, "Well as you know the iPod shuffle now controls X% of the flash music player market. *cheers* But ya know, as great as it is, we've made it even better. A lot of people were asking for something the same size, but with a screen. Well, we think we've come up with something truly special..."

Ding, ding, ding.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by Apparatus
I dunno, I could see Steve starting off a "one more thing" at a keynote with something like, "Well as you know the iPod shuffle now controls X% of the flash music player market. *cheers* But ya know, as great as it is, we've made it even better. A lot of people were asking for something the same size, but with a screen. Well, we think we've come up with something truly special..."

Ding, ding, ding.

You have to ask yourself though, if there will be no management functionality (as this suggests) exactly what value does including a screen add?

I'm also not sure that a screen could be added to the design without altering it's physical size, you certainly couldn't fit one of any decent size straight onto the current design, there just isn't enough space.

I'll never say never, but I think this guy is waaaaay off.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
[B]Sorry, too cheap, the 512MB would not be sold anymore (apple has never (NEVER!) just reduced the price of the low-end.

Hmm... but seeing as MP3 players is still a quickly growing market, and Apple can also *afford* to keep selling these, albeit with a reduced price, due to the fact that their profit margin on these is already around 30-40%-ish, when computers and monitors generally, is much less than this.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by richieg261
Hmm... but seeing as MP3 players is still a quickly growing market, and Apple can also *afford* to keep selling these, albeit with a reduced price, due to the fact that their profit margin on these is already around 30-40%-ish, when computers and monitors generally, is much less than this.

Has nothing to do with 'affording' to sell them. Apple has always REFUSED to sell them. Look at the PowerMac G5s. Do they take the old 1.8 Dual, and just cut its price by a couple of hundred (or down to $1500 where the single 1.8 is)? No. They just drop it, so they can continue selling their computers at the $2000 price point. The crappy single 1.8 machine changed not one iota, but stays at the same price (making it an even stupider purchase decision then before). How about any of their macs? Nope. Its always "Add features, boost CPU, update/upgrade components, keep price scale relatively same", its never "hey, let's reduce prices on the current line!".

Take the iPod. When the sizes got larger, the smaller sizes disappeared, they did not become cheaper. The photo got cheaper because it was already way overpriced and probably not selling at all. If the mini jumps to 5 and 10 GB in size (or 4 and 8, say), the current line-up will disappear, not 'get cheaper'.

Its the apple way. They don't want to sell cheap products. They want to sell expensive products (relatively) as some sort of badge of eliteness. "We're not just any PC maker. Look how much our towers cost!" kind of thing.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
How about any of their macs? Nope. Its always "Add features, boost CPU, update/upgrade components, keep price scale relatively same", its never "hey, let's reduce prices on the current line!".

That's odd because ibooks, iMacs and eMacs are all cheaper than they were before. There have been times in the recent past where Apple have slashed a huge amount from a price.

Quote:

Take the iPod. When the sizes got larger, the smaller sizes disappeared, they did not become cheaper. The photo got cheaper because it was already way overpriced and probably not selling at all. If the mini jumps to 5 and 10 GB in size (or 4 and 8, say), the current line-up will disappear, not 'get cheaper'.

Its the apple way. They don't want to sell cheap products. They want to sell expensive products (relatively) as some sort of badge of eliteness. "We're not just any PC maker. Look how much our towers cost!" kind of thing.

I'd say it's more of a everyone way. All major companies update lines at similar price-points, from TVs to mobile phones. It often doesn't make economical sense to continue old specs alongside new. Economies of scale, additional costs, etc. all come into play.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by Uncharted
That's odd because ibooks, iMacs and eMacs are all cheaper than they were before. There have been times in the recent past where Apple have slashed a huge amount from a price.

I'd say it's more of a everyone way. All major companies update lines at similar price-points, from TVs to mobile phones. It often doesn't make economical sense to continue old specs alongside new. Economies of scale, additional costs, etc. all come into play.

Thier iBooks might be 'cheaper', but its relative. They started out at $1200 or something long, long ago. You can get the low-end for $999, but you don't see them going cheaper then that. How about selling an iBook G3 for $500-600, like a mini? iMacs are cheaper, but, again, its relative. They started out at $1299, and I think they did reach $999 at some point. Then the iMac G4 came out and it was way higher in price. Then the iMac G5 came out, and while it was cheaper than the G4, it starts out, wait for it, $1299.

Apple just doesn't deliver 'cheaper' products. Which is my point. To expect a 'cheaper' iPod Shuffle (or any iPod) is just silly, because Apple doesn't do that. They'd rather sell a 1GB shuffle at $99 then to sell a 512MB shuffle at $59.

And whether other companies do the same is immaterial to the discussion. Apple works this way, and I'm just pointing out to the hoper of a $50 iPod or a $200 iPod 20GB that it ain't going to happen.
post #11 of 13
You do realise every major manufacturer does that? They pick a series of price points to aim at then release things to those price points. When new technology comes along they don't usually keep the old line going unless it falls within its price point goals. That's just standard business practice. That Apple aims higher up the price range has been a management decision. As can be seen with the iPod they have released lower cost models if they thought they hit good price points.
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post #12 of 13
2 Gb shuffle, screen or no screen - Im first in line!
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post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
My biggest gripe about flash drives is their current lack of support for HFS+ (at least the shuffle doesn't support it). By lacking that, copying files is more hit or miss, and you end up with all that crap you see on USB flash drives.

You are familiar with the standard workaround for this, right? Just have Disk Utility create a writable .dmg file, and copy any file you suspect to have resource forks or rich metadata into this disk image. It's a little bit of a hassle, but there are third-party pref panes and daemon apps that can automatically mount disk images located on external drives...
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